Hello, everyone. This week, Vintage Is the New Old notes that the Internet Archive just uploaded 13 years’ worth of Nintendo Power issues. Which reminded me of the times in 8th grade when all the boys would gather around a classmate whose parents were wealthy enough to get him issues of a similar magazine from France, along with Famicom games. It would be years before I got my own console, a Chinese clone, and by then everyone else had moved on to the SNES. But magazines still made people gather around in the classroom…
In unrelated news, we have a couple of rants, like this one about big game companies jumping into virtual reality feet first and messing things up, thus giving the medium a bad reputation. An interesting argument, but I predict that’s not what will kill VR again — rather it will be the realization that VR is still a gimmick with nothing new to say. And from a different source, here’s an opinion piece about what actually matters in procedurally-generated games. Gee, you mean some people play games for the (gasp) mechanics? As in, the one thing that’s unique to the medium? What a surprise… not.
I’ll end with an article on testing interactive fiction with automated gameplay, which contains some ideas easily applicable to other genres, like board games. It’s a kind of fuzzing, really, with comparable benefits and limitations. Also, the bit about repeating game states made me think about certain rules from the games of Chess and Go — it’s not just an issue for computers.
But you already know to take inspiration from the analog world, don’t you?
Welcome, everyone, to another short week, and this time I don’t have any personal rant to fill the vacuum, either. On the plus side, for once all my links are directly related to game development, so that’s something.
Within a series of Back to the Future-themed articles, Juhana Leinonen asks, what if we don’t succeed? And it’s a very pertinent question, considering how people all too often use optimism as an excuse to not plan for their project simply not working out. Results vary from stubbornly pressing forward with an already failed project — a shambling zombie that’s expected to go on anyway because “that’s the original vision”, or worse, “we’ve already invested too much into it”, to bad blood ensuing and people leaving in a huff when progress grinds to a halt without any deliberate decision being made.
I’ll let you read the article for possible solutions. In the mean time, a blog called Kill Screen asks another fun question: is your game able to withstand a tabletop gamer? It makes some good points, too. After all, behind all the glitz a game is ultimately made of mechanics, and you need testers who can exercise them properly. But I never considered how much the mindset of players changes things, and I spent an entire childhood playing board and card games.
Last but not least, The Chi Scroller reminds us of the times when limited hardware led to limitless creativity, and the gist of it can be summed in these two lines:
What is left to push developers to think outside the box when the box is cozy and comfortable and doesn’t actually prevent them from doing anything?
Obviously not much, I say, and that is indeed a problem. Oh well.