RPS Time Capsule: the games worth saving from 2006 | Rock Paper Shotgun:

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Developer:Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
From: Steam, GOG, Humble, Game Pass

Ed: I am convinced Oblivion’s fantasy setting of Cyrodiil is the closest you can get to a waking lucid dream. Break out of jail and you’re in this lush landscape, with golden hues and soft textures and warm strings that accompany your wanderings. I like how it frames its world through its mundane, little details, too. Dirt paths may simply lead to quaint huts in the middle of the woods or moss-covered ruins pocked with red mushrooms. There’s a sense that you’re exploring somewhere that makes sense for its inhabitants, rather than a showroom for achievement hunters.

Skyrim is in many ways more fun to jump in and play, its certainly more stable, but of the 5 mainline Elder Scrolls entries I think Oblivion was the one that most found the perfect balance of narrative, customization, and control… At the expense of being a bit buggy and wierd.

Year in Review: 20 Best Tabletop Roleplaying Games from 2022:

It’s been an incredible year for tabletop roleplaying games, from both large publishers and indie outfits. Crowdfunding has firmly established itself in the ecosystem, and both small indie games and massive core rulebooks are making the most of the model.

I didn’t have space for all the incredible games that came out this year, but here, for your entertainment, in no particular order, are some of my favorite games of 2022.

-via Boing Boing

Indie game stars exposed as workplace nightmares | Boing Boing:

Two incredible moments among many:

• When Ken Wong’s colleagues put everything on the line in an all-hands meeting with Annapurna Interactive to try and get him dealt with, Annapurna allegedly contacted Wong to suggest he start a new studio in another city with graduates fresh out of college. (Wong denies this)

• Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi allegedly built a barricade out of office furniture to prevent Robin Hunicke from bothering him and his team.

Tencent is the world’s biggest video game company – Polygon:

When it comes to the games part of that, Tencent’s dominance is prodigious yet stealthy. By revenue, it’s the world’s largest video game publisher, with approximately $6.7 billion in game revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020. Online games make up a major portion of its profits at 32%, and many of those products target mobile players in the domestic Chinese market. These include Peacekeeper Elite, which is the Chinese version of PUBG Mobile, and the wildly popular Honor of Kings, which is the dominant MOBA game in China. Then there is Riot Games’ League of Legends, a game that is now Tencent’s flagship PC game in China, and whose studio was also completely bought out by Tencent, with the firm finalizing its purchase of Riot Games in 2015. The company’s streak of game industry investments has continued at a rapid pace; research firm Niko Partners estimated that, on average, for most of the first half of 2021, Tencent closed one games deal every 2.5 days.

Five Stories That Helped Me Understand My Anxiety | Tor.com:

Assembling a list of stories that openly discuss mental health inevitably proves difficult because of the wide-ranging spectrum of conditions and types of neurodiversity—any such list is bound to be subjective, to some degree. Everyone’s experience differs, and it’s important to understand how one individual’s truth can be valid even when it doesn’t align perfectly with yours.

In other words, everyone’s mental health journey is their own. Nobody walks the same path. Two people with anxiety can manifest it in completely different ways. Stories, however, can act as a unifying force among those of us with anxiety, depression, and the many types of neurodivergence. Across a number of narrative formats, creators are tackling the challenges presented by mental health and teaching us to better understand ourselves. These stories tell us we’re not alone.

FAQ — Alan Wake

October 4, 2021

FAQ — Alan Wake:

Who is publishing Alan Wake Remastered? 

Epic Games Publishing is publishing the game.

Well thats a shame. After loving Control I would’ve taken a look at this if it were on Steam.


Boycotts Don’t Work, Do This Instead:

I disagree with the premise – Ask Papa Johns if a boycott can change company behavior… But the graphic does give good ideas on how to extend a boycott with wider behaviors… In particular, Atomic Mass (and by proxy Asmodee slash Fantasy Flight Games) mini games like Star Wars Legion or Marvel Crisis Protocol are really well worth the time.

The Rules of Dozens of Sports Explained in Short Videos:

On his YouTube channel, Ninh Ly has created almost 100 short videos that clearly and simply explain the rules of all kinds of different sports. Basketball? Explained. Cricket? Explained. (I feel like I finally understand cricket!) Snooker? Explained. Jai Alai? Explained. Curling? Explained. Quidditch?! Explained! The rules of some sports are more complex than others and the explanations move along at a pretty good clip, so decreasing the playback speed (click on the gear at the bottom of the video player) is advised.

I love some of the games Blizzard has produced. Overwatch’s PVP focus isn’t for me, but the gameplay would be fun with a PVE focus… The Diablo family is the perfect representation of the genre it birthed, where no other entry really matches the chemistry of the originals… Starcraft and Warcraft are some of the most fun RTS gameplay in their genre… And WoW’s siren call is amplified by the fact that it’s one of the first big games to make an M1 native version a priority.

All that being said, no matter how much I love the games, I can’t give a cent to the company that also breeds these stories:

Activision Blizzard sued by California over constant abuse of women employees | Boing Boing:

At one point Activision Blizzard is described as a “frat house”, but that doesn’t begin to capture the scale and gravity of the allegations. Women punished for becoming pregnant. Women kicked out of lactation rooms. Women punished for leaving the office. African American women denied full employment and subjected to unique requirements. A woman committed suicide on a business trip with a male colleague who brought along lube and butt plugs.

In the office, women are subjected to “cube crawls” in which male employees drink copious [amounts] of alcohol as they “crawl” their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees. Male employees proudly come into work hungover, play video games for long periods of time during work while delegating their responsibilities to female employees, engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies and joke about rape.

Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, including having to continually fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors and being groped at the “cube crawls” and other company events. High-ranking executives and creators engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions.

In a particularly tragic example, a female employee committed suicide during a business trip with a male supervisor who had brought butt plugs and lubricant with him on the trip.

Its response to this lawsuit is libertarian dogma about “irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.”

Activision Blizzard says interviewing diverse candidates for every opening “unworkable”

Activision Blizzard attorney told the SEC in January, “While the Company has implemented a Rooney Rule policy as envisioned [for director and CEO nominees], implementing a policy that would extend such an approach to all hiring decisions amounts to an unworkable encroachment on the Company’s ability to run its business and compete for talent in a highly competitive, fast-moving market.”

Activision Blizzard’s attorney further said the proposal was micromanaging in nature, and “leaves no room for the Company’s management or Board of Directors to exercise discretion in how new hire decisions are structured.”

Costs and poor leadership were why Blizzard’s Warcraft 3 reboot bombed

With Activision focussing on larger titles, such as Overwatch 2, and laying off 800 of its workforce in 2019, Classic Games would never receive the full support required to recapture Warcraft 3. Nevertheless, they plowed on, and even started taking pre-orders for the game. That left the team committed to releasing the title. A Blizzard spokesman told Bloomberg: “In hindsight, we should have taken more time to get it right, even if it meant returning pre-orders.”

Despite getting help from other Blizzard departments during the final development push, it was too late. The game was so poorly received that demands for refunds were upheld. Even now, 18 months on, the game is missing much of the promised content that it was sold on.