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About Jick

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  1. Jet fuel can't melt plastic guitars.
  2. We moved into a house when I was 5 years old, and in the closet of my bedroom there was a stack of Highlights magazines, probably five years worth from the 70s. They once published this joke, which I later learned was lifted from Gilligan's Island. A man goes to the doctor and says "Doctor, doctor - i've bitten off my own ear!" The doctor asks - bemused "how did you do that?" The man says: "I stood on a chair!" So that was pretty good I guess.
  3. In retrospect after finishing it, the writing in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter makes more sense Which, y'know, maybe it's a cop-out, but I figure it's at least worth considering.
  4. Isn't "a button" technically skeuomorphic?
  5. Lovecraft digression: I can wholeheartedly recommend the H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, available at the excellent URL http://hppodcraft.com/ -- its value from my point of view is that they read all of his stuff so that you don't have to. The beginning is the place to start, they just go through everything he wrote in the order that he wrote it. A lot of his stories are kinda boring, a lot of the good ones still have moments of ponderous pacing, and you never know when you're going to run across his horrible attitudes.
  6. The bones. I didn't just eat 'em.
  7. KoL's Adventure system is an energy system from before all that stuff was corrupted. Multiplayer BBS games from the 80s gave limited turns per day, because they had limited phone line capacity and they didn't want one guy making it so nobody else could play. KoL is a descendant of that, but instead of being constrained by phone lines we were always constrained by server capacity. Our servers are much more responsive now than they were years ago. And as slow as they were back in the day, they would have been even slower if we didn't have any limits on how much time people could spend playing. The energy systems you dislike aren't about resource allocation, they're about monetization. And ours just isn't. We have a staunch, absolutely hardline policy of not selling Adventures, specifically to avoid that kind of grossness. But the game would make no sense as a game without those limits. It would just be multiplayer Candy Box. An MMO without any scarcity of resources and without any competition would be pointless. Sorry to jump on the defensive, it just depresses me when shitty gross things that happened years after KoL make people assume that KoL is shitty and gross in the same way.
  8. I think I agree with Chris for the most part. KoL is a weird thing, because the way we develop content requires us to write, like, a hundred dumb one-liner jokes a day. They're going to be all over the place, both because we have to make so many of them so fast and because there are three of us who write them, and we all have slightly different sensibilities. And since it's really more of an ongoing service than a fixed product, we very rarely go back to some old thing and say "We should make this line funnier," or "was this joke worth making in the first place?" or whatever. Part of the reason people like it is because it's so off-the-cuff, but I'm not so far up my own ass that I don't recognize that we're sacrificing quality for quantity. It's just the nature of what we do. Maybe the kind of joke that works in conversation but not as well in text works in KoL because KoL is more like a conversation than it is like a text. That said, I personally strive to make sure that when I make a reference to some cultural thing that I do so in support of the joke, not AS the joke. I try to be cognizant of how something will read if you don't understand the referent, and I try to avoid writing stuff that is just doomed to be complete nonsense in ten years.
  9. Man. Fallen London makes me sad, because I really like the writing and the style and the actual play mechanics, but I find the energy system so unconscionably gross that I can't stomach playing it. I like those people a lot and I wish they would make a version of that game that didn't make me think of Farmville.
  10. The Rolly Crump book about Disneyland is this: http://www.amazon.com/Kind-Cute-Story-Rolly-Crump/dp/098547064X I haven't actually read it, I've only listened to some recordings of outtakes from the interviews they did to write the book. The guy is super charming.
  11. That was less a point about the criticisms than an examination of why the things that bothered them didn't bother me. The overall meaningfulness of the game wasn't spoiled for me by gun vending machines and bear wallets because it was never there in the first place -- this isn't the kind of game I go to if I want to find a meaningful emotional experience. Maybe I'm just setting my sights too low, but I really only expect that from games made by one person, or at least games with a very dominant auteur. I'm kind of afraid to play it any more, because now that I have it in my head that the UI popups are annoying, I probably won't be able to unsee them. Such a weird thing. Maybe it's like a frequency of sound that only certain people can hear. Anyway, I think it's especially important to look closely at really divisive works, because the specific attributes that make one person hate a thing and another person love it can point us toward... I dunno... pressure points, I guess. Specific things about how relationships to a work can vary across individuals. Games aren't piles of systems, and meals aren't piles of ingredients, but sometimes you can invent an awesome new kind of meal by throwing together some seemingly-random ingredients and seeing what happens. I think maybe that's what happened with Far Cry 2. 3 took fewer risks on the accessibility, and I think it paid for it in terms of critical reaction. I'd be interested to hear you elaborate on this. Was Guerilla was especially honest, or Far Cry 3 especially dishonest?
  12. I think part of the reason it doesn't bother me is that the crafting system is so rudimentary that it basically isn't a system. Maybe it's just a framing issue, but I didn't ever think "My goal is to make a wallet, I should go kill some bears." Instead, I thought "Oh, I got attacked by a bear and I killed it, and the game rewarded me with the ability to make a bigger wallet. Okay." I also don't remember ever feeling like the interface was constantly sending annoying popups and whooshing sounds at me, but I guess it's possible I just tuned it out. That probably would have made a big difference. I'm sorry I came across that way. I absolutely don't think you should love it, and I don't think any of the individual criticisms leveled against it were off base. I just really walked away from the episode feeling like you guys felt like you were under an obligation to feel strongly about Far Cry 3 because of the cast's history with Far Cry 2, and that it turned into you just savaging the game in ways that you wouldn't have bothered to savage a similar game. I don't remember ever hearing you guys just rail against something for 20 solid minutes before, and it was just a little jarring. I think this is probably the core of it, because I honestly think it's a pretty apt comparison. I didn't play either Skyrim or Far Cry 3 to have any kind of meaningful games-as-literature experience. I played them both to explore cool-looking environments, find hidden shit, power up and unlock new verbs, overcome obstacles, shoot dudes with either guns or fireballs. I expect so little in the way of story and characterization from AAA games that I guess I do kinda treat them as collections of isolated systems, and I'm fine with that as long as I'm having fun with the systems. Do all of the systems in Red Faction: Guerilla work towards some meaningful whole? That game has a lot of narrative nonsense in it, but it's a case where an open world game with a whole bunch of what I viewed as arbitrary and disconnected systems resulted in an experience that I very much enjoyed, and that felt similar to Far Cry 3 to me. It's less open-world than... big map with a series of big obvious checkboxes on it, each of which is some fun minigame about blowing stuff up or flipping a truck. I can't recall off hand if you guys ever talked about that game.
  13. The gun vending machines felt like a developer compromise to me. Like, they set up this open world game on a big island, and it doesn't really make sense that the island would have multiple gun stores, but then in playtesting, people just hated having to go back to the stupid village to buy ammo every fifteen minutes, and the higher ups didn't want to make a game that frustrated people, so there were a hundred arguments in conference rooms that ended in somebody saying "Fine, fuck it, how about a goddamned stupid Coke machine that sells guns in every fucking building on the fucking island. Would that make you happy?" This was a hard episode to listen to. Like... video games can be vapid and dumb, we get it. But pointing to every single thing about Far Cry 3 that reminds you that it's a video game, and saying "This is vapid and dumb, because video game..." I dunno. It really is Skyrim with guns. The systems in Skyrim are only not ridiculous because we don't live in a medieval fantasy world where we recognize all the stupid bullshit that doesn't make any sense. "Why do I need a GRAND soul gem to make this sword catch fire. Why isn't a NORMAL soul gem sufficient." Because it has to be a game in order to be a game. If you could make the best wallet out of chipmunk leather, there wouldn't be any reason to kill bears. And killing bears is fun. So the systems send you to some bears to kill. I generally have no interest at all in video games set in the real world, where you kill guys by shooting them in the head with real models of gun that you can buy at a real gun store. And I kinda like Far Cry 3, explicitly because of all the stupid video game garbage.
  14. As an already established indie developer with a new game coming out soon, I'm very, very happy about Greenlight, mainly because now I know exactly what to do to try to get our next game on Steam. I'm sure we could've figured out who to e-mail or whatever, but with Greenlight, there's now a totally clear path forward. Greenlight, from where I'm standing, replaces an opaque Old Boys network with something I can actually participate in. That said, it's easy for me to say it's great, because we've got a built-in audience to whore votes from. And as a privileged white male, I think the world is hunky dory just the way it is! Seriously, though, is the contention that the existence of Greenlight displaces some other, better method for indie games to reach an audience? My impression is that the traditional Steam channels still exist, and that Greenlight can't possibly be eliminating all of the non-Steam-related paths to success available to indie developers.
  15. This is, in my opinion, the primary reason Ms. Pac Man is the superior game. Slowing down while eating is an interesting tradeoff in theory, but I think in practice it detracts from the fun in a subtle way.