On the Blackout

… I have little to add to this, really. There are people more articulate, more affected and more informed on the subject than me that have written about it, but since I made a statement about it already I will ramble on a little more. Again, like any other posts in this blog these are my personal opinions and should not be attributed to any previous or former employers of mine.

I happened to catch a newscast this morning where the reporter mentioned the protests in a pejorative manner. They did add a disclaimer at the end saying that the broadcasting company had already thrown in their support with the bills – all fair, Wikipedia raised the same issue with objective reporting in their blackout. The interesting part was that at the end they said that the proponents of SOPA and PIPA was not heard as much since they “did not have as easy a time reaching their audience”. Coming from a TV-broadcasted news show I found this very amusing.

There is a big disconnect between media were people are just the recipients of the product and where they are an active part in the process, which may be why swapping civil liberties for a chance to maybe, possibly help curb piracy seems like a good idea to some but atrocious to others. If the end user is good for nothing but pay for the final product, I can sort of see why you would expect them to trust you and not the other way around. Trust that the power given to the media organisations (let’s stop pretending that this is about all IP holders) will not be misused, but without trusting the majority of the audience to have good intentions. I can see the kind of reasoning behind it, but if you consider that we are talking about actual people and you are trying to sell something to them, it becomes ridiculous.

There are many reasons to dislike these bills originating from it-security, economic, entrepeneurial or simply moral standpoints. I have multiple personal reasons to dislike them but this establishment where the end user is supposed to have faith in the content providers without receiving anything in return is probably my biggest reason for it. I wrote about the chilling effect nonspecific IP legislation already has a while back, should they pass I expect SOPA and PIPA to make it much worse.

Posted on Jan 19/12 by Saint and filed under Intellectual Property | No Comments »

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So, the game Juha and I made for Assemblee a couple of years back felt like a good idea – we both wanted to continue working on it to really explore the depth we could bring it to. We have been working on it since, but until recently the work was mostly exploratory. We did not have any clear goals in mind, at most a vague direction.

We have now reached a point where we have a good idea of what we want to do and how we want to achieve it – to that end, we launched the backworlds.com website and the indiegogo campaign to fund development. I am guessing if it all goes well I will have more opportunity to discuss what has happened during the last two years and – more importantly – what the game is about and how it comes to be.

I can reveal one thing though – we changed the name to Backworlds. The ‘s’ is new.

Posted on Jan 15/12 by Saint and filed under Homegrown | No Comments »

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I made some big decisions in 2010, but it was not until this year that I had to come to terms with what they meant. It has certainly been an experience so far and I am still adapting, I have hardly played any big releases for the last 8 months and I do not know if that is a cause or an effect. Originally, this made me reluctant to write this, but since year-end “best-of” lists tend to have more games released in Q4 it might be for the best that I got most of my playing done in Q1.

In direct opposition to how the development world is moving, I have actually played *less* smaller games this year. It is something that shall be remedied for 2012, but for now these are my 2011 favorites;

Bulletstorm, a lot of people whose opinions I respect have dismissed it as juvenile crap based solely on narrative and presentation. While I agree these are important parts in a videogame, I think they serve a purpose in providing a unified whole that allows for radio-controlled dinosaurs, giant monsters and killing by cactus. There is a skillfully designed shooter there, and I am not sure a more serious presentation would have allowed it to deliver such joy.

Dragon Age 2, I actually liked it better than the first game in all aspects. Sure, it lacked the gravitas of a plot essentially about saving the world but it was different. The story does not revolve around a person, group or quest but rather focuses on how different factions forced to live in the same town tries to coexist. It is more about Kirkwall itself than anything else, and I found this immensely refreshing.

Deus Ex – Human Evolution, no-one I know have argued that it is a bad game. It certainly could be – it is graphically inferior many other games,  the design is uneven both in terms of core functionality and levels and even the lauded story has some contrived parts. But it also has a intricate and well-built setting as well as the backdrop for a deep and meaningful story.

… An honorable mention goes to Radiant Historia, but I am not done with it yet and some JRPGs really turn sour towards the end so I’m playing it safe.

Posted on Jan 04/12 by Saint and filed under Meta-blog, Reflections | No Comments »