[Another week, another 15+ links for you to all peruse. I hope you like this set of gems, dug up from all over the Internet. It's particularly interesting to see articles about those who play a LOT of games - and treating those people who play games too much, and want to stop.
The only takeaway I have is that you need to face reality some of the time, and games can be particularly good at making you skirt that. But so are a lot of other things - drink, work, drugs, even movies, as Patton Oswalt has written about. So - everything in moderation. Even newsletter writing!
- Simon Carless, curator.]
Twenty Years Later, A Furry MMO Fights To Stay Alive (Cecilia D'Anastasio / Kotaku)
"At Furcadia’s September town meeting, a hundred humanoid animals lounged on purple pillows in a lush, 32-bit meadow. Emerald Flame, Executive Producer of the oldest social MMORPG, was explaining Furcadia’s largest update since its 1996 founding to the motley pile of furry avatars, known in-game as “furres.” It was called the “Second Dreaming.”
The joy of grinding, or, Why young men would rather play video games than get a job (Clive Thompson / CliveThompson.Net)
"This is Danny Izquierdo, “a 22-year-old who lives with his parents in Silver Spring, Md.”, as the Chicago Tribune reports. Izquierdo, the Tribune writes, is part of a trend: Young men who are opting out of the job market because it’s more emotionally fulfilling to play video games. It’s not that they couldn’t find a job. It’s that they don’t want to. Games are a better mode of living. Can this trend possibly be true?"
What Makes Rocket League's Pro Players So Elite? (Andrew Hayward / Red Bull eSports)
"With Season 2 qualifiers concluding this weekend and providing us the 16 teams that will face off in league play later this month, I spoke with some of the game's top pros to find out what they believe sets elite players apart from the pack, how they found synergy with teammates and what the road to high-level play really looks like."
The Sound Of Hyper Light Drifter (Akash Thakkar / GDC/ YouTube)
"In this GDC Europe 2016 talk Heart Machine's Akash Thakkar shows off the sound design process for Hyper Light Drifter, including how Thakkar used everything from 1950s wire recorders to modified stethoscopes to create the eerie soundscapes for the game."
After 385 Hours, One Player Still Hasn’t Beaten His Hardest 'Mario Maker' Creation (Patrick Klepek / VICE Gaming)
"Mario Maker is a game that allows users to make their own stages and then share them with other players. The catch is, players can't actually upload their creations unless they've beaten them first. For the last ten months, this challenge has consumed Braden Moor's life. Moor started making his own ultra-hard Mario Maker stage, appropriately titled "Trials of Death," back in January. At 385 hours and counting, Moor has spent more than 16 days of his life dying over and over, hoping to reach the end of his platforming gauntlet."
How a Washington-based clinic treats video game addiction (Blake Hester / Polygon)
"Dr. Hilarie Cash recognized a growing problem. As a Seattle-area general practitioner, in the '90s she began seeing patients come in with issues she knew nothing about: addictions stemming from the internet, from computers, from video games."
How the ‘go-to’ esports agent found his role (Liz Mullen / Sports Business Daily)
"When he was young, Ryan Morrison sneaked downstairs after his parents went to bed to play “Final Fantasy VII” and “Super Smash Bros.” After he graduated from law school, Morrison started helping esports players with their team contracts, and it wasn’t just a game."
Remembering Cing, the defunct game developer that thrived on boredom (Anthony John Agnello / AV Club Gameological)
"When things are happening, we don’t notice. We’re caught up. Kyle Hyde, the put-upon ’70s detective of Hotel Dusk: Room 215 knows that feeling. Even teenage Ashley Robbins, the old soul starring in Another Code R: A Journey Into Lost Memories, knows it. That feeling, against all logic, defines their stories.."
Why the Video-Game Culture Wars Won’t Die (Jesse Singal / Select All / NYMag)
"The video-game culture wars seem to be flaring up a bit. Wednesday, Heat Street ran not one but two articles on a favorite bugaboo of “real” gamers everywhere: artsy, story-focused games which offer scant interactivity and demand little to no skill on the part of the player. They’re more like films than games, goes the usual critique, and games are supposed to be games."
The science of The Last Of Us (The Wellcome Trust / YouTube)
"You’ve played the game – now find out how you would really react to a deadly pandemic. What can video games tell us about the end of the world? A bunch of scientists, philosophers and game critics play and discuss The Last of Us, exploring what it tells us about real-life disease, outbreaks and how prepared we are for the next pandemic."
How level designers make us feel smart (Tyler Wilde / PC Gamer)
"Ubisoft Toronto level design director Matt West will never approve a four-meter-high wall. Three-meter-high walls look scalable, he told me over the phone, and five-meter-high walls look unscalable, but four meters high? That’s a confusing wall. You’ve got to run up to it and mash a key to find out if you can climb it—screw that, get rid of it."
Designer Notes Episode 21: Amy Hennig - Part 1 (Soren Johnson / Idle Thumbs podcasts)
"In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Amy Hennig, best known for her work on the Legacy of Kain and Uncharted series. They discuss what happened in 1977, how to make a platformer about Michael Jordan, and whether women are now being scared away from game development the way she was from the film industry."
Interview: Suda51 of Grasshopper Manufacture (Heidi Kemps / Gaming.moe)
"I had the opportunity to sit down with Suda51 at PAX West this year to talk a bit about The Silver Case, a remake of Grasshopper Manufacture’s very first game that will be launching on Steam next week. I wanted to dig a bit into his development background and how the game came to be — we’ve always had a bit more of a historically-minded slant on this site, and with this game being an important part of Suda51’s history, it only seemed fitting to focus heavily on that. "
Devil May Cry 4 - Designing a Great Boss Fight (Turbo Button / YouTube)
"A very quick look at one of the best rival fights in the Devil May Cry series. Credo's design... deserves more praise."
The 24-Year Feud That Has Dogged Star Citizen (Peter Ottsjo and Alfred Holmgren / Level / Kotaku UK)
"Chris Roberts is in trouble. It’s just before Christmas 2015, and the legendary designer of early-’90s classic Wing Commander is live on the air, ready to give a demonstration of his new space sim: Star Citizen... You wouldn’t be able to tell from the recording studio’s cheap faux-brick wallpaper, but Chris Roberts’ new company Cloud Imperium Games has received over $100 million from its fans. Unfortunately, it’s even harder to tell from what’s currently happening on his computer screen."
Exploring the Hidden Depths of 'Abzû' (Steve Haske / Inverse)
"Early in Abzû, after swimming through an architectural ruin painted with the vivid hieroglyphs of an ancient undersea civilization, you come to a sudden clearing. Before you, the sea opens out in a bewitching expanse, punctured by shafts of light from the water’s edge and dotted with sharks and marlin. It is a gorgeous view of all that the game stands for."
What do the PS4 Pro and Xbox's Project Scorpio mean for the game industry? (Chris Baker / Gamasutra team / Gamasutra)
"But is the very idea of console generations still relevant in light of this move? Is this a half-step to please early adopters who want a better viewing experience on their high end TVs and VR headsets? Or is this a fundamental change to the way platform holders do business? Gamasutra staffers weigh in with their take on this topic below."
Creating Time For Atmosphere (Game Array / YouTube)
"Gamers will always remember atmosphere. They won't always remember moments."
Game Genie declassified: That summer I played 230 Game Boy games (Keith Stuart / Eurogamer)
"It was the summer of 1992. Nirvana dominated the airwaves [&] Batman Returns squatted resolutely in multiplexes all over the world... But to be honest, I had to look all this up on Wikipedia, because I really didn't notice it at the time. I was locked in a small office on a Leamington industrial estate testing Game Genie codes for the Game Boy."
[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every Saturday at tinyletter.com/vgdeepcuts - we crosspost to Gamasutra some time later, so get it first via newsletter! 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!]