Comments Off The Week in Pixels #32

[Image: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle]

So, what’s new? Had the chance to play a major upcoming videogame recently, now I’m juggling between what I want to say in my review and what the studios involved are adamant about me not saying… Even when they’ve spoiled several things themselves. Tough job. On the other hand, Dragon Quest IX is occupying my time and I haven’t even touched multiplayer. Also, I’ve put down why I feel Resident Evil 5 is better than Resident Evil 4, although this comes a year too late. Not that my impressions would sway the hardcore hive mind of giving it a chance, but better late than ever. And oh look, links:

  • “To succeed in Free-to-Play, explore human weaknesses”. So says Teut Weidemann, lead designer of Settlers Online at Ubisoft. Basically, Weidemann believes that the success model of games in this area is found by monetizing areas where players are more psychologically vulnerable. “We have to bring players in and keep them addicted and make them keep playing. Selling advantages is seen as evil. That’s over for free-to-play games”. Weidemann then ilustrates the seven deadly sins as aspects found on certain gamers’ profiles, and as such, areas that can be monetized through a game’s system. It *sounds* terrible, and many comments on the article attack it, but… Isn’t that how the dominant infrastructures of videogames operate nowadays? One only has to look at achievements and trophies: an example of how an entire culture of competition was built upon human envy and vanity.

  • “Why Scott Pilgrim Matters” is Gus Mastrapa saying that… Well, that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (the movie, mainly) matters because, among other things, it’s about a videogame hero rather than a movie hero, which means the lessons founds in the narrative arc are learned through absolute failure – “the exact same way we play games”. While the logic follows the comic books’ idea, where Scott adapts to his life in the same way we adapt to the rules and difficulty of a game, it’s hard to agree we always learn a game exclusively though absolute failure. What of Planescape: Torment, where failing (“dying”) is mandatory and doesn’t present a simple game over, for instance?
  • Sean C visited the independent art and music festival “Yes Way”, in the United Kingdom. During the event, he tweeted his impressions about some of the bands he got to play. So far nothing special, until the moment Andy Disgusting, aka Andy Auld (founder of the Sex is Disgusting label) begins an insult marathon because he felt Sean’s comments about the band La La vasquez were unfair. “I know you. It makes me sick. Fucking never-done-anything raised-on-Radiohead middle-class mp3 blog meme lol fucking prick”. The result is that tipically “indie” posing where someone is assaulted because they believe good music is not just found on albums which sold less than 500 copies. As Sean himself says, “just because an artist has released (…) music that no-one bought, it doesn’t make them the SAVIOURS OF THE SCENE”. Priceless.
  • Thanks to my good friend Alex Smaliy, who spotted this one. Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw is a surreal, haunting, beautiful, creepy and Flash-based interactive experience. “Game” seems like a wrong term in this case, but it nonetheless requires intuition, observation and some exploration. It’s also a part of a larger body of work, the “Electronic Literature Collection“, by Nick Montfort, a professor of digital media at MIT.
  • Morplee is “a brilliant multitasking take on Wario Ware, in which you have to battle through about 30 microgames in 60 seconds while also defending the Earth from invaders”. Found this one through Rev. Stu, and it’s really worth it.
  • Cee-Lo, who you may know as part of the fantastic Gnarls Barkley duo, has released a new track, charmingly titled “Fuck You”, on YouTube. It’s a sunny, soulful sound… And entirely at odds with the lyrics. I can only think of three other song’s with such a discrepancy in their lyrics and sound – one is OutKast’s “Hey Ya!”, and the other is… Well, just about everything in Cody ChesnuTT’s “The Headphone Masterpiece” album, but an example would be “Look Good in Leather”. The last one is “The Seed 2.0″, by The Roots, itself a different version of a song originally by ChesnuTT on the same album.
  • And still about music, it seems this month’s rage was finding out that Justin Bieber’s song “U Smile” sounds like something out of Sigur Rós when slowed down 800%. Fantastic, but why limit oneself? Website IO9 used the same technique in songs used for Doctor Who, Knight Rider, Star Trek, Star Wars and Terminator. And lest we forget, this is actually the same kind of trick pulled off in Inception’s soundtrack.
  • And whether you liked Inception or not, here’s a handful of posters based on the movie.
  • “Photography lost its innocence many years ago. Only a few decades after Niepce created the first photograph in 1814, photographs were already being manipulated. With the advent of high-resolution digital cameras, powerful personal computers and sophisticated photo-editing software, the manipulation of photos is becoming more common”. A quick glance at photo tampering throughout history, between 1800 and 2010.
  • For more than ten years, Allison Davies travelled the world, looking for weird landscapes. The result is the Outerland series, and some images from that collection on Wired show our “mundane” planet as if something out of sci-fi.
  • Jim Rossignol dedicates a brief eulogy to Elektro, the smoking robot.
  • 8-bit cityscapes by Max Capacity.
  • “Financial Crysis!”. “Sonic Bloomberg!”. Such is the world of Wall Street Fighter 4.
  • Of men and mice, good old Fallout style.


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