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I suppose the series’ focus on money was inevitable. What the public knows are iconic titles and their associated corporate colossi: the story of pop videogames is the story of videogame money.

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7 thoughts on “Discussion: Low Score

  1. It seems to me that (a) it would be a good idea to link to the original site and the archive if you want and (b) it would be an even better idea not to link to the Falun Gong’s Trump-supporting fake news site at all. (a href=archive!)

    I can testify that the success of Among Us has reached the bugging-your-dad-to-get-it stage in at least one household.

  2. Feather seems like it’s almost self-parodically my thing, so maybe we can cut a deal where I get Feather and he gets Among Us. That’s how deals work, right?

  3. I agree with a lot of your thoughts on High Score. While for the most part I really liked the presentation (that is, the pixel art and animations stitching it together), some sequences were indeed goofy. I don’t remember the headshot section! I blame Doom for desensitising me.

    There were several sections I found interesting, mostly because I wasn’t fully aware of them, such as the Argonaut devs and Super FX/Star Fox, the Fairchild Channel F console (snappy name!), adding black players to Madden, the programming challenge of simulating that many players (and the way the show tried to present that to non-programmers), the ET and GayBlade story and, like you said in the newsletter, Sega’s battle plan to take on Nintendo. The tournament and money-making side of the doc didn’t interest me at all!

    Perhaps my biggest issue with the documentary, as someone who can illustrate and graphic design and do video and sound (and maaaaaaybe music) and has a somewhat logical/systems-oriented brain, was the way the show made videogames out to be something anyone could make. I know the bar to entry is lower than it’s ever been but I felt like the importance of coding and its complexity was downplayed in favour of presenting the easier-to-understand artistic side of development–as interesting as it was to see a Space Invaders sketch or Sonic being illustrated! The two Johns at id looked like they were just fucking about in a dark basement listening to metal, and, boom: Doom. The Madden coding section, the ET story, Super FX, and I think there was another example of the show getting close to delving into the technical guts of game development (Carmack and Mario I think). Code is what makes these miraculous, impossible creations tick and even though my interest in coding is close to zero, it’s a key part of gaming that I feel is often glossed over in gaming documentaries. And look: I’ve no idea how you’d make it interesting or understandable to most viewers. Perhaps bedroom programming could have been the springboard for that?

    I suppose I should watch From Bedrooms to Billions now, eh? 🙂

    The Among Us story is crazy (as is the Fall Guys one). We’ve played it a bit and it’s like The Resistance but because you’re in a virtual space moving around, doing ‘missions’ and watching out for suspicious behaviour, in real-time, it gives you so much more to discuss, argue and point fingers over. And while being the imposter is fun and super tense, as a regular guy the little WarioWare-like activities are a really cool way to keep you moving around and occupy your attention for long enough to miss things. I’m excited to play some more with more people! It’s a very neat design.

    Oh and, haha, how did you find John Wick 3, Joel?

  4. i Gregg.

    Headshots – in the fifth episode, they’re showing off all the bloody sfx that guy has done for television like Ray Donovan, which involves showing some people being shot in the head. I know the series is marked as 15 certificate by Netflix but I didn’t understand why – I had shown some of the first episode to the children already – but when this popped up, even though it was in the “violent” episode, I was taken by surprise.

    I didn’t get that sense that it was easy to make games, like you did, but maybe that’s because I wasn’t wearing that hat while I was watching. I didn’t feel like it was trying to argue making games was that easy but, admittedly, they weren’t really getting too much into the detail of it. Although Carmack was portrayed as Really Smart for solving the seemingly impossible graphics problems. I felt it largely leaned heavily on genius visionaries, rather than grunt work of getting things to work. The ET story is the closest you get to that, I think.

    One thing I can’t tell is whether From Bedrooms to Billions works with, shall I say, a normal person. It is intensely nostalgic for me. It is extremely well done, though, edited together as a normal doc rather than the gloss of High Score.

    John Wick 3: it was fine. I felt the fight choreography was weak in JW2 and this carried across to JW3. Too often I noticed incredibly skilled bad guys… just waiting to be hit, stabbed or shot once they were in JW’s embrace. I mean, no one watches JW for the story, right? Because that be shitgoblins. ALSO TERRIBLE CGI IN THAT FINAL FALL FROM THE ROOF JUST SHAMEFUL

  5. I forgot to reply!

    Ohhh, I remember now. Yeah, I can appreciate that.

    I’m sure it was High Score that had a big strobe sequence right at the start, pre-intro, without a warning, but it warned about something else that seemed trivial in comparison.

    While I was aware of the ET story, I never quite realised how crazy the dev and the timeline was to ship it. I recall watching a playthrough of the game and… it looked monumentally dull and obtuse.

    Yeah, I was hoping John Wick 3 was going to get the series ‘back on track’ after all the glowing praise and those sexy movie posters. I also lost interest during that whole desert interlude with the dog fight sequence. We enjoyed it but not enough to really recommend it. Add to that the hugely disappointing John Wick: Hex game, which I had high hopes for–yay for Fights in Tight Spaces!

  6. Yessss it did have a big strobe sequence, I think when they were lighting up Howard Scott Warshaw’s face. I had heard of the ET story before but it was fun to hear the developer tell it in his own voice, with a pitch-perfect sardonic tone.

    Fights in Tight Spaces now getting a “replay” option which others had requested and, you know, they were right to request it. That’s a good idea.

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