Monday, August 11, 2008

Nine members

Well it's a start.

So far the activity in The Play Room has admittedly mostly been mine (come on members, get with the sharing) but some of those items have been quite interesting even if I do say so myself.

Two articles, for example.

  • One is about piracy and Cliff Harris's call for pirates to speak to him directly about why they pirate (A mildly confrontational, but I suspect fruitless, challenge).
  • The other is from Gamasutra and is about the hurdles that Johnathan Blow encountered with the Microsoft certification process for XBLA.
Both links are sitting in the room now. Come, join, comment, share. 

Particleblog's comments have moved to The Play Room.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Play Room: Friendfear?

Something I hadn't expected.

I've asked a few friends, not many - people in games - to sign up to the room. A few have. But some of the reactions that I've had from those who haven't has been something that I hadn't expected: Fear of publicity.

Specifically, that they didn't want discussions, even light-hearted discussions, on the subjects of games in case somebody somewhere (from their jobs mostly) might Google them and find them.

It says a lot about what it is to work in games when even a link-sharing group strikes terror into the heart.

Particleblog's comments have moved to The Play Room.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Play Room: 24 Hours later

Well things have gotten off to a good start: There are 7 of us in the room now.

I've had an interesting day talking to a few friends about it in fact, giving them a link etc. All but one of them didn't know what Friendfeed was at all, and there was a lot of suspicion. One friend kept badgering me and asking what was in it for THEM. It was hard to explain that it was one of those "what you put in, you get out" deals.

For those that don't know: This is a wiki page about what Friendfeed is.
It's not a spammy service, it's just a simple gathering tool, not a million miles away from a webforum or Facebook group, but it's really easy to pass interesting links that you've found on the web and start discussions etc.

Come, join in.

Particleblog's comments have moved to The Play Room.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Play Room

I don't know about you, but recently I have become very very bored with the whole blogging scene. Games blogging such as it is had this really high wave of activity about 3-4 years ago when people like Greg Costikyan and Scott Miller and Daniel Cook were at the height of their powers. It was all big, serious-minded people writing big serious essays on every subject from how to manage a brand to very in-depth talks about game design.

But lately the scene has just gone to seed. We're not along in this either: Lots of the world's biggest blogheads are engaged in furious debate at the moment over why blogging has gone so damn boring. A lot of them are now talking about micro-blogging, life-casting and sundry other concepts which could be described as fascinating and horrendous all at the one moment.

I'm not proposing to start life-casting my day or anything of the sort, but what I am proposing is to get a conversation going and leave the blogspace to become more noteworthy and probably turn into Google Knol in the fullness of time. As with games themselves, this blogging lark should be fun, no?

Well here it is: The Play Room.

The Play Room is a room on the social meta-service called Friendfeed. It is a service in which you can share links and comment on them, share photos, embed feeds, all that good stuff. A room in Friendfeed is simply a sub-division of that space in which an administrator (in this case me) sets a very few ground rules (like staying reasonably on topic would be nice) and really just lets everybody else get on with it. Friendfeed is ridiculously easy to use. Just sign up, set up the things you want to embed in your own feed, and then click on the link above (or here) and join in.

The subject of the Play Room?

GAMES of course. And social media. And funny videos. And webcomics. And photographs of queues outside shops at midnight to buy Halo 4. And blog posts. And links to neat magazine articles. And deriding E3. It's basically a place to share, think, comment and enjoy. Share and enjoy.

That's it, that's the pitch. Come on in, tell your friends, get them to come on in too.

Particleblog's comments have moved to The Play Room.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Zero Tolerance: The new music in Zero Punctuation

I love Zero Punctuation, the mostly-weekly review video that The Escapist have been running for a while now by British emigré journalist Ben "Yahtzee" Crowshaw. For those three of you out there who may not know what it is, ZP presents 4-minute long animated reviews, mostly of one specific title at a time, and it does so with a calavcade of animated characters and a very distinctive speaking style on the party of Yahtzee. He literally fires through each of the points of his reviews in a mad rant that offers little or no chance for breath or full stops. Hence the name. It's the game reviewer equivalent of The Show with Ze Frank.

Aside from the machine-gun speed delivery, however, what makes ZP work extremely well are three things: Its visual invention, its analysis (which is sharp, witty and often brutally to the point) and its very British off-kilter tone. It has been the making of The Escapist also, which prior to ZP's introduction was a very dusty magazine full of intellectual pieces that seemed more at home in an academic journal trying to make some impact in the world of Gamespot and IGN.

But there's a problem and it is this. Someone in the editorial circle of the Escapist, whether it be Yahtzee himself (doubtful) or somebody at the magazine, has decided to jazz up Zero Punctuation with the introduction of boilerplate animations and music at the front and back of each of the new videos.

So where previously we had relevant and witty music choices.

Now we have cheesy metal and explosions.

This has to be stopped!
Letters need to be written!
Avengers assemble!

Particleblog's comments have moved to The Play Room.