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Nels Anderson
Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Michael, that's fantastic! I'm up to my chest preparing for MIGS (and, you know, making a game), so I'm right there with you. I can't make Indiecade this year (see: MIGS, making game) and now my jealousy is magnified even further. I'm sure it will be excellent! (and maybe a video will be posted later)
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2011 on A few things... at Brainy Gamer
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There's an itch I get in my brain when I know there are things that could be marked off. Unread Tweets call like sirens and being "on top" of them feels perversely satisfying. I don't know exactly how to explain it. "Tidying up" is maybe not the right way to describe feeling, but I don't know what's better. Getting Google Reader to 0 silences that niggling "you have something undone" twitch in my head. It's actually a gaming urge I have to suppress too. I'm usually able to ignore/forget it pretty easily, but every once in a while some brain switch is flipped (usually in an open world game) and I find myself looking to check off every single box possible. That feeling of completion or thoroughness is kind of entrancing. That being said, my wife and I adopted a dog last weekend and we already spend less time "tidying" and I don't really feel diminished. I have no negative feelings about mobile devices/social media/et al., but one just has remember they exist to serve, you know?
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2011 on The new intimacy at Brainy Gamer
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4 million?! Good lord Professor, that's well deserved indeed! (And enjoy NYC, eh?)
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2011 on Break time at Brainy Gamer
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I find it hilarious and awesome that in those photos Brian looks like an exuberant Tom (or does Tom looks like a pensive Brian?). Haven't gotten to Leigh's segment yet, but a the LA Noire section was fantastic. Thanks for sharing your smart thoughts smart people, and thanks for wrangling them Michael =)
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2011 on Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 34 at Brainy Gamer
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Ha, I'd never heard that podcast story before. That's awesome! Oh man, if I had a portal gun that could connect the Great White North and Indiana, I'd be there in a second. Hope the Wabash folks know just what they're getting ;) (Oh, and I hope that storm isn't too brutal on you guys. Sure sounded kind of insane.)
Toggle Commented Apr 20, 2011 on The robot cometh at Brainy Gamer
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I was going to link that same piece, but I'm glad someone smart beat me to it. It is a really interesting read though, even if one hasn't played any of the Yakuza games.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2011 on Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 33 at Brainy Gamer
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It's the easiest thing in the world to spit cynical vitriol about games (or anything, really). That it's somewhat vogue really does makes me sad. Surely, I find myself doing so occasionally, but I really try to refrain. I initially passed on Metro 2033 just because it looked same-y. There's a lot of games I passed on in 2010 for the same reason, but I think I made the right call with most of them. As you noted, so many games, so little time. It is a bit enlivening that a truly good game like Metro 2033 will float to the surface eventually. And yup, Tom et al. (plus an opportune Steam sale) put another handful of hryvnia in 4A's coffers. Add another notch to the belt, y'all.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2011 on Late to a party nobody threw at Brainy Gamer
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That's adorable and hilarious! Feedback is an essential component of any system and as you discovered, sometimes the best feedback is no feedback at all.
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2011 on The bedtime game at Brainy Gamer
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Wow, the soundtrack here is amazing! I totally would not have expected this. With some many western game composers just looking to ape John Williams or Hans Zimmer, it's great hear pieces that feel so organic and appropriate. You had me on the hook for KEY already Michael (I know there's a knitting pun in there somewhere) but now I'm doubly interested.
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2010 on Kirby's Epic Sound at Brainy Gamer
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Seems like it's kind of a gross feedback loop. Consumers are getting less interested in these magazines (I know I don't have any subs anymore), which forces them to cater more to the people that are still buying them. This in turn makes them even less appealing to anyone outside that demographic, and so it goes. Whether this is representative of the broader public perception of games or just these magazines grasping at straws, I don't know. But those magazines are becoming increasingly less relevant, which honestly, I'm not really bothered by. Information about games is less centralized and having a bunch of small, positive sources of information is certainly preferable to few large, negative ones. And don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of great times shooting dudes in the face. But that's only part of the scene (and arguably the least interesting part). If less centralization is the way to shine more light on the really interesting stuff, I'm totally happy with that.
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2010 on Covered in brawn, mayhem, and steel at Brainy Gamer
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Fantastic! This is very exciting Michael. Games could not have a better emissary (in both Portal and you). Looking forward to hearing how it goes =)
Toggle Commented Aug 21, 2010 on Portal on the booklist at Brainy Gamer
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Michael, I will never understand your affection for these things. But I will also never tire of reading what you write about them =)
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2010 on Al Simmons: Superhero at Brainy Gamer
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As always Michael, you are too kind. I did see a related post from Brendan Keogh recently with a similar bent that I really liked: Imagined Interactions
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2010 on Raggedy play at Brainy Gamer
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I agree with everything you said except this: Nintendo should be ashamed for approving it as a WiiWare title. I don't think it's Nintendo's place to decide what is and isn't "acceptable" content. There's a raft of issues that emerge from Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony being able to say yea or nay to what games appear on their services. The approval process should be restricted to whether or not a game works, not the possible offensiveness of its content. Is this game awful? Absolutely. But it's not Nintendo's place to decide that. This horrid game existing allows us to have this conversation and ask the interesting question, "What really is the difference between this and Modern Warfare-esque war porn? Is it just production values and marketing budget?" That's far better than Nintendo saying nobody should ever be allowed to play this game.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2010 on Arab shooting gallery at Brainy Gamer
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Ten thousand? Now that's a feat! If you want more respite than just July 5th, I'm sure we'd let it slide ;) The site and its conversations really are a source of near-constant inspiration and insight. Thanks for keeping the Awesome Boiler stoked.
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2010 on Hiatus...and a milestone at Brainy Gamer
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As many above have said, fantastic interview Michael. Especially the comments about game creators being far more open to conversation and discussing what went wrong. I wonder if that's a positive side effect of so much games writing being focused on reviews and evaluation. Now if we could just pull things even further away from arguing about what follows the decimal point on a game's "score" ... And adding a "me too" to Steve comment, I find the critical conversation about games to be invaluable. While it's intimidating too, I'm quite looking forward to what people have to say when DeathSpank is finally out of the gate (soon!).
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2010 on Brainy Gamer Podcast - Episode 29 at Brainy Gamer
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Wow, stacked up, Schiesel's ebullience seems to be exceeded only by those amazing GameStop preview comment roundups Mitch used to do. I understand what he's trying to do, I suppose, but yeah, it definitely seems like his reviews dip into desperation territory more often than not.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2010 on Hyperbole of record at Brainy Gamer
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Huh, interesting. I hadn't thought about that but that's a likely side-effect yeah. To me, having played so many tabletop RPGs, the interactions in a mediated world is the gameness that leaps at me. But your observation likely true for a lot of folks. As someone below mentioned, it's clear that the 8-bit pixel art aesthetic is meant to facilitate easier (or at least faster) content creation, both for Rohrer with all the presets and players expanding on those assets. It's not like SiD could ship with a Spore-esque model builder or something ;) In and of itself, that's fine, but at a higher level, the Controller interface is really not friendly at all. It's also divorced from the gameplay, so there isn't really any easy way to move from Player to Controller aside from just jumping in, sink-or-swim. It's not a failing of SiD per se, Rohrer is only one guy after all and not an interaction designer, but wow, that's a steep learning curve. Unlike a tabletop RPG where imagination and description are sufficient for a new GM, and the mechanical stuff can be more or less offloaded onto the players, SiD seems to require quite a lot from the Controller. I'm still thinking of ways learning the Controller interface could be more ludic and could grow from time spend as the Player, but it's definitely a hard problem. I'm not sure how it could be done, but I wish SiD was more accessible to those who want to try the Controller side of things.
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... makes the case very well that SiD really isn't a game at all, it's a very powerful visual chatroom that encourages improvisational roleplay. Some might say those things are not actually different. In improv theatre, most scenes are built by playing "games." Performers are called players more often than actors. I very recently read Truth in Comedy (completely coincidental to Michael's post) and was struck by the similarities between improv and digital games. That being said, SiD does not appear to be friendly for the unfamiliar, especially for the Controller. I think more people that one might expect would be interested in the experience (especially the Player side). But without a lower bar for entry, some folks will definitely walk away after being faced with the current sink-or-swim presentation.
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Heh, I knew you'd be on top of it, Professor. I'm very curious to hear your thoughts in this regard. Obviously, you're far more practiced and experienced in this domain than I. Was only able to make the barest of scrabblings at something that seems pretty darn big. Looking forward to seeing what light you shed =) There's certainly a lot of overlap I wouldn't have expected though. There's definitely something here that bears further investigation.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2010 on Avatar improv at Brainy Gamer
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Oh interesting. I hadn't heard about that, I'll have to see if I can scrounge up a copy.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2010 on Avatar improv at Brainy Gamer
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Heh, coincidentally, I finished a fantastic book about improv called Truth in Comedy. I imagine as a theatre guy you've read it, but if not, I highly recommend it. Not only all there all kinds of interest parallels with games, but it's just a great, quick book in general. A post about it should be up tomorrow as well, in case fiat along doesn't sell you ;)
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2010 on Avatar improv at Brainy Gamer
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Yes, yes, one thousand times yes. The closer we try to get to simulating real reality the wider the gulfs become. The combinatorial explosion of content reality necessitates makes resolving this unforeseeable any time soon, if ever. Maybe some folks are okay chasing that, but man, that's not a problem I ever want to try and solve. You're all but guaranteed to always come up short.
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2010 on Heavy Rain at Brainy Gamer
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Noooo! I miss the Circus of Values clown every time my ill-gotten gains are exchanged for first aid and ammo. I had a similar revelation recently looking at what I'd been playing. A fantastic series of sequels (also including Left 4 Dead 2 and Lost Winds: Winter of the Melodias) have marked the last half-year or so, and honestly, I'm pretty elated by it.
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2010 on Sequel 101 at Brainy Gamer
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What's doubly maddening about the "developers ought to make socially responsible games" stance is that doing so in the prescriptive method you describe might actually be worse than explicitly trying not to create socially responsible games. There a number of theories about the psychological development of moral reasoning that posit moral development hinges on being exposed to and discussing complicated, nuanced moral decisions (e.g. Kohlberg's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development). The key is discussion and games likely won't ever substitute for other people. But, if we're conscientious and passionate, we might be give folks something interesting to think about and discuss. Giving the impression morality is simple or binary or that "good" decisions involve a certain set of rewards and "bad" decisions involve a different set certainly isn't going to improve anyone's moral reasoning. Building games with a specific set of socially responsible checkboxes isn't going to. A ham-fisted morality play (no pun intended) isn't going to. At best, it's squandering an amazing opportunity.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2010 on Didacticism in Game Design at Click Nothing