Gamasutra has recently had further interesting feedback to some of our notable features and opinion pieces, as collected through our Letters to the Editor
, so here's the newest weekly roundup, with some of the reactions you might have missed. Click through on each link (free reg. req.) for the full Letter.
Our first letter, per usual, comes in response to an Ernest Adams feature -- surprisingly, though, this time not from his highbrow games feature series, but instead his most recent article, The Designer's Notebook: Employees Leaving? Deal With It!
Phillip Ronaldson writes in
to say to take issue with the union model set up and rejected by Adams in the article:
"He finds one example of a union (which he doesn't like) and takes that as what a union is. Of course that kind of hollywood union probably is not desirable but how far removed from outsourcing actually is it? Unfavourable models or union abuse are not reasons to avoid them completely, the industry is in the unique position of being able to sit around a table and come to an agreement on what would be the best model for it and it could benefit the industry greatly.
There is no one size fits all solution but games jobs are 9 till 5 jobs, that’s not to say it should not be flexible, but a lot of the unreasonable demands that are displayed in the ea wives episodes are not as common in other creative industries. Games jobs have become boring grinds because the attitude of larger employers/publishers that enforce the most suitable conditions for them at the expense of the employees. Unions is a perfectly legitimate way to counter this. If it means strikes or confrontation, and the employers are not prepared to be more reasonable that might be necessary; That’s another point all together."
On our ongoing Quantum Leap Awards series, the most recent
covering the games that made a step forward in storytelling, Jaime K. takes issue
with the games voted upon by our readership, wishing more variety might have been expressed:
"Marathon, System Shock, Half-Life, and Dues Ex are essentially the same type of storytelling. They're all done in a first-person perspective -- That is one "quantum leap." They do not all deserve their own award, because they all contain the same approach to telling their story.
Where's Myst? The first widely accessible game where the main character (i.e. you) cannot die? The level of sophistication in design to accommodate that one aspect is certainly a "quantum leap" in storytelling.
Where's The Last Express? The first game to attempt to tell a story in real-time?
While the titles mentioned are deserving of an award, they are mostly fan-favorites and are not the "quantum leaps" in storytelling that they are labelled."
Reader Nathan Piazza has also written in
with a response to John Hopson's recent Open Letter to Academic Game Researchers
, saying that the disconnect between academic research and the games the industry actually produces in fact reveals more about the industry than the academics:
"Most academics don't care, nor should they. They are doing work for its value to everyone over the long term, not particular companies over the short term. And, as in every field, academia will have most of its impact on the industry through the students it produces, who will slowly replace the Gen-X and early Gen-Y developers and executives that now dominate it, many of whom started out in their garages making games precisely to AVOID school.
[...]Some developers think if they can get [the labeling of games as 'art'] to stick, games will all of a sudden become "legitimate", whatever that might mean. You also see it in the defensiveness about a lack of innovation in games, the relatively unsophisticated state of game AI, the situation of women in games, and the cultural, political, and ethical emptiness of many games.
To everyone's benefit, academics won't stop looking critically at the industry on all of these fronts. And the industry won't stop ignoring them, at least not until the industry is made of people who've learned not to ignore them, probably in class."
And finally, mobile developer Lai Tuck Weng has submitted a point-by-point response
to our recent Mobile Editorial, The Mobile Designer's Manifesto
, written by Massively Mobile creative director Demetri Detsaridis.
Amongst a number of other points, he adds:
"Mobile games, if attuned to the mobile lifestyle, would be great and all, but it seems as if they are constantly compared to their larger handheld cousins. The elusive holy grail of mobile gaming still remains to be found. As mobiles increase in potential performance, it seems as if there will be a convergence of sorts. Mobile games are currently cheaper and smaller than handheld games, but in the future, who knows? I would hazard a guess that in the future, prices for mobile games would have to be increased as complexity increases and development time increases. The platform would be the only thing keeping them apart, then. There would be a need to make mobile gaming unique. There are possible ways of making them unique, by possibly utilizing features on the mobile which will not be present on handhelds.
Another possible problem with mobile gaming development, is that perhaps professionals do not stay long enough in the mobile gaming industry. Mobile gaming development is somehow treated as a sandbox stage where new entrants train and then move on to bigger platforms."
For more reactions to be read and responded to, visit our letters page