Video Game Deep Cuts, Week of Sept 17th: Light Guns & Myst Puzzles
[Welcome to the third iteration of Video Game Deep Cuts, and this is the latest bumper crop of longread & 'interesting play' goodness from all over the Web and YouTube... hope you enjoy! - Simon Carless, curator.]
Time crisis: Is this the end of the light gun? (Simon Parkin / Eurogamer)
"With longevity came invention. Time Crisis introduced a pedal that allowed players to duck behind cover. Silent Scope added a thick magnifying glass through which to pick-off unwitting targets on rooftops. Then, with the death of the CRT, the light gun vanished."
Blizzard on Balance, Better Design and Eichenwalde (Justin Mahboubian-Jones / Red Bull eSports)
"Eichenwalde, the first new map in Overwatch, has now wended its way from the PTR to the live servers... Curious to discover how the likes of Eichenwalde come to be, we quizzed a pair of Blizzard’s top-notch developers: Aaron Keller, the assistant game director of Overwatch, and Dave Adams, the game’s principal level designer."
Japanese Non-Profit Seeks to Reunite Retro Games With Their Childhood Owners (Zack Kotzer / Motherboard)
"If you came across a Woody doll that read “ANDY” on its foot, you’d probably try to reunite the toy with its owner despite their bittersweet yet emotionally necessary parting in Toy Story 3. But how about that copy of NHL 96 you picked up at a thrift store that had the name “CHRISTOPHER” scrawled along the label in black sharpie?... This is why a new non-profit in Japan is seeking to streamline the task."
Deadly Premonition director Swery becomes a Buddhist Monk. What does this mean for his games? (Brandon Sheffield / Gamasutra Blogs)
"Game director Swery (Deadly Premonition, Spy Fiction, D4, The Last Blade) was born into Buddhism... In this third year of college, a friend in his film group asked him to join the game industry with him. Now, 20 years after that, after battling a host of health problems and difficult situations across the last year, Swery has become a licensed Buddhist master of one of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism."
History Shaping Design: How Gender Roles As Shown In The History of Tabletop Games (Julia Keren-Detar / GDC / YouTube)
"From western Chess to Mall Madness, this GDC 2016 talk from Untame's Julia Keren-Detar explores how game mechanics can change who gets to play, and how marketing pressure and seemingly unrelated TV deregulation can restructure a whole industry."
Myst creator Rand Miller on his favorite puzzle that everybody hates (William Hughes / AV Club)
"We had a chance to talk with Rand Miller a week before [Obduction's] release, to discuss the perils of Kickstarter, the puzzle Myst fans are wrong to hate, and the time Disney almost hired him to make a real-world version of Myst Island in an isolated Florida locale."
Small Fries: How one player banned from a lifetime of CS:GO is trying to make things right (Ferguson Mitchell / eSports Observer)
"On September 17, 2014, Epsilon eSports knowingly threw its ESEA match against Overgaming purposefully, and bet against itself. When this activity was leaked by a member that was cut from the team, Valve responded by issuing a one-year ban to Epsilon’s players—a move that was accepted reluctantly. One year later, however, Valve escalated the punishment into indefinite, lifetime bans."
The Galaxy's Most Addictive Game Is Hidden In Star Trek: Timelines (Mike Fahey / Kotaku)
"In a season five episode Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Enterprise crew falls under the spell of a dangerously addictive augmented reality game. That same game lies buried within mobile game Star Trek: Timelines, an easter egg so well-hidden only one player has uncovered it, and they don’t even know it yet."
Steam’s New Review Policy Causes More Problems Than It Solves (Sir TapTap)
"Today, Steam did something. That alone is a monumental occasion. But unfortunately, as is too often, Steam either didn’t think very hard about what it did or didn’t care very much about the developers on its platform when it did it."
'Crash Bandicoot' at 20: An Oral History (Brittany Vincent / Rolling Stone)
"To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Crash Bandicoot, we spoke with the founding members of Naughty Dog about the tumultuous journey from selecting the perfect hardware to creating a burping, butt-scratching protagonist."
Digital Forensics Rescues Retro Video Games and Software (NIST)
"The Stanford University Libraries, which acquired the collection in 2009, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have just completed a multi-year effort to rescue the collection’s digital content from the Atari game cartridges, 5-1/4 inch floppy discs, magnetic tape and other deteriorating storage media that held it."
The art of the trailer: how videogame trailer editors hook us in (Aron Garst / Zam)
"Trailers are every video game developer’s the first line of offense when it comes to advertising their new game. They are every potential player’s first introduction to the gameplay, the story, the artstyle, and the characters— which is a challenge. It can be a tall order for a trailer to accurately convey everything that a game is about."
Meet The Anonymous Watchdog Who Broke The CS:GO Betting Scandal (Cecilia D'Anastasio / Kotaku UK)
"One of 2016’s most explosive pieces of gaming journalism was broken by a news-obsessed Indian IT guy with a relatively unknown YouTube channel... In June, HonorTheCall’s video on shady Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling practices blew the lid off of a betting scandal implicating several top YouTube personalities."
The 'Sensible Soccer' World Cup Is an eSport Event Like No Other (Fraser Gilbert / Vice)
"On a yearly basis, a passionate selection of individuals come together to partake in the Sensible Soccer World Cup, or Sensible Days as it's affectionately known. The event is held in a different location each year, and competitors use their own money to travel across Europe for the privilege of taking part."
DOOM (2016) - Graphics Study (Adrian Courrèges)
"Historically id Software is known for open-sourcing their engines after a few years, which often leads to nice remakes and breakdowns. Whether this will stand true with id Tech 6 remains to be seen but we don’t necessarily need the source code to appreciate the nice graphics techniques implemented in the engine."
The past, present and future of League of Legends studio Riot Games - (Phil Kollar / Polygon)
"The story of Riot Games is a list of things that shouldn’t have been possible. It’s the tale of an extremely difficult, user-unfriendly game reaching untold heights of success. It’s the story of a company that has remained committed to listening to and interacting with its fans even as it at has grown exponentially. More than anything, it’s the story of two best friends who liked playing video games and decided one day to make their own."
How can Steam refine its revamped review system? Game devs offer ideas (Joel Couture / Gamasutra)
"This week, Steam owner Valve Software announced updates to the way its platform handles Steam game reviews that are submitted by players who obtained games by using a Steam game download key. “It's too easy for Steam keys to end up being used in ways that artificially inflate review scores," Valve said in a blog post, arguing the reasoning behind the decision."
[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every Saturday at tinyletter.com/vgdeepcuts. Story tips and comments can be emailed to [email protected] MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]