This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Mark Filipowich on topics ranging from predators in online games to gambling in Japan.
[Content Warning: violence, sexual assault, genocide] In a piece for The Guardian, Anna Moore discusses online grooming and Murder Games, a documentary about Breck Bednar, a London boy who was murdered after a man developed a relationship with him through an online game.
[end Content Warning].
Rich Stanton covers John Romero’s newest level for Doom, “Tech Gone Bad” 22 years after the game’s original release:
Stanton’s piece details everything from Doom’s legacy, the personalities of the original Id Software team and the personal flourishes that have kept the game relevant, “Tech Gone Bad shows Romero’s still got it and, even more impressively, Doom’s still got it.”
Justin Keverne writes a short and sweet gem on his blog about the systems of supplying resources in Super Metroid:
These pipe creatures are organic resupply points, where time can be sacrificed for a complete replenishment of resources. This dynamic is never explained, the act of discovery is a sign that you have developed an understanding of the underlying systems. You are rewarding for showing this understanding of how the game systems functions in a way that is in context and non-patronising.
Gamasutra’s blogs editor, Christian Nutt, reflects on one of his favourite games of 2015, the frequently overlooked Legend of Legacy, whose critics Nutt neatly counters with the following:
Many people who have limited time and love the JRPG genre tend to save what time they do have for the big games, but my philosophy is increasingly becoming: Fuck that. You need to dig deep and figure out which titles you’re genuinely going to enjoy.
Zach Gage proposes some changes to IGF’s categorizing scheme to more appropriately celebrate more games in their own context rather than awarding the same few games for the same metric multiple times.
George Weidman of Super Bunnyhop fame covers the current legal climate in Japan around gambling (video) that has, in a roundabout way, prompted the development of a new entry in the King of Fighters series (albeit without the gorgeous pixel art it was once known for).
Gregory Avery-Weir, keeper of the blog Ludus Novus, entertains questions of how strategy optimizes or limits the depth of a game’s systems. Avery-Weir uses X-COM: Enemy Unknown as a lens for his discussion but it’s easy to see a broader application of his article.
In the book Rules of Play, Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman use the term “degenerate strategy” to refer to a dominant strategy which results in the player focusing on one narrow approach to play, making miss out on the full complexity of the game. If one unit type in a strategy game is universally the best choice to use, with no need for another type of unit, that presents a degenerate strategy. The most effective way to play the game is to use that unit at the exclusion of others. And that’s a boring way to play.
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Finally, it’s my great pleasure to welcome Zoya Street as our new senior curator. I’m sure I speak for everyone else when I say that I look forward to working with you from here onward.