Annie Get Your Goat
This week's edition of On Radar is about goats and guns. These are two separate articles, fortunately, but the other ones - a profile on game developer/writer Tim Rogers and what happens when a branding executive tries to run a reality show full of indie developers - are equally deadly, if not moreso. I had to get this whole thing legally certified as a deadly weapon in every internet-connected region of the world that cares about that kind of thing (which is, fortunately, not many)!
You'll also find a selection of interesting games you can play straight from your browser, and a live Kickstarter campaign that you may or may not want to back. It's a pretty good selection this week, I'm not going to lie, but maybe I'm just partial to ruminants and foiled executives.
Photo by bagsgroove
Read How The Most Expensive Game Jam In History Crashed And Burned In A Single Day
"This, by contrast, was loud. It was very loud. Beyond anything I would have ever expected to see associated with these people, having known some of them since my earliest days covering games for Statik. Robin Arnott, MY Robin, who built a chanting-based psychoacoustics game based on an acid trip at Burning Man, standing under a gigantic soda ad? Adriel, who used to make satellites for Lockheed Martin, being stricken back to one so she could enter and re-enter the room over and over? How would Davey, the guy behind self-aware existential satire The Stanley Parable, react to the pageantry of this whatever it was?"
Cynicism is rarely a valuable trait to cultivate. It's especially unwelcome if you're a young creative person trying to carve out a living in an industry and community that was barely aware people like you existed three years ago. But GAME_JAM, a reality show sponsored by Mountain Dew with an allegedly eponymous purpose, turned out exactly how a cynical bastard would have expected.
Jared Rosen, who has a somewhat complicated work relationship with all parties involved, nonetheless provides the most complete look into the slow-burn catastrophe on Indie Statik. Suffice it to say, mixing socially progressive kids (who'd just as gladly kick capitalism in the invisible shin as they would shake its invisible hand) with an old-school drama-stirring Dew-pushing Hollywood executive did not end well--at least, not for the companies bankrolling the operation. For the indies, it proved that solidarity remains a powerful tool no matter the opposition.
Read The story of GoldenEye 007s most notorious gun, The Klobb
"Considering the weapons reputation, very few characters in GoldenEye 007s main story carry a Klobb; in fact, the team considered it too disadvantageous for even the lowliest grunts to wield. Hollis believes its infamy derives from the disparity between its bark and its bite. 'There are a few scenarios in which its possible to pick up two Klobbs and dual-wield them,' he says. 'When you do so, it makes an awesome sound and feels fantastic. You think to yourself, Oh, yeah! Im the shit. Until you actually try to shoot an enemy with the gun, that is, and realise that its a bit like a noisy water pistol.'"
You're moving fast, paying more attention to your opponent's quarter of the screen than your own. The halls and rooms of this Facility are burned into your retinas and, more importantly, so are the item locations. A stray leg appears and disappears from your rival's view as you each round respective corners, it's your own and you know he will be upon you in moments. The indistinct pile of grey rectangles on the floor tells you that's ok; it's a weapon! It's a Klobb. Your rival only has a PP7, but its little pewt-pewt-pewts find your head as the Klobb roars an outline around his body.
Edge explores the legend of one of the most groan-provoking pickups in deathmatch history by speaking to the developers responsible for its creation. Did they somehow miss the fact that it was so terrible? Did those QA reports get spilled on and discarded like Macaulay Culkin's plane tickets? No. They knew.
Read A goat farmer reviews Goat Simulator
"As we destroy this virtual world, I gradually drift away from the violence and am lulled into watching the shadows follow Mayhem Goat so perfectly, and admiring the texture of his fur and his divine squash-belly body. What a lovely specimen of goat he is, I think, even as he does things no goat would ever do. I laugh deliriously at his ridiculous lolling tongue and heaving breath as he rests between goat missions. I wonder if the game developers know that in my pasture, a lolling tongue means the most rudimentary of goat romance awaits. Of this, Dolly might indeed be envious."
Goat Simulator began life as a goofy little game jam project. Enough people said they wanted to buy it that Coffee Stain Studios, otherwise known for its Sanctum series, decided to make a full-fledged Steam game: ten serious dollars for all the headbutting, trampoline jumping, car licking, and ragdoll tumbling you can eat, and people seriously bought it. So PC Gamer seriously contracted a goat farmer to review it.
I'm most familiar with goats as those things that yell like humans sometimes, so Angelina Bellebuono lends some valuable perspective to the matter. It also makes me feel better that not only a normal person, but a person with very close and loving relationships with several goats, finds gleeful joy instead of disgust in the game.
Read Embed With Tim Rogers
"Tim goes on to tell me that students attending Indiecade this year told him his writing on Super Mario Brothers 3 is being taught in classes at NYU. And theres no doubt in my mind that his analysis of that game is sharp--hes written three essays on it. Zero in on where the friction is in a game, and how its rewarding, and youve got a good piece of games criticism. Equally, find the games that have the most Sticktion and chances are they will be the most rewarding in terms of base enjoyment, if thats what you look for in your games. Both Ziggurat and Videoball make heavy use of Sticktion and this isnt a coincidence. Sticktions sort of what Tim lives on, down to the choice of keyboard he types on at his computer, the socks he buys, the games he wants to make."
Sticktion stands for "sticky friction" and it's a term you've probably heard before if you follow game criticism. You probably haven't heard it as much as "ludonarrative dissonance," but that old chestnut was labeled by Clint Hocking, and Cara Ellison didn't write about Clint Hocking for her Embed With profile series. She wrote about Tim Rogers. I wonder if she'd want to write about Hocking? He doesn't seem like the kind of guy whose couch an internet acquaintance would be welcome to crash on for a week, but you never know.
Anyway, Tim Rogers. He is a character. And that's kind of an issue that Ellison runs into in her time with him: he's such a loquacious fellow that she questions whether she's gotten to know him or just his image, whether she's written anything down he couldn't have said better himself. I think she did (that's why I picked it).
Play Electric Tortoise
Borrowing its premise from Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Electric Tortoise seats its players opposite a replicant charged with breaking the First Law of Robotics. Fans of dark, droning, and dire first-person interrogate-em-ups look no further!
Play Kickstarter Simulator 2015
This feature is kind of in danger of becoming the Frog Fractions Newsletter, so I promise this is the last Frog-Fractions-related content for a while. It just would have been both criminally and morally negligent to not submit for your attention this FMV shoot-em-up about making a good Kickstarter campaign.
Crowdfund Jet Getters
Remember those jaw-dropping Battlefield videos in which players jumped out of their planes, blew up an enemy's plane, then landed safely back in his or her own? That most impractical of tactical engagements is at the core of JetGetters. Though I do hope this awesome concept turns out more fun than No Time To Explain's giant death ray, which got kind of tiresome.
That's the extent of this week's selection - I hope you read it extra slow, because Off Radar's going on a two-week hiatus! But I'll be back sharing more nuggets of wisdom from across the internet soon enough. Until then, be sure to drop your own nuggets in the comments below. But not that kind of nugget. You're gross.