Missing in action? Who, me? Well, yes. Lots to do, plenty of work, but also an attempt to better exploit my free time gave way to a certain absence on the blog. To those who have stopped paying attention to Juxtapixel, I understand the decision. To those still hoping this get updated again, I make no promisses except that I’ll try my best to do so. Onward:
- “Mistakes Were Made” is a post on the Combat Archeology blog that dwells into the matter of a little “oops” on Eurogamer’s behalf. As in: Quintin “Quinns” Smith reviewed Rise of the Godslayer, an expansion pack for the Conan MMO, ending the text with a 6/10. Some criticism leveled at the review’s contents were made and Eurogamer pulled the plug on the entire thing (a copy can still be read here), citing reasons such as “not complying with Eurogamer’s quality standards” but then not clarifying what standards allowed the review to be published in the first place. Later on a re-review by Rob Fahey is published with a score of 8/10, and started by an editorial remark saying Eurogamer didn’t give enough time for Quinns to accurately judge the expansion. Just like the Darkfall scandal/circus performance, the author of Combat Archeology questions the value of MMO reviews, and how difficult it is to evaluate genres that, by their nature, are constantly evolving. Specially interesting when Kieron Gillen shows up in the comments, with arguments that lead the author of the blog to rethink his position and to write a new opinion piece, although not very far removed from the original. Worth a think but it’s also important to remember that MMOs are not the only games where this happens – also on Eurogamer, editor Tom Bramwell once re-reviewed Zoo Keeper, a DS title, on the grounds that the more he played the game, the more unfair the original score seemed to him: going from 6 to 8 out of 10. It’s an honest and professional mea culpa, but also showcases some of the pressure journalists are under to produce fast content and that videogames, like other mediums, need more than a glance to be fully understood. In other words, a review and a score don’t always say everything.
- Ram Raider, a “gaming journalist looking from the inside out, wondering why all the joy has been replaced by bollocks”, has done his best to terrorize the industry, poking at its most ridiculous aspects. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, nearly always entertaining. Here’s a recent piece on Michael Pachter, the Wedbush Morgan analyst who’s become infamous for his predictions. Titled “Pachter: Nostradamus or a Cunt?”, Ram Raider highlights some of Pachter’s predictions and scores him based on how wrong and right he was.
- How about going back in time and seeing how E3 was 20 year ago? 1UP shows how the Consumer Electronics Show, the equivalent of modern day E3, was back then. Plenty of info and worth finding out how much this kind of event changed (or not) over the years.
- I’ve been on a Resident Evil marathon lately, exploring the good and bad of the series. In short: Resident Evil Remake for Wii and Resident Evil 5 are the best. Resident Evil 4 is average. Resident Evil 3 is the worst. Roll on hate mail. Still undecided on Resident Evil Zero but I lost the will to play right at the beginning when the lead characters are trying to leave a speeding train, but then spend two hours looking around for keys, items and how to solve puzzles. “We need to leave the train!” / “Not until we solve these puzzles to get rings to open a suitcase, and certainly not before we hunt down for the locomotive’s breaks which, for some reason, are spread across the train!”. Jeebus. ANYWAY. This marathon led me to one of my favorite gaming habits: to search around for lost videogames, discovering what might have been. I leave you with two interesting Resident Evil videos. Resident Evil 1.5, which would later become Resident Evil 2, showing events, levels and characters that never made it into the game; and Resident Evil 3.5, which was the building block for Resident Evil 4. This work in progress showed “The Hook Man”, later discarded from the fourth chapter as it wasn’t considered Resident Evil enough, although his animations lived on in every basic Spaniard you killed in the game.
- Berthier’s Door is the work of artists Julien Berthier and Simon Boudvin. Basically, they installed a fake door in an empty wall in Paris, then created a façade following architectural code of the area and going as far as simulating an adress for it. “Almost 4 years later, the address still exists. Regularly graffitied it is even cleaned by the city service”. The scribes at BLDGBLOG also remind readers of 23-24 Leinster Gardens, in London, which were nothing but façades from the very beginning. “They don’t even have interiors; they are simply vents for the Underground, disguised as faux-Georgian flats”. On one hand, it juxtaposes what we take for granted, the mind wanting to believe the outside reflects the inside; on the other… It’s a bit like Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere”, isn’t it?
- Loukanikos, the Greek anarchist dog, in pictures and video montage of pictures. Apparently, this dog “has been present at nearly every outbreak of mass class struggle and social disorder in Athens in recent years”. I’ve read somewhere that there are actually other dogs roaming the streets of Athens, basically strays drawn by the presence of people. But… Myths and legends need to start somewhere, and the people of Greece definitely need something to believe in these modern times.
- Days With My Father is a photo journal created by photographer Phillip Toledano, who chronicles his father’s aging and memory loss. Toledano reflects upon his father, his late mother and their relationships as a family and as human beings. It’s honest, emotional and even if you can sense how it will end, the pictures and words are too powerful to stop turning the pages.
- (By the way, there is a hardcover edition of “Days With My Father” that gathers all of it in a single tome on sale at Amazon, US and UK).
- Times Square. 1930. 1940. 1950. 1960. 1970. 1980. 1990. 2000. 2010. More important than being called “art”, they’ve become a part of our everyday lives.
- Did I ever link to Reset Generation? I don’t remember so here it is anyway. Reset Generation is of a puzzle/tactical/action breed that’s not only fun to play but also fun to watch, thanks to its charicatures of videogame characters, from Mario to Sonic. A singleplayer campaign and 4-player matches are on offer for this N-Gage and Windows (browser) game. Bonus: the soundtrack is composed by 8-Bit Weapon, known for their 8 and 16-bit tunes, and you can download it for free here.
- “Her methods escalated from simple protests to greeting bartenders with pointed remarks like “Good morning, destroyer of men’s souls”, to serenading saloon patrons with hymns on a hand organ. (…) Dissatisfied with the results of her efforts, Nation began to pray to God for direction. On June 5, 1900, she felt she received her answer in the form of a heavenly vision. (…) Responding to the revelation, Nation gathered several rocks – “smashers”, she called them – and proceeded to Dobson’s Saloon. Announcing “Men, I have come to save you from a drunkard’s fate”, she began to destroy the saloon’s stock with her cache of rocks. After she similarly destroyed two other saloons in Kiowa, a tornado hit eastern Kansas which she took as divine approval of her actions”. This is the Wikipedia page for Carry A. Nation, a woman who opposed alcohol consumption before the Prohibition era in the United States. Fascinating reading about a fascinating woman.
- The Appalling Reaction to the Apple iPhone Leak. Michael Malone of ABC News flips the bird to the press for having ” (…) largely turned into Apple’s full-time lapdog and lickspittle”. Malone wonders why few criticized Apple and police officers’ decision to raid Jason Chen’s house after he acquired the prototype of the new iPhone 4.
- What if Team Fortress 2 had been like… Street Fighter? Zelda? Starcraft? Steam forum user “goldenhearted” has the goods. Valve should totally make “The Legend of Sniper: Jarate of Time”.
- At least we have the Vuvuzela of Doom. In Doom.