Electron Dance
10Sep/14Off

Links: The Dying Creative World


This week, Link Drag is called Links. Who knows what it will be called next week.

  • Is Simon Pegg crying out for the sweet release of death?
  • What can we learn from an interview with Dirac prize winner David Deutsch in 1992 about the educational aspects of videogames?
  • What happened to couch co-op?
  • An honest postmortem of Kickstarter?
  • How difficult is it making a horror game?
  • Are TED talks lying to you?
  • How will the reimagined Pathologic relate to the original?

Find the links below.

Click to Escape

“World's End (2013) - Fuck Geek Culture for Making Me a Millionaire” - Jonathan McCalmont

A true geek celebrity, Pegg is rooted in genre culture. Never allowed to grow old and forced to remain in a state of arrested development, Pegg’s character has ostensibly made his peace with the geeky shit surrounding him but his eyes cry out for the sweet release of death.

“Video Games: A Unique Educational Environment” - David Deutsch (Written in 1992, still hold up?)

Life improves one's hand-eye coordination. One spends one's whole life picking things up and doing fine finger movements, which one does in video games as well, but video games, if they are well designed, tend to use skills which people already have. If they go too far beyond what people already have, they tend to be less attractive as video games. They are then more like playing the piano, which requires a new kind of physical skill. Video games do not really impart a new kind of physical skill; what they impart is the fundamental mental skill, of understanding a complex and autonomous world.

“What happened to couch co-op?” - Ask a Game Dev

Some games lend themselves more easily to local multiplayer - an action RPG with an isometric camera, for example, can get by with just enforcing the players to stay on the same screen together. But these challenges which are endemic only to local multiplayer aren’t trivial to get around. Before the age of internet-connected gaming consoles, developers who wanted to include multiplayer into their games would have to budget for solving these problems. But now that we don’t have to, not everyone does - only those developers who really feel strongly about local multiplayer will make room in their development schedule for it.

“Unrest: An Honest Postmortem of a Kickstarter Success” - Adam DeCamp

I am going to be talking about things that are almost always considered taboo. I will discuss my salary. I will discuss the salaries of other team members. I will discuss what my work situation was like and how we stand to fare in the future. I will do this because practically no-one else does, and it’s a gaping hole in the discussion.

“The problem with fear” - Christian Donlan

The fright had rather a short half-life, though, as fright generally does. The first time you see Monstrum’s monster, it’s a terrible shock. The second time, it’s a bit like bumping into a colleague. Oh, you again? I’d better be running and hiding in a locker, eh? Do give a me a ten-count. This is the problem with so much horror, of course, the thing once seen, struggles to be a thing any more. Its creeping, crawling unknowable thingness has been dissipated and all that’s left is the process of classification.

“TED talks are lying to you” - Thomas Frank

And yet his creative friends, when considered as a group, were obviously on their way down, not up. The institutions that made their lives possible — chiefly newspapers, magazines, universities and record labels — were then entering a period of disastrous decline. The creative world as he knew it was not flowering, but dying.

“Secrets Of The Ice-Pick Lodge: Pathologic Reimagined” - Adam Smith

The Kickstarter is not an attempt to fund a new translation though, it’s an attempt to fund a new Pathologic. A great deal will remain, including the map of the City and the dissected narrative structure, but there are changes beyond the script and reworked visuals. There will be more content for starters, with additional plotlines and quests. Some content will be removed as well, as the original game contained ‘filler’. All content should work toward the entire composition rather than taking up time along the way. No small talk.

Small Print

I have had enough of "Link Drag" as a title and am currently brainstorming alternatives.

Some of these links are sourced from recommendations and apologies for not acknowledging where they came from. I throw scores of links into Instapaper every week and I have no record of their origins.

Also, if you get really bored, the Weapons of Progress Twitter account slowly dribbles out links which may or may not be related to my not-gonna-be-finished-for-a-while book on videogame economics.

Download my FREE eBook on the collapse of indie game prices an accessible and comprehensive explanation of what has happened to the market.

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Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Very excited about the Pathologic remake. I bought it years ago but always hit a dead end on the first day as the Bachelor. The RPS writeup inspired me to give it another go, and I’m now on day 3 as the Haruspicicuxicus.

  2. I’m pleased to see that you’ve begun regularly reading Jonathan McCalmont’s work. I love his writing.

    That TED Talks article is fucking marvellous, too.

  3. James – Maybe if I’m quick I’ll play Pathologic at last before the remake arrives!

    Shaun – I’ve been reading Jonathan for quite some time and I feel quite humbled before his rollercoasters of words; they make me feel dumb! It’s only been since the Link Drag revival that I’ve been able to start linking.

  4. He’s a dizzyingly thoughtful writer. I was lucky enough to bump into him online back in 2005 or 2006 when we were both writing book reviews, and various conversations we’ve had over the years have helped me improve my own writing.

  5. Oh my god, I’ve had this Link Drag tab open for, like, a million years. I just wanted to say that Jon McCalmont’s article on Simon Pegg/The World’s End was fantastic, so thanks for linking that. I really enjoyed The World’s End (perhaps more so than the other films in the Cornetto trilogy) but what a great observation about Pegg’s on-screen growth/stasis.

    And, uh, sorry, didn’t mean to unsettle the dust in here.


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