Comments Off The Week in Pixels #26

And so it ends. One year later, Smash! magazine ends its print run. What remains are memories of hard work and dedication to the project, of time well spent with the editorial team, of the learning period among some of Portugal’s best journalists in the field. Now halfway between the gutter and the stars, I’ll be resuming some activity on this blog and in videogames in general. Doors close, windows open. Here we go.

  • According to this report, in 2009 north-american gamers spent 23.5 billion dollars in videogames while british gamers spent 3.38 billions. Apparently, the PC held between 16 to 20% of the total market revenue while consoles gripped between 60 to 63%. Two curious things stand out here. First, it’s that the report doesn’t divide console revenue, choosing to isolate one platform (PC) against several platforms at once (the consoles, consisting of PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP). If we divide the console total by each plataform, that makes it so each console will have only achieved 10% of total revenue and that the 20% value from the PC – a platform presumably dead since 2001 – is still synonymous with a strong presence. And second… 23.5 billion? In the north-american market only? What piracy, industry gentlemen?

  • Also on piracy, is this article on TorrentFreak which reveals a peculiar thing: just like Rainbow Six: Vegas 2‘s “patch” that Ubisoft released was nothing more than a “no-cd crack”, it seems Rockstar Games pulled off the same stunt with Max Payne 2. Someone over at the Steam forums went to the work of exploring the game’s executable and then found on the code… The logo of Myth, a cracker group specialized in cracking anti-piracy protections. Which suggests Rockstar took hold of the group’s “crack”, possibly without permission, and released it as being their own property. You have to understand – it’s the gamers’ piracy that’s bad, not the companies’ piracy!
  • Sega revelead their DRM measures for Alpha Protocol, and they’re a small wonder. According to official comments, Obsidian Entertainment’s game will use the Unilock system, which doesn’t require a constant online connection, doesn’t require a DVD to play the game and allows, in theory, for multiple instalations. Ironic that a company predominantly known for their console videogaming history is also one of those that understands PC gamers better. In other words, Sega does what Ubifails.
  • Clint Hocking, Far Cry 2 head honcho at Ubisoft, has resigned from the company. In an honest and passionate letter to his blog’s readers, Hocking talks about his trajectory in the videogame industry and the reasons behind his decision. “But I am a person of habit. For me, habits begin to form when I am comfortable and content, and over time those habits settle. (…) Pride burns into hubris. Willingness wilts into desperation. Confidence slows to stubbornness. Passion boils into anger. Each of these faults and others – without care and constant self-examination – risk becoming habits. I am too comfortable. I am too content. And I know where that can lead for me”.
  • Bayonetta‘s creator, Hideki Kamiya, doesn’t seem too happy with some fans. Namely, those that represent the game’s female lead in pornographic contexts. If on one hand it’s understandable an author doesn’t appreciate or agree with the way his creations are manipulated by others, on the other Kamiya is being either incredibly naive or hypocritical. He created female characters and reduced them to sex object status himself – how can he expect some fans of the game don’t do the same? Virtually all of the character’s movements, poses and actions have sexual connotations. Is he upset with the fans or jealous because they had the freedom to take the author’s whims to their obvious conclusion?
  • Mark Morgan, music composer for Fallout and Fallout 2, has released a remastered and free version of the games’ soundtracks as an album called Vault Archives. The download, over at Aural Network, is temporarily unavailable – and it remains to be seen  if this is due to Morgan’s decision or Bethesda’s chuckleheaded burocracies – so your best bet is to visit No Mutants Allowed and download from there. Sober, chilling, with a fantastic understanding of what Black Isle was trying to do with the series.
  • Phil Cameron talks about the post-DRMatic stress regarding Ubisoft, and Splinter Cell: Conviction in particular. I need to write something similar about Assassin’s Creed 2, and about how the PC version is the best one because it turns the entire internet into a recurring antagonist.
  • Tim Rogers on God Hand, loving stupid games, Roger Ebert, games that are art because they’re not art, and the usual walls of text I hope he never stops writing.
  • “I Dream in Retro” is a short Flash animation based on a feverish dream by YouTube user OrinCreed, where the aesthetics and mechanics of several 8-bit games rearrange themselves to create something different yet very similar to the original titles.
  • Pulp Covers from Amazing Stories between 1938 and 1940.
  • A small illustrated guide to videogame localization.
  • Have you done your part in the Pacman World War?


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