No Time To Play
newsletter archive

Weekly Links #75

You know, this was supposed to be the newsletter's last issue, but a lot of things happened since I took that decision. For one thing, I asked my readers to chime in with opinions, and my site promptly went down for eight days. Not exactly conducive to dialogue. Besides, when I made that decision, my interest and confidence in games were at an all-time low. In the mean time I started turning this blog into a book (coming soon!) and started a new one as well, with a different focus. To top it all, I've been writing new articles here as well.

So here's the deal: the newsletter isn't needed as much nowadays, but it is a good reason for me to keep up with the world of gaming. So I'm going to keep it going, just with a lot less commentary. That will free my Sundays to do more productive stuff, while still keeping the blog updated weekly. Stick around.

Now, on to this week's news.

So, the E3 came and went. And you know, everybody commented how it was an edition dominated by sequels, remakes and reboots of beloved classics. (Even Ars Technica noticed that -- thanks, Kevin!) You'd expect people to be disappointed about this trend, right? But instead, they were thrilled. That right there speaks volumes about the state of gaming today, not to mention the number of gamers who are old enough to have actually played those classics in their time. Do you suppose the industry is paying attention at last, or is it simply that their risk aversion has reached terminal levels?

In actual game development news, Nightwrath pointed me at a couple of articles. One is about the way Steam isn't one uniform market (which matters a lot if you intent to, you know, sell). The other suggests a method for quick-and-dirty level editing, and if it sounds primitive, consider that the original Super Mario game was designed on graph paper.

Good tools are essential for serious game development. But you can't exactly make good tools until you have a good idea of what you intend to build with them. So don't turn your nose at low-tech solutions.

Last but not least, the big debate about diversity in RPGs, that I covered in the previous two issues as well, is getting notice from people I wouldn't expect. Here's an English teacher who's been working for years to integrate into Japanese society, writing about America's narrow concept of diversity. Tl;dr version: it's complicated, and simply featuring visible minorities in a game, with no thought given to how you portray them, isn't going to solve the problem.

So once again, we desperately need more minority representation in games. But we need to do it right. Not just "strong women", not just token people of color, and definitely not just cardboard stereotypes planted there for the sake of political correctness.