dirigiblebill Comments

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  • Remembering G-Police, the best Blade Runner game ever

  • dirigiblebill 23/07/2017

    @pelican_ I feel G-Police's city spaces capture the Blade Runner vibe better than any direct adaptation, but I agree that the Westwood title is great - never played to the end, mind you. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 23/07/2017

    @Mr.DNA Lol. Just for that, the next few thousand words will be about climate change in the Gears of War series. In all honesty, I'd have given more attention to the plot - and the feminine commodity politics of Blade Runner, for that matter - if I'd had more time to reflect. Had to fit this in at the back end of last week. Reply +1
  • The pleasures of a good video game horizon

  • dirigiblebill 17/07/2017

    Reply +5
  • Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age review

  • dirigiblebill 10/07/2017

    @Brainflowers Indeed, it's Vaan for the history books. Reply +3
  • Mercy me: in praise of gaming's greatest healer

  • dirigiblebill 10/07/2017

    If anybody's in the mood for more Mercy, this is great - explores the character's abilities in the context of eSports sexism: https://medium.com/@veryapplecider/why-does-everyone-hate-mercy-5888dfcd9aea Reply -2
  • dirigiblebill 10/07/2017

    @_TheDarkSide_ @Fourfoldroot I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but it's often used as a code word for "African-American man" in the US. Reply -1
  • dirigiblebill 10/07/2017

    @Demios101 I've edited the caption. Sorry, the word doesn't have the same racial connotations in British English in my experience (I'm from London). Reply +18
  • In memory of Call of Duty's cyborgs

  • dirigiblebill 24/06/2017

    @frazzl Mate, I am going to have to butt out - I have to pick something up in town. I thank you for your commitment to the topic. I strongly disagree with your reading of the piece, and I feel many of your follow-up points are clutching at straws, but I'm grateful that you took the time to defend your position. All best, genuinely. Reply +8
  • dirigiblebill 24/06/2017

    @frazzl “Last I check Gideon was a Brit, Cormack was African American and Ilona Russian.”

    The protagonist is a white American male soldier, the antagonist is a white American businessman, a significant proportion of the cast are white English-speaking Westerners, and the plot is chiefly concerned with threats to the USA, the USA's military-industrial complex and the USA's status as self-proclaimed head of the global order. If you want a longer analysis, I'll have to see if I can pitch one! Of course there are the usual sops to other nationalities and cultures – see also, Hollywood action movies - but to suggest that it is simply invalid to look at the game (not exclusively!) in the context of the capitalist west is silly.

    “You are talking about technology not culture in this article. Implying that the West is technologically advanced over the rest of the world is rather erroneous, and in my opinion prejudicial.”

    Except that this is your, so-far-unsupported interpretation based on a single paragraph, not my implication.

    “I was hoping you would bring this up. I suggest you read some of your reviews starting with your Get Even review. Then we can resume this conversation about "projecting".”

    I think I'm good, thanks. I haven't been particularly convinced by your analysis in the past. By all means post additional comments – I'll happily give them a look when I can.

    “1) I have never said you're glamourising Western society. I feel I was pretty clear that I thought you were implying the West is technologically ahead of the rest of the world. If I wasn't clear enough, my apologies. This post should eliminate any further confusion about what I am implying.

    2) I highlighted a single statement of yours. That hardly qualifies as a manifesto. I did find it prejudicial as I have explained in my replies to you.”

    I would argue that the difference between “glamourising” and “implying the West is technologically ahead of the rest of the world” is negligible here. And I am obviously exaggerating for effect with “manifesto”. The point is that you described the passage as racist.

    “I have also stated that I acknowledge you may not have done this intentionally. Which begs the question why are you so intent on highlighting the West when, as you claim, you were not out to portray them as being technologically advanced?”

    I'm going to break it down for you again: I don't concede that I have portrayed the west as more technologically advanced, intentionally or unintentionally. Had I portrayed the west as more technologically advanced, this would not be the same as claiming that the west is in some way superior, because, amongst other things, the article describes the technology in question as a dangerous force. And I am “highlighting” the decision because I am, in fact, actively defending the decision to word the article this way (!).

    “This article is about how technology is portrayed in military video games. Surely games like Advanced Warfare are a product of our times rather than based on the geography of the development team!”

    In my experience, one's “times” are partly the product of one's specific geographical circumstances, and in this case, the game is strongly focused on the US. Of course the topic is bigger than one country, but the object of discussion here is a game with a specific cultural orientation.
    Reply +4
  • dirigiblebill 24/06/2017

    @frazzl No, Sledgehammer made a game about white American men waging war across the globe on behalf of US strategic and corporate interest. Please, let's not try to recast Advanced Warfare as some sort of uber-cosmopolitan project for the sake of having the last word in a comments thread. It is an American-made game for an audience that consists overwhelmingly of Americans and Europeans.

    And again, to claim a greater "prevalence" of certain products in one region (which I wasn't!) is not the same thing as stating that one culture is superior to another.

    I'm sorry to hear you've been subject to this kind of snobbery, and I apologise if you feel slighted here, but I think you are projecting an *enormous* amount onto a fairly innocuous sentence. The article is, amongst other things, about access to cybernetic tech being invasive and destructive. The sentence you quote describes the society you accuse me of glamourising as "inglorious". I have no idea how you're getting from all that to some kind of racist manifesto.
    Reply +7
  • dirigiblebill 24/06/2017

    @frazzl I wasn't suggesting that countries outside North America and Europe don't have access to this kind of tech. I singled out the west in this para because that's where Sledgehammer is based. And even if I /had/ been making that claim, how you'd get from an observation that certain products are more prevalent in some regions than others to outright racism escapes me. As the rest of the article makes plain, I'm very ambivalent about this kind of technology, and I don't regard access to it as some kind of mark of cultural superiority.

    PS. Hah, I've just seen your comments on the Get Even piece. Frankly, mate, it feels like you have a bit of a grudge against me. I'm not sure why. If you don't like the way I write, by all means give me some criticism I can work with (as opposed to, say, absurd misreadings and lazy trolling). I have plenty of flaws and am always keen to hear suggestions. Or, read other writers - there are plenty out there.
    Reply +6
  • Crash Bandicoot is 3D gaming's underrated pioneer

  • dirigiblebill 19/06/2017

    @Bauul You and Master Milouse are correct - I was confusing it with Wolfenstein 3D. Sorry, updated! Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 19/06/2017

    @retr0gamer True, the Pac-Man reference is a bit of poetic license, but the intended meaning - that DOOM is a weird and fascinating falsification of polygonal 3D - is, I think, clear. If anybody's in any doubt about the technical specifics, the sentence includes a link to a wiki page on ray-casting. Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 19/06/2017

    @LittleBigDave Appreciated! Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 19/06/2017

    @TheDooglet Not per frame - I'm talking about the level in its entirety.

    Also - Vagrant Story! I would very much like to write about Vagrant Story.
    Reply +5
  • dirigiblebill 19/06/2017

    @pisky Ah dang, my bad - have edited. Reply +1
  • On NASA, the video game developer

  • dirigiblebill 01/05/2017

    @The_Legacy Thank you! That genuinely means a lot. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 29/04/2017

    @xaml Indeed - hence the call for art that represents the effects of climate change to people who are insulated from them. Sorry, I didn't mean to sound dismissive! Reply +2
  • Why are games so fascinated with cannibalism?

  • dirigiblebill 24/04/2017

    @Brainflowers You are correct! I am a bear of very little brain. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 22/04/2017

    If the column seems a touch random or under-developed this week that's probably because I had to cobble it together at short notice (one of our regulars had a clash of commitments). If only I'd remembered it was the Gameboy's 28th anniversary, I'd have done something on that. Bah! Reply +4
  • Little Nightmares review

  • dirigiblebill 22/04/2017

    Just caught wind of that GOG deal. Pretty near essential - Inside is diabolically good. I'm not sure Little Nightmares is quite as searching, but it's definitely in the same league. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 21/04/2017

    @IncredibleBulk As I said, I'm still pondering the impact of those images - it's hard to talk about them at greater length without giving away the story. I find it hard to believe that the developers weren't aware of the parallel, though - they've suggested as much in interviews, and the game is too steeped in all manner of artistic tradition/historical reference for this to have slipped under their radar.

    Thanks VotesForCows and Mostro for the kind words, by the way!
    Reply +7
  • Learning to love Dwarf Fortress, gaming's deepest simulation

  • dirigiblebill 16/04/2017

    If anyone's looking for a reasonably layman-friendly, nicely written and anecdote-stuffed account of a particular fortress, the Saga of Nutscaves is worth checking out. http://clairefuller.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/saga-of-nutscaves_27.html

    PS. It's definitely worth persisting till you get to the bit about the poison blood.
    Reply +12
  • How DICE's Star Wars Battlefront struck back

  • dirigiblebill 11/04/2017

    @FuzzyMetal "TBH I wish the canned game that Edwin wrote about a few years ago for OXM had survived, it sounded much more interesting than what Battlefront became. (Not 1313, the MP/SP shooter that was supposed to come in three waves: Squad-based online, larger online, SP campaign. I want to say Free Radical had a hand in it.)"

    I'd have loved to have played that game too - tragically canned on the eve of a public beta. It had more of a makeshift, down-to-earth, intimate, git-gud vibe than what we got from DICE, by the sounds of things - stuff like sniping from dropships, and how the prevalence of knockback gizmos would have paid into the CQ gunplay. It was a pleasure to write about, anyway - glad you found the OXM piece interesting.
    Reply 0
  • Microsoft reveals Minecraft Store with virtual currency

  • dirigiblebill 10/04/2017

    @Badoink Sorry, that was a bit dim. I've replaced it with a smaller one. Reply +6
  • From Donkey Kong to Snake Pass: the music of David Wise

  • dirigiblebill 09/04/2017

    We've bumped this back to the top of the site, as it didn't really get a fair shot amid all the Scorpio chaos last week! Reply +7
  • The strange, timeless appeal of early 3D platformers

  • dirigiblebill 08/04/2017

    @dadrester If you're making a spiritual Jumping Flash sequel you can have all of my money-bucks (though I'll happily settle for Vostok going by what I glimpsed of it at Rezzed!). Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 08/04/2017

    Anyone remember Jumping Flash?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAONnDAYJOE
    Reply +9
  • Yooka-Laylee review

  • dirigiblebill 04/04/2017

    @Xelha "each environment is worth visiting for its layered, throwback orchestral score, which ratchets up and eases off organically as you explore to vary the ambience."

    I could have gone on for longer, though!
    Reply +5
  • dirigiblebill 04/04/2017

    I should probably note that yes, the original Banjo games were pretty self-aware too, but Yooka takes the fourth-wall-breaking to absurd levels. Pretty much every other line is an in-joke. Reply +7
  • Thimbleweed Park review

  • dirigiblebill 31/03/2017

    @_TheDarkSide_ "the jaded ramblings of some old hack with a thesaurus wedged betwixt his arse cheeks"

    /tips hat
    Reply +10
  • The joy of Rime and the petrification of indie gaming

  • dirigiblebill 29/03/2017

    @nevernow Agreed! I'd love to play a new Tomb Raider that's purely about the landscape and exploration, with no progression systems to worry about.

    "We need 'AA' back" could be a good feature angle, actually...
    Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 29/03/2017

    @jeremycomans Well, it's obviously hard to speak for everybody, but I think my interpretation of the label has a pretty widespread currency. From the Wikipedia page for indie: "Indie games often focus on innovation"; "Small teams, scope, and no creative restrictions have made indie games known for innovation, creativity, and artistic experimentation." Regardless of who perpetuated them, the associations are there. Fred Dutton also has a good developer comment round-up on what indie actually means from 2012 - http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-16-what-is-indie Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 29/03/2017

    @jeremycomans I'm not questioning any of that. What I'm saying - again - is that "indie" is a label that has come to stand for quirkiness, originality, creative risks, etc, but which has been appropriated in the service of fairly routine (however well-executed) work. If devs want to hedge their bets by sticking to established approaches, that's obviously fine, but calling it "indie art" lends it a mystique it doesn't deserve. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 28/03/2017

    @Diji1 The point is that the talent spotters want us to think of these games as quirky/original, when they are at root fairly straightforward of concept or theme - "indie" stops being an (implicitly oppositional) creative ethos and becomes a settled genre that merely pretends to be otherwise.

    I'm aware that I'm just revisiting a point often made of "indie" culture in general, but it does bear revisiting, because the process keeps happening.
    Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 28/03/2017

    @Joshington Cheers! And yes, you're right that the definition I offer is limiting - it's just the stereotype I tend to see bandied around with regard to indies most often. Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 28/03/2017

    @captain-T-dawg Thanks captain! Don't worry, I've always been this cynical - I was on OXM during the Xbone announcement festivities. These things change a man. I've not tried IEYTD, no - will look out for it. Reply +3
  • dirigiblebill 28/03/2017

    @nevernow Absolutely there's a budget issue - god knows I don't want anybody to be unable to feed/house themselves. But if "indie" (as a creative sensibility) is to have any real cachet I'd rather we reserve it for the games that actually deviate from the conventions upheld by the big publishers. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 28/03/2017

    @FuzzyMetal On the contrary, it looks pretty good so far - I'm just taking the opportunity to quibble with the commercialisation of indie gaming. And I am almost certainly the one disappearing up my own fundament. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 28/03/2017

    @nevernow In a nutshell what I'm saying is that we should resist that process of generification, because what you end up with is publishers selling us quite conventional games that are dressed up as ambitious, outsider artworks. Reply +10
  • Mass Effect Andromeda is another failure for trans representation

  • dirigiblebill 28/03/2017

    "Stop forcing politics into this game [about colonising planets, meeting alien cultures and overcoming your differences]!"
    "Stop being oversensitive [and read my multiple-paragraph complaint about the writer's views]"
    "Why is a character's gender relevant [to this game in which you can romance NPCs]?"
    "Stop playing the identity card! You're just fostering division [and I am comfortable with the status quo]!"
    "I don't care about this so nobody should."
    "I don't want anything in my fantasy fiction that represents a viewpoint I disagree with, or consider to be unrealistic."
    "I don't like it when critics criticise things."
    Reply +3
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda review

  • dirigiblebill 20/03/2017

    @Hadji_Murad Species in ME lore aren't capitalised, apparently. You live and learn! Reply 0
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands review

  • dirigiblebill 12/03/2017

    @Rogueywon Yo - having glanced through a few of your older comments, I'd genuinely be interested in more feedback from you on the writing, if you're happy to take the time. Always useful to hear criticism from outside my particular echo chamber, providing it's constructive. You can PM me if you like? Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 10/03/2017

    @Return-of-Jafar Oh come on. It's perfectly possible to develop a military shooter, even a Tom Clancy shooter, that avoids some of the pitfalls I discuss here, and this barely qualifies as a Ghost Recon game as it is. One idea off the top of my head - cast the player as one of the Bolivian rebels. Reply +22
  • Stories Untold review

  • dirigiblebill 07/03/2017

    @JAK620 I hear Halo got an 8/10, too. Reply +6
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands feels remarkably tame

  • dirigiblebill 06/03/2017

    @JiveHound I'll be sure to balance the write-up between single player and co-op. Reply +4
  • dirigiblebill 06/03/2017

    @flintymania Ah, sorry for the confusion. I'll be clearer in future! Reply +3
  • dirigiblebill 06/03/2017

    Hey all - this is a first impressions piece ahead of the full review, based on a few hours with review code. It's marked as such on the nav bar, and phrases like "so far" and "right now" are hopefully enough indication, but I'll perhaps stick a line below the header to make that clearer. Look out for our final verdict later in the week. Reply +14
  • Reviving Ocarina of Time's long-lost Ura expansion

  • dirigiblebill 05/03/2017

    @liveswired I'd be interested to read those! Reply +6
  • Nintendo Switch review

  • dirigiblebill 01/03/2017

    In my ideal world Switch has already led to a sort of weird 80s-styled offline multiplayer revival, with hip young people constantly stopping on street corners to throw down a Switch, break out the Joy-Cons and get stuck into some Towerfall. An age where pub fights and the like no longer happen, because people settle their differences through spontaneous open-air LAN brawls.

    In my less than ideal world, I look at that battery life and the currently announced software line-up and I think: eh.
    Reply +13