What’s News 10/28/2015


NBC News
The Verge

Apparently there was going to be a Panel on Online Harassment at SXSW and was cancelled due to threats of violence (which to me would constitute as harassment of sorts as well).
The festival — known as SXSW — said it had hoped that hosting the two panels “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games” would lead to a “valuable exchange of ideas.”

However, it said SXSW had received “numerous threats of on-site violence” related to the programs in the week since the March 2016 SXSW Interactive event panels were announced. It did not detail the nature of the threats.

Because of this action Buzzfeed and Vox/The Verge has pulled out of the festival. Here’s BuzzFeed’s Statement:

Dear Hugh,
We were disturbed to learn yesterday that you canceled two panels, including one on harassment in gaming, in response to the sort of harassment the panel sought to highlight.
We hope you will reconsider that decision, and reinstate the panels.

Digital harassment — of activists of all political stripes,
journalists, and women in those fields or participating in virtually
any other form of digital speech — has emerged as an urgent challenge
for the tech companies for whom your conference is an important forum.
Those targets of harassment, who include our journalists, do important
work in spite of these threats.

BuzzFeed has participated deeply in SXSW for years, and our staffers
are scheduled to speak on or moderate a half-dozen panels at SXSW
2016. We will feel compelled to withdraw them if the conference can’t
find a way to do what those other targets of harassment do every day —
to carry on important conversations in the face of harassment. We hope
you can support the principle of free speech and engage a vital
issue facing us and other constituents on the event.

Fortunately, the conference is five months away. We are confident that
you can put in place appropriate security precautions between now and
then, and our security staff would be happy to advise on those

We look forward to your reply.

Ze Frank
BuzzFeed Motion Pictures

Dao Nguyen

Ben Smith

And Vox Media’s

Harassment is an issue Vox Media takes extremely seriously. As a digital media company, our journalists often face online harassment and find themselves on the receiving end of threats. We support our staff when they encounter this kind of abuse while continuing to do the work that can result in it, and want to continue an open dialogue about how best to do so.
By approving the panels in question, SXSW assumed responsibility for related controversies and security threats. By canceling the panels, they have cut off an opportunity to discuss a real and urgent problem in media and technology today. We have reached out to SXSW organizers and ask that they host a safe and open discussion of these issues, rather than avoid them. Vox Media will not be participating in this year’s festival unless its organizers take this issue seriously and take appropriate steps to correct. We will work to find an alternative forum for this conversation and invite others who feel the same to join us.

I approve of these measures actually. Harassment in this world has become insane lately due in part to the GamerGate. The fact that there are threats being posed because of trying to change the environment of harassment within the Gaming industry/community is insane. So I applaud these two companies dropping out.

What’s News 10/21/2015

Polygon Link.

Nintendo recently sent out developer kits for their new NX system but also opened applications for program development. (https://developer.nintendo.com/home ) Nintendo seems to be opening up their systems to make it much easier to port games to whereas it used to be nearly impossible. I’m actually glad they are taking a more friendly approach to it especially since they have been bleeding developers and publishers since the last few generations of games. Hopefully the NX will bring all these companies back to Nintendo and make some awesome stuff happen.

On other fronts, looks like Davey Wreden wasn’t the only one making a game.

Polygon Link.

William Pugh, co-designer of The Stanley Parable, has made his own company with some other friends and started an ARG at his website (http://crowscrowscrows.com/) So far it’s looking pretty interesting at least if the ARG has any relation to the game itself and seems to deal with a TV studio or movie set where something has happened in, thefts… After going through most of the ARG I am still unsure but it’s interesting to follow. Just can’t wait to see what kind-of game William comes out with.

Also Happy Back to the Future Day!

What’s News 10/14/2015

Gamasutra Link

For most of us since we build games and web games using Unity this may not be a total shocker but as more and more browsers remove an old Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI) from their system the less likely we are able to use games created from Unity’s Webplayer. Well in version 5.4 of Unity they will remove the webplayer altogether and focus on the WebGL format. Basically this means we need to stop making our games with NPAPI and with WebGL. The good news is they are looking at solutions to try and transfer the old games into a playable format.

Also since that one was rather short here’s another look at “The Beginner’s Guide” from Gamasutra.

It’s funny to I think he basically had the same reaction as I did to the game. I haven’t played through a second time yet, and if I ever met Wreden I probably wouldn’t ask him what his meaning of the game is because it has so much meaning that I feel it should be more personal. That each person has their own individual reaction to it, whether good or bad, is really what I feel that game is about. It’s a game that, even though it’s breaking the rule’s of the game itself, wants to be talked about, wants to be experienced by others, wants to be seen, wants to be heard. I still can’t believe this game has impacted me so much and still feel this should be taught in one of our classes.

What’s News 10/07/2015

So apparently last week I found out that Davey Wreden, creator of “The Stanley Parable”, just released his new game “The Beginner’s Guide” so I had to purchase and play it. The game is amazing and really what I expected of from the creator of “The Stanley Parable”. It’s not a typical game and leaves you questioning everything.

On of the greatest things about the game I feel though is Davey gives out his personal email address, or at least one for the game itself, and he asks for your opinion on what the game means/games mean.

But since it is just a game release it shouldn’t be “news” except that it’s getting a lot of reviews, some good, some bad. Ars Technica actually gave it a rather bad review only because I don’t think they saw it as more of a narrative/art piece that it was. They seemed to be more focused on how the game played rather than the story it told, which I feel is the most important part of the game. But on the other hand Polygon gave it a decent review based on what the content is rather than a technical review. Either way I feel everyone should play this game, especially everyone going to school here as it’s like a quintessential thought process for creative people.

It actually did have a pretty big impact on me so I did write a blog post about the game here.

Polygon review.

Ars review.

The Beginner’s Guide (some spoliers)

I’ve never really played a game that effected me as much as music, or a movie. What I mean by this is, most games tend to be some silly entertainment, or maybe even art piece that is played to be enjoyed. “The Beginner’s Guide” pushed all the right buttons for me. As a creative person who is a little bit depressed and doesn’t know how to connect with a lot of people it seriously hit home at the beginning. And then the end happened which questioned everything, whether the narrator is an honest one, whether there is a real “Coda”, whether this “Coda” was male or female or even trans. All of these things add up to a really good game that gives you something to think about, leaving you with more questions than when you started.

I really enjoyed this game because it touches on things that I feel are wrong with me. Social Anxiety, Depression, Pulling myself out of the world and reflecting inward. I know I have done these things, I know for the most part they are not very healthy, but for me that is a coping system, is that the same coping system that “Coda” used. “Coda” made these games for fun, for himself, and only shared them to his friend because he thought that maybe sharing part of themselves to the world, to a person might help them not feel as lonely. But then you begin to feel that you have to live up to this person, be as good as this person. Why can’t your life be as good as theirs? Why can’t you step outside of yourself and be better than what you have been? Be an “adult”? Get a “real job”, a “real life”?


So yes as you can tell I have faced similar if not the same demons of “Coda” in my life, and as hard as you try when someone wants to help, wants to be a part of your life, sometimes you unknowingly, or even purposely push them away. Sometimes the only way to help yourself is to do it alone, even when you know you have friends out there who would bend over backwards to help you. Life is funny that way, and the mind is even funnier.

The game itself seems to give us false leads though. The Narrator calls “Coda” a male but in multiple places during the game, the game refers to “Coda” as a female. The end portion leads us to believe that Davey was the one putting Lampposts in the end of the games to make them seem complete, that “Coda” wasn’t making the games for the narrator, and that the narrator didn’t get why they were making the games at all. The last level even has near impossible puzzles that there are solutions to but are so difficult that cheating would make it easier (which the narrator does for us). Maybe it’s a thing between narrative games and action games. In actions game you just do things, for the sake of doing things. You get a mission, you accomplish the mission, you gain some piece of story from it. Narrative games are almost opposite. With them you get story sometimes whether or not if you do things, doing things does progress the story, but it’s always just to progress the story. No quests, no “win/loose” just completion. In fact it why I think it’s hard to make games these days heavy on story, because when I play I like to try and finish the story as quickly as possible (being a reader/writer/game designer makes me want to know why these things are here). Narrative games make you think, not like a puzzle, but inquisitively, emotionally. They strike some nerve, some inkling to become something more than just a game.

In the end I wrote Davey an email about how much I enjoyed this game. I would love to hear from him to see what the real interpretation of it is, if there really is a “Coda” more about the game or just life in general, but in truth I doubt I would get a response, mainly because I feel many will probably email him, but I doubt I would have done it any other way.

Get this game, play it, and learn from it.