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Blogged Out: Hot Coffee, Free Play and Non-Human Avatars

Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we look at ...
Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we look at sex, industry and non human avatars. Seemingly trying to derive something positive from the Hot Coffee debacle, IGDA has been running a Sex & Games blog for the last month or so. The subject matter of the blog represents their attempts to chart sex in games and have the topic taken seriously. In a new ‘five questions’ feature IGDA asks High Voltage’s Matt Entin (who is currently developing an unannounced sex-themed game and was project lead on the recent Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude) "what makes sexual content work in a game?" Entin replies: “When it’s used appropriately in context and doesn’t feel exploitatively tacked on to the product. The difference between Leisure Suit Larry and BMX XXX is that Larry is ABOUT sex while BMX XXX is about extreme sports with sex arbitrarily tacked on to boost sales.” Of course the focus of Larry didn’t stop a fair few people being upset about it, not least because Larry’s creatorr, Al Lowe, was not involved in this most recent iteration. Whatever the games it is led to discuss, we hope that Sex & Games continues to take its subject matter seriously, and that its five questions get put to Fahrenheit developer David Cage at some point in the future. Meanwhile, Greg Costikyan’s blog discusses the death of Asheron’s Call 2. “I'm surprised they didn't try to sell it to someone,” says Costikyan. "Or even give it away--you piss off your player base when you shut down a game, and someone like Themis or, hell, Psychochild could probably figure out a way to run AC2 in the black.” Other useful material that popped up online from the Free Play conference was journalist Kieron Gillen’s honest and irreverent guide to manipulating the gaming press. Not that we’d condone anything of the kind, of course. Lastly this week it’s worth checking out James Wagner Au’s blog reporting on Second Life. All those amateur designers in one place result in some quite spectacular creations, many of whom turned up to Au’s recent Non Human Avatars Convention. The event played host to spectacular individuals, about which Au blogs with some amusement. “It would also figure, wouldn't it, that Fennix Eldritch had also created a tribute to the sticky ball "Katamari" of the beloved Japanese videogame. It would further figure, wouldn't it, that the reporter and a blue man and a red battle 'bot and several hapless pedestrians would for no particular reason other than it seemed like a good idea end up attached to the ball, rolled into a nearby stream, then bounced upward several hundred feet, a clump of metallic and fleshy weirdness shot through the stratosphere, then plummet headlong into the displays of furries and robots and dragons and tiny woodland creatures and bag ladies below.” And there are only so many games you can say that of. [Jim Rossignol is a freelance journalist based in the UK – his progressive games journalism has appeared in PC Gamer UK, Edge and The London Times, to name but a few.]

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