"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.
That newfangled Xbawks has sure been taking a beating, but it’s particularly easy prey, given the ludicrous costs to the consumer (and they’re more than monetary). But it does take a master to present the arguments as to why Microsoft is failing here. Rob Fahey and John Teti do well.
Why did Microsoft do what? Shoot itself in the foot, basically, with those, uh, features it has on Xbox One. Here’s part of why:
The first is that people are already familiar with the idea of licensing over ownership…This focus on technicalities to the exclusion of a broad understanding of a wider picture that includes complicating factors like sentiment and public opinion is a common flaw in the games business, as well as being easy to identify in other parts of the technology and entertainment businesses.
A little different, this take, saying Microsoft is misguided in their marketing.
“Talking to us” is an exception to the rule at Microsoft’s Xbox events. Their default mode is to address a demographic caricature who was born in a marketeer’s binder. That caricature, as far as I can tell, begins with a 20-something white male who only loves to shoot at things, except he also thinks magic knights are cool, just not as cool as the shooting. Plenty of those people exist, but the other thing about Mr. Demographic is that he just fell off the turnip truck.
This article has some other gems in it, too, including why bugs and issues at these events mean so much to us.
Because you need to.
Some negative commentary (with positive spin) on E3 compiled. Two common threads—sexism and violence—emerge here just as they do in gaming at large. It’s predictable that E3 prompts these conversations, but it’s not going to go away. Sooooooo…
Kuchera, Ben. "Banning E3 booth babes isn’t good manners, it’s good business." (The PA Report: June 13, 2012) <http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/banning-e3-booth-babes-isnt-good-manners-its-good-business>.
The amount of female flesh on display before you even enter the show floor was impressive, and impossible to miss.
The message it sends is clear: This is a show for men, with advertising, promotions, and booth design aimed at grabbing male eyes.
Williams, Katie. “I Can Be Just As Capable. Let Me." (Kotaku AU: June 18, 2012) <http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/06/513794/>.
Katie talks about the issues she faced at E3—where she wasn’t treated as an equal:
It continued to happen through the next few days of E3. Upon checking into a booth, I would often be asked by the PR rep whether I wanted someone to play my “hands-on” demo for me. During booth tours, I would more often than not be guided towards the Facebook games. Following demonstrations, I was often offered fact sheets just in case I didn’t “understand”. People would regularly take note of the publications listed on my badge and say, “But you don’t really play, right?” I was assumed to be eye candy, the pretty face of a publication whose content was provided by people with actual talent. Every time I protested, the offender would say — as if it were a proven fact — “Well, girls aren’t usually into this stuff, you know.”
Then there’s the violence…
Handrahan, Matthew. “A History of Violence: So Where Do We Go From Here?" (GamesIndustry.biz: June 12, 2012) <http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-06-11-a-history-of-violence-so-where-do-we-go-from-here>.
Violence has been a selling-point in games for as long as I can remember. I’m not so naive that I expect that to change, and I accept that others may see things differently, but I can’t recall a time when it felt so dominant, so unapologetically central to how these companies see their audience and judge the value of their products.
This was never more clear than during than during the climactic demonstration of The Last of Us at the Sony conference.
Boone, Steven. “The Last of Us, and other video games that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination”. (Capital New York: June 20, 2012) < http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/culture/2012/06/6026394/last-us-and-other-video-games-leave-absolutely-nothing-imagination >.
Steven Boone compares videogame themes as they stack up to film. It’s an interesting analysis…
2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the second highest-selling video game of all-time in the U.S., was in many ways the Dark Knight of gaming. It solidified an ongoing franchise while exploring themes of terrorism and reprisal from the point of view of American protectors working Dick Cheney’s “dark side” to produce results. As Seth Seichel wrote in a New York Times review of the game, “Basically, the player, in the guise of an American commando, can participate in a massacre of unarmed civilians. ‘It will cost you a piece of yourself,’ your commander says of the mission. ‘It will cost nothing compared to everything you’ll save.’”
And finally, a chap that ignored E3.
Holmes, Dylan. “Why I Ignored E3" (Nightmare Mode: June 11, 2012) < http://nightmaremode.net/2012/06/why-i-ignored-e3-19796/ >.
Most conversations in the gaming community take place about games that have yet to come out, and if you don’t follow the trending news, you won’t be able to participate in these dialogs. I think this is the chief reason why gamers flock to E3: it’s the most-watched event in the industry, and discussions of the games revealed and debates about the “biggest trends” of the show will dominate gaming websites and Facebook alike for weeks to come…
[T]his year, I chose to sacrifice the conversation.