• Are emotive anecdotes doing as much harm as good?
  • Are you one of those Christmas people?
  • Have you read that deeply-researched piece on the Deus Ex sequels that never happened?
  • What are the ethics of free-to-play design?
  • What does David Simon really think about The Wire being released in HD format?
  • How do you make toast?
  • Why do recent GTAs seem more unpleasant than earlier editions?

Find your seven click escapes below.

“The Personal and The Political” – Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig

But if leftists’ eagerness to promote personal narratives winds up irreversibly coupled with a resistance to probing those narratives, then it will continue to cause harm. In that case, we are obligated to reevaluate our commitments — not to the project of justice, but to those specific techniques. Otherwise we will wind up endangering the very people we aim to protect — as is the case now, with victims’ advocates already despairing over the effect Rolling Stone’s hasty retreat could have on future victims’ willingness to speak up.

“Resisting Christmas” – Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig

Every year, the same op-eds about materialism arise drearily, informing us that the Christmas-industrial-complex is a scam. Sure, but everything is. Where are the daily op-eds about the commodification of everything, about the fact that all personality, all sentiment, all relationships are not only expressed but experienced through consumption? You’re not really you in any unique sense until you’ve differentiated your iPhone case from hers: if I can’t tell you’re a certain kind of person by the jackets you buy, are you really that kind of person at all?

“Ion Storm’s lost Deus Ex Sequels” – Joe Martin

Invisible War and Human Revolution – these are the sequels every Deus Ex fan knows. But they’re only a fraction of the real story. Prior to Human Revolution, Ion Storm Austin, the studio behind the first two Deus Ex titles, worked on a third game in the series. Twice.

“Are Addictive Free-To-Play Games Ethical? Let’s Fight!” – Jeff Vogel

Look, the facts are that these games are almost entirely subsidized by taking the brains of some compulsive, addiction-prone “whales” and cracking them wide open. They spend literally ridiculous amounts of money, and the rest of us get games for free. And yes, this makes me feel icky.

“The Wire in HD” – David Simon

This tale begins and ends with a fellow named Bob Colesberry, who taught me as much as he could about filmmaking in the three or four years I was privileged to work with him. To those who knew Bob, it will provoke warm memories to say that he was not a language guy; he understood image, and story, and the delicate way in which those elements should meet.

FAV “How to eat: toast” – Tony Naylor

Is that really how you want to eke out your time on earth? Joylessly, in greyscale, denying yourself one of life’s great pleasures, in the vain hope of living (if you can call it that), for another few years? Newsflash: we are all dying. Every day. Eat some butter before it is too late.

“GTA’s growing pains” – Rich Stanton (Electron Dance related: Léon loves Tetris)

Let me cut off one counter-argument immediately, which would be to point out that as a society we’re fine with violent entertainment but immediately go all Victorian when sex crops up. This is absolutely true. In this specific context, however, it’s worth noting that the violence is interactive whereas the sex is passive. All you do is pay and watch a cut-scene play out. I have more respect for San Andreas’s infamous cut Hot Coffee sequence than what GTA 5 does, because at least the former was a mini-game – regardless of its effectiveness or execution, it used the medium. GTA 5’s sex is just a collection of grubby shorts.

Small Print

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.

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