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Zombie Master  |  Other  |  Games  |  Topic: The Brindle Blog Thread « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Brindle Blog Thread  (Read 4397 times)
sulkdodds
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I AM THE SON OF DOG


« on: October 17, 2011, 07:44:52 pm »

Ey up. Long time no see.

Awfully sorry for deserting you, although there are a few of you who I've kept in touch with (or rather, since I am lazy by nature, who have kept in touch with me). The last year's been fairly hectic. In the meantime, however, I've been writing a blog. A blog about videogames.

Why in the name of cock nipples should you care? Well, a bunch of you will already be familiar with the fictional Brindle family. Me and a few Brothers thought it would be fun to write a blog from that perspective, and at the same time to make it a legitimate games criticism blog. It's not about news or reviews: rather, the point is to analyse games as texts, which means crediting them with the capacity for expression, assuming by default that they mean something. Which they do, whether their developers like it or not.

Since the whole Brindle thing started here, and since it happened on occasion that someone enjoyed my diatribes, I'll be updating things in this thread.

Content List

2011
2012
Comments welcome. And if anyone wants to comment on the blog in the guise of their old Brindle-characters, they're very welcome.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 10:29:18 pm by sulkdodds »

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
sulkdodds
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 11:23:24 pm »

A new post: 'Groping and Touching'. It's about how smartphone UIs seem to take a lot of cues from videogame-style design.

Quote
What intrigues me, despite my trepidation, is the leaf the Android developers have taken from the book of videogames (Biblical apocrypha removed in favour of Deuteronomy over fears it would have a bad influence on teenagers).
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 07:12:04 am by sulkdodds »

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
TheCze
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 01:11:15 am »

Hey already read some of your articles on the blog. Really well written and interesting to read.

Only then did the elves begin to suspect that the dwarves were not bringing any Amontillado.
Flaming Monkey
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 03:11:12 am »

If I had more time I'd read though them.  But from a glance, seems a fun read.

And I Marauder. Me scared big bright in sky, it make hot.
sulkdodds
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 09:37:41 pm »

Thanks lads. I would make the articles shorter, but then I don't know what I'd do with all the space. More MS Paint pictures, perhaps?

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
sulkdodds
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 07:57:34 pm »

After a wee break, here comes The Assassination of Rockstar by the Coward John Brindle, or, Three Design Failures in Red Dead Redemption. It's a response to an article by Lee Kelly a couple weeks ago (WARNING: ENDING SPOILERS), where I John Brindle expands and deepens that other dude's critique of RDR to (attempt to) show how game mechanics inherited from GTA are inadequately adapted to the wild west setting that their art assets, writing and voice acting try so hard to create.

Quote
Honour has to do with social perception, and measures your standing in the eyes of others (it does not rise or fall as long as you hide your identity). So in whose eyes is this honour calculated? Those who believe that the Bible equals civilisation and that the indigenous peoples are ‘savages’? Those who believe that civilisation is a crock of shit? Or the perceptive innocents like Bonnie MacFarlane?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 08:12:18 pm by sulkdodds »

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
McViolent
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2011, 08:47:57 am »

Bookmarked instantly.
sulkdodds
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, 09:45:54 am »

Thank you! This week a review of John F. Antal's Infantry Combat, a choose-your-own-adventure book billed as an educational tool for soldiers and for citizens interested in military matters. After writing the book, Antal went on to become an advisor to the Brothers in Arms stories. InfCom turns out to be an interesting failure:

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InfCom could be renamed The Many Deaths of Davis for all it bombards you with hot phosphorous. You are walking through the valley of the shadow of death; death is all around you, and you’ll step in it if you don’t wear wellies. Some decisions cause instant destruction while most lead only eventually to inevitable defeat, but there is little scope to recover from mistakes. The majority of paths are actually traps from which there is no escape – though this may well reflect the reality of warfare. Certainly you will come to fear Section 58. Spoiler: it’s the one where you get vapourised in three sentences.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 10:37:16 am by sulkdodds »

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
Flaming Monkey
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2011, 10:02:15 am »

Link's broken.  Get rid of those quotation marks in the URL and the extra http.

And I Marauder. Me scared big bright in sky, it make hot.
sulkdodds
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2011, 10:38:22 am »

Fixed! Not sure how that happened.

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
Shadow_Archmagi
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 09:09:31 pm »

I think you're rapidly settling into an excellent style, Sulkdodds.

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/brindlemovienight Movies! Xcoms!
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"You died a noble death. Also, if that baby that was always near you was yours, it died a noble death too."
sulkdodds
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I AM THE SON OF DOG


« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2011, 09:32:55 pm »

Behold, for this week I have for your delectation or possible indifference conceived and birthed in the sight of almighty God an article about basically how the evolution of the FPS has left behind a lot of interesting possibilities for what developers could do with a first person perspective. Basically how 'shooting' is just one thing first person is good for which has somehow become the defining element of all first person gaming.

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We can glimpse an alternative future in Brothers in Arms, a first person shooter with the intriguing design innovation that you can’t easily shoot the broad side of a barn door. By drastically widening the firing cone of the player’s weapon and giving ‘cover’ objects almost magical properties of protection the game bypasses the Call of Duty effect (where emotive strings and solemn quotations about conflict accompany the lesson that wars are won by individual heroes who land satisfying headshots on a hundred enemy soldiers each).

« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 10:55:55 pm by sulkdodds »

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2011, 10:25:22 pm »

"one" should be "won" in that little blurb there.

Really interesting topic though, and it's true. I think Skyrim is a really good recent example that shows off that first-person can be used for more than shooting.

my game keeps crashing as it loads, (i have all the expansion packs including the apartment life) and i am hearing that it might possibly be a custom content problem? how do i remove custom content?
sulkdodds
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I AM THE SON OF DOG


« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2011, 08:35:09 am »

Aye, I thought of mentioning Skyrim. But the question is: did Skyrim need to be first person? Does the first person perspective bring something to it that it wouldn't have had if it was third person? Isolation, immediacy, identification, limited perspective, ease of targeting? I have not played it and wasn't sure, and so thereof I remained silent.

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
Shadow_Archmagi
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Zeppking


« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2011, 08:22:50 pm »

Aye, I thought of mentioning Skyrim. But the question is: did Skyrim need to be first person? Does the first person perspective bring something to it that it wouldn't have had if it was third person? Isolation, immediacy, identification, limited perspective, ease of targeting? I have not played it and wasn't sure, and so thereof I remained silent.

You can actually switch freely between first and third, if that affects your questions at all

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/brindlemovienight Movies! Xcoms!
Quote from: Dwarf Fortress
"You died a noble death. Also, if that baby that was always near you was yours, it died a noble death too."
sulkdodds
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I AM THE SON OF DOG


« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2011, 09:14:27 am »

This week: Automatic Gardens, or an examination of the strange pointlessness and exploitative treadmill-like gameplay of Plants vs Zombies Zen Garden minigame. It also examines the dynamics of automation in the game and how PvZ players seek to reward themselves with not having to do anything.

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Here, ordinary game design has been inverted; instead of fixing a bad interface for the player’s benefit, the developers make you work and pay for a better one. They know that one day on your journey to big bucks you’ll log into the game, notice the teardrop icon hovering on the main menu, log into the Garden and stare at the wall of plants all screaming to be watered click by arduous click. On that day you will either quit forever or you will say to yourself: fuck this, I’m buying a ten thousand dollar watering can.

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
TheCze
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2011, 04:13:46 pm »

nice article!

Only then did the elves begin to suspect that the dwarves were not bringing any Amontillado.
sulkdodds
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I AM THE SON OF DOG


« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2012, 07:28:29 pm »

After a break for Christmas and the shitstorm of work that preceded it, and before we get too far into 2012, here's a slightly late but undeniably seasonal post that goes into some Brindle family history. It is the story of two very bad people who came up with a plan to turn Christmas into an evil game - and of how Christmas would be very different if it had different rules. It is not quite what I usually post, but if it's not to your liking, normal service will resume shortly.

http://brindlebrothers.blogspot.com/2011/12/very-brindle-christmas.html

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The rules were simple: three teams would compete in three separate areas of Christmas preparations, with one handling the tree and decorations, one cooking the dinner, and one mixing the drinks (a task very much the equal of the others in the Brindle household). Each would follow a list of objectives laid out by Tom and carefully balanced by Ma, specifying in what fashion they were to complete their duties.

The twist was that only the winning teams would get the presents. To ensure our motivation, a ten-dollar minimum was introduced for all parties, and sharing, returning or re-giving gifts after winning was forbidden; we were to submit our receipts for ceremonial burning on the 18th. The final and implicit rule was: like hell were either Ma or Tom going to lift a damn finger this year for a bunch of sentimental little twerps.

...

It took several of those blows before the head came clean off as a bloodied projectile. I wiped my forehead with the back of my palm, only really serving to smear the blood smattered on my face. The body spasmed a bit in the cold clear light and the sight sent sympathetic shivers straight down our spines. I guess that's when I started to think it wasn't going to be a very good Christmas that year.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 07:31:43 pm by sulkdodds »

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
sulkdodds
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I AM THE SON OF DOG


« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2012, 01:30:00 pm »

So lately I've been playing Amnesia, and though I haven't quite completed it yet, it struck me it was exactly the kind of game I was advocating for in First Person Problems. So this is a post about the clever things that Amnesia does with the first person perspective: how its insanity system creates an 'unreliable narrator', and how its monsters make looking itself a very dangerous act.

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As in all good horror, the player is forced by her desire for safety to voluntarily risk her own life. In this way the ‘insanity’ referred to in the plot also becomes a fundamental part of your player character, your being-in-the-gameworld (what David Lake calls your imaginary job description). Instead of being able to take your abilities for granted, as in most FPS games, you are effectively disabled, forced by a protagonist short on spoons to consider every situation in light of his mental health. Madness is your constant companion – a metaphorical counterpart to the “shadow” that follows Daniel from Africa.

Caution is advised: while I am careful not to spoil the story of the game, I do talk a lot about the mechanics. Reading this article before playing Amnesia for the first time might therefore make the whole thing less scary to you by rendering it less 'unknown'.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 01:41:35 pm by sulkdodds »

if I were not Sulkdodds, I should wish to be Diogenes
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Zeppking


« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2012, 03:49:04 pm »

Interesting! I got a powerful sense of deja vu while reading over the bit about the artifact that you can't look away from, though. I'm trying to remember whether this is something you've commented on before, or if this is just something that every philosopher is inexorably drawn to.

Also, there's the sentence "The negative space beyond border of the screen becomes a thing to be wielded as protection, and a glance a freighted act." Is this a typo, or can you use freight like that? I guess you could say that a glance is a loaded act, so the synonym works too, and it doesn't seem incongruous with the rest of your prose. I'm just learning more about weird writing mechanics, I guess.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 03:50:29 pm by Shadow_Archmagi »

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/brindlemovienight Movies! Xcoms!
Quote from: Dwarf Fortress
"You died a noble death. Also, if that baby that was always near you was yours, it died a noble death too."
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