No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #12

March just ended, and with it another week in which gaming news were few, but big. And the biggest, of course is that the Oculus Rift virtual reality system was sold to Facebook. Which, as you might expect, angered the fans who had kickstarted the project initially. And the surprising thing here is that a lot of people didn't understand why...

Look. When you sell me something, or give me something... when you invite me to edit Wikipedia or contribute to an open source project... Heck, even a simple comment box on a blog post creates an implicit promise. Which people will expect you to keep. It doesn't matter that the price was fair for what they got. What matters is they don't feel cheated. Even if no money changed hands, trust is a currency. This is doubly true for Kickstarter, where people sell promises outright. Which they sometimes break simply by failing to do what they promised. But to succeed and then sell out, after you asked people for money specifically so you won't have to sell out? That's the entire point of kickstarting! How did you expect people to react?!

(Never mind that a company everybody hates, which isn't worth nearly as much as they like to believe -- as a failed IPO demonstrated -- just bought yet another solution in search of a problem. We'll see what they thought they were doing. From a safe distance in my case.)

In other news, Adam Orth -- the former Microsoft exec who tweeted, "every device now is 'always on' #dealwithit" -- has managed to relaunch his career (good for him) and is now campaigning against toxic behavior on the Internet (good for everyone). And on one level I support the initiative. Internet lynch mobs really are out of control. Just look at the Flappy Bird debacle. Also, I have friends who hold unpopular opinions, and I know for a fact that doesn't make them into monsters. Not even when they cling to their opinions against overwhelming evidence.

But. The trouble with opinions is that they're not just opinions. People act on their opinions, and actions can hurt others. Moreover, when you're someone influential, your opinions will rub off on those who look up to you. Leaders have followings. And in any event it stops being just an opinion the moment you donate to a cause. (Hello, Mr. Eich. You've actively denied human rights to many of my friends. Just so you know.)

Besides, if it's "just your opinion", why exactly is it worthy of my respect? How about you learn some facts for a change, then we'll talk.

But enough drama. In more amusing news, the webcomic VG Cats pokes fun at the pay-to-win game monetization model, Playbuzz wants to know how many vintage games you can recognize (I got 44 out of 86, basically 50%, but many of those were lucky guesses) and a studio called Black Shell Games releases a free RPG with ASCII art that, interestingly enough, isn't a roguelike. It even has animated cutscenes!

In my book, that means people are still having fun making games. And while that holds true, there is still hope. Until next time.