"Don't be a dick." That simple notion is the first of Victor Lucas' 3D rules. The others? Don't dick around and don't hang out with dicks. Some would lead you to believe the games press is filled with dicks. It's not. With this in mind, I seek out the best games writing - from news to interviews to reviews and beyond - and highlight it here.

Theme by Andy Taylor, modified by Aaron Hudspeth.

 

Eurogamer: The making of Star Fox

Damien McFerran, writing for Eurogamer, talks with the founders of Argonaut Software, the original makers of the Star Fox series. There are highs and lows discussed in this timely piece—the series just turned 20 years old—and all kinds of insights into how Nintendo operated, and operates.

Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers

I think this is a hugely important article given the cross-examination being given to videogames currently: Licensed images of guns appear in games with the hope of selling more guns.

"It is hard to qualify to what extent rifle sales have increased as a result of being in games," says Ralph Vaughn, the man who negotiates deals with game developers for Barrett. "But video games expose our brand to a young audience who are considered possible future owners."

That’s not the best picture to be painted…

The use of fabricated gun names was acceptable in the fictional universe of James Bond [in Goldeneye], where a licence to kill did not rely upon licensing. But for those games based around real armed forces, the inclusion of brand names was necessary to remain faithful to the source material.

Today licensed weapons are commonplace in video games, but the deals between game makers and gun-manufacturer are shrouded

Hmm.

Parkin, Simon. “Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers” (Eurogamer: Jan 29, 2013) <http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-02-01-shooters-how-video-games-fund-arms-manufacturers>.

The deleted scenes of Deus Ex

Insights into how games are made come often enough, but looking at what didn’t appear is something of a treat. Here we have details on the revered Deus Ex, the changes made, and the omissions.

"Warren once commented that in the beginning he envisioned the game as X-Files but he somehow ended up with James Bond," reflects lead writer Sheldon Pacotti, looking back on how the game matured.

Martin, Joe. “The deleted scenes of Deus Ex” (Eurogamer: January 4, 2013) <http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-01-04-the-deleted-scenes-of-deus-ex>.

Developer Heaven & Hell

Two totally different tales today. 

HELL:

Kaos Studios, the makers of Homefront, had quite a go of bringing the game to the marketplace, a “death march” as described by Rob Zacny. The story is one about publishing, about promises and expectations, and work. Lots of it:

The last year of working on Homefront was a scarring, miserable experience for many of the people working on it, and even at the time, many of them felt their labor was being wasted through mismanagement. They were the ones getting chewed out by Danny Bilson, hectored by Dave Votypka and publicly humiliated by David Broadhurst. Then they would swallow their pride and put in another 90 hour week.

Zacny, Rob. “Death March: The long, tortured journey of Homefront” (Polygon: November 1, 2012) <http://www.polygon.com/2012/11/1/3560318/homefront-kaos-studios-thq>.

HEAVEN:

League of Legends has certainly caught fire—quite unlike Homefront—so it’s worth celebrating. Simon Parkin is after an answer in his article: “how did two young graduates with no industry experience raise the millions of dollars necessary to create League of Legends?”

And then…it’s about a tournament. A tournament created and run by Riot, a clear marker of success. It is a celebration.

Parkin, Simon. “A League of Their Own” (Eurogamer: October 24, 2012) <http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-24-a-league-of-their-own>.

An Intimate Play Through of L.A. Noire.

Christian Donlan plays L.A. Noire with his father, who grew up in L.A. in the ’40s.

There’s lots of that personal story stuff in this one as you’d expect. And that’s OK. Give it a read.

The Dota 2 Experience

Boy do I ever want to go play Dota 2 Right This Moment. Which is unusual, really, because I’ve never been able to get into any of the games spawned by that groundbreaking mod.

Still, it sounds intoxicating by Quinns’ account:

Then there are junglers, nukers, initiators… never mind the thrill I’m getting from learning how we all work together. It’s intoxicating to hear yourself speak in terminology that, five days ago, would have been another language.

I’m having more fun with this than I had playing Diablo 3, and we’re not even fighting humans yet.

He says a lot of interesting things in this first piece…here’s hoping there are a couple more instalments. Click the title of this post to go read his diary…the diary of a madman.

Spectrum Made Me

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum just turned 30, meaning its well before my time and likely before the times of many readers here. If it isn’t, you’re probably awesome. Eurogamer’s Oli Welsh gets personal—real personal—and makes you care about the Spectrum, despite perhaps not even knowing the system existed. Here’s the beginning:

Now, I’m not particularly sentimental when it comes to physical objects, and by nature I’m no collector. But my Spectrum lives in proud display on my shelves - and not out of a hipsterish affection for ’80s bric-a-brac either, although the charm of its tidy, colourful and compact design is undeniable. For me, the Spectrum - this Spectrum - is an object of rare totemic power. It forms a sizeable portion of who I am, and I wouldn’t be writing this to you today without it.

Welsh, Oli. “Spectrum Made Me” (Eurogamer: April 23, 2012) <http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-23-spectrum-made-me>.

Thanks Alan!

Why the Magic of Independent Stores Should Never Be Lost - Eurogamer

Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson stands on his soap box and recollects memories from game stores that touched him. He arrives at this fascinating notion:

[Indie game stores are] meccas that can inspire great pilgrimages, too.

These stores are undoubtedly a part of gamer culture; with arcades an endangered species themselves, these pilgrimages are becoming harder and harder to make.

Robinson, Martin. “Why the Magic of Independent Stores Should Never Be Lost” (Eurogamer: April 14, 2012) <http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-13-why-the-magic-of-independent-stores-should-never-be-lost>.

Peter Molyneux on quitting Microsoft and changing the world - Eurogamer

A large, interesting interview coming from Eurogamer. And it’s not by Parkin! Given that Molyneux is basically the king of hype, it’s kind of ironic we’re posting this right after an article about the BBB and Mass Effect 3’s ending. Will his game change the world? Maybe.

The scope he is setting out is perhaps more realistic than that:

The thing is we’re not going to make an app for iOS and want it to be in the top 1000 apps. That’s not what we’re doing here. What we’re trying to do is make something that’s truly a moment, truly a step change. 

However, Molyneux sees a golden era of sorts as emerging in the industry:

I believe at this point in this industry we’re just coming in to the equivalent of the television age. When televisions first went out to consumers there were a few million, and those millions rapidly turned into hundreds of millions. It wasn’t only the wealthy enough people to afford a television. Over a period of a few decades that experience touched everybody in the world. And now it’s almost unthinkable that people don’t have a television.

Yin-Poole, Wesley. “Peter Molyneux: Why I quit Microsoft, and why my new game will change the world” (Eurogamer: April 11, 2012) <http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-11-peter-molyneux-why-i-quit-microsoft-and-why-my-new-game-will-change-the-world>.

Jenova Chen: Journeyman - Eurogamer

We spotted this thanks to the legendary @kierongillen, and think it’s quite brilliant. Part of that is that Jenova Chen, subject of the interview, is brilliant in his own right:

"But listen: none of us was born to be an asshole," he says. "I believe that very often it’s not really the player that’s an asshole. It’s the game designer that made them an asshole. If you spend every day killing one another how are you going to be a nice guy? All console games are about killing each other, or killing one another together… Don’t you see? It’s our games that make us assholes.”

There’s also a sense of deja vu in the article, where Parkin comes full circle from his introduction. How he weaves the interview together is straightforward, but all the same masterful. We think you should give it a read.