Monday, 27 July 2009

I© Own™ ¥our $oul

Without wanting to sound like a stereotypical idealistic student-type with nothing better to do than whine about the many injustices of the world, I'm going to have a good old whine about one of them

Patents and IP and all that shit.

While, as an aspiring writer, I find myself frothing at the mouth over any tale of plagiarism, there is a limit to that which I believe one can claim ownership of, at least in terms of ideas and intellectual property.

Not too long ago, I read the following piece on Kotaku, detailing a patent for drop in/drop out coop gameplay, and it made me think. What if, back in the day, id had decided to patent many of the FPS gameplay mechanics that Wolfenstein and Doom made so popular? What if someone had patented the idea of looking down and seeing your own legs while in a first person perspective? What if someone had patented the idea of weapons with alternate fire modes? If everyone owned every gameplay concept, gaming history would be a hell of a lot less interesting.

I remember playing one of the Broken Sword games, and marvelling at its installation process and the fact that, rather than have me sitting there bored, it gave me a little mini-game to play while I waited. This was a fantastic idea. Not only was I mildly entertained and distracted during the lengthy installation, but I couldn't help but respect the developer's attention to detail and dedication to the spirit of entertainment. And that was the last time I saw such a mini-game. For years I wondered why nobody had caught onto the idea of installation/loading screen games, until someone told me (think it was Steve) that they couldn't. That somebody owned the idea. Somebody whose games I didn't generally play, and who clearly could not be arsed with the idea anyway.

I'm all for the protection of intellectual property...but surely there's a line to be drawn between protecting your interests against those who might simply steal from you and profit by it, and jealously warding off competition 308 to the point of shitting 311 on anyone who might prove to *be* competition by claiming ownership of concepts that are, when you think about it, borderline abstract. It's a wonder nobody has patented the first person perspective really, or the presence of characters with both left and right legs...or, hell, simply the concept of "a computer game".

Can you imagine how many writers would be fucked if similar things happened in the literary world? Nobody could ever be "inspired" by the works of other writers, for fear of being mashed into the ground, legally speaking, by some publisher who had once patented the idea of "a person or group of people who live through a dramatic series of events, learn important life lessons, face overwhelming odds and eventually prevail". Hell, they'd be lucky to write a prologue without discovering that someone owned the concept.

You know what? Here's mine:

I'm gonna patent the idea of an omnipotent supernatural entity that created the universe and everything in it, occasionally interacts with mankind by means of miracles, magic, angelic visitations, burning bushes and ethereal voices, may or may not have a beard and lives in the clouds surrounded by annoying fuckers that play harps incessantly. Ergo, I own god.
In fact, no, wait...fuck it, I'm gonna patent reality. Ergo, I AM god.

In other news,
experts have been discussing the possible repercussions of advanced AI, such as viruses that mimic human interaction with the digital world for the purposes of identity theft, or the "Skynet Scenario", as I'd like to call it;
"a runaway chain reaction of machines capable of building ever-better machines."
Of course, they're a bit late. In my opinion, Skynet has already planned our downfall in the form of Conficker.

- Brax

Monday, 20 July 2009

Why F.E.A.R. 2 Was Crap

This wasn't in it.

- Chris C

Rage Gives Me Rage

Way to alienate your entire fanbase, John Carmack:

Game is being developed with controller first in mind (X360 pad on PC version demo'ed) because Carmack says, "...the largest chunk of our market's going to be on the consoles."

Gee, thanks id Software!

Furthermore, reading all the information on that website, one thought came to mind (apart from things to do with every single copy of Wolfenstein and Carmack's arse):

"Isn't that Fallout?"

- Chris C

Sunday, 19 July 2009


So here I am, having vanished yet again (due in no small part to University cock-ups and my subsequent need to hide in a small hole and play games until 5am). I survived not only another week being molested by Dave and Steve at PCZ, but also the worryingly obsessive 105 hours spent in Fallout 3 (more on that story later).

In the meantime, I just thought I'd have a good short bitch about something.

Bioshock team's next project more "ambitious" - Kotaku

Uhuh. "More ambitious" than anything they've ever done? "Substantially more ambitious than Bioshock"?

What, you mean like...System Shock 2?

- Brax

Friday, 17 July 2009

We don't care about the young folks

Now this caught me by surprise. I'd been looking forward to Call of Juarez: Bound In Blood for a while and I've nearly finished it. In fact I'm fairly certain I'm on the last level,
ominously set in the same fort I bitched about recently. I was also really enjoying Fallout 3, which is still very new. Plants Vs Zombies also took up a bit of my free time too.

And then, out of nowhere, I got hit with a retro vibe. Instead of finishing Call of Juarez, I've returned to Return To Castle Wolfenstein. Instead of killing Super Mutants with my dog friend in Fallout 3, I've got back into the Clone Wars in Republic Commando. Instead of killing Michael Jackson as a zombie (ahem) I've insulted pirates and enslaved monkeys in Secret of Monkey Island.

Of course I'm blaming LucasArts for most of this. Releasing a load of their old classic games of Steam along with a really cheap Special Edition of one of the greatest and funniest games ever made? Sold. Wolfenstein's Activision's fault though, delaying the game for two weeks and reminding me how much I preferred RTCW to Medal of Honour.

Now with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 up to fifty-fucking-five pounds I'm actually looking forward to Raven's attempt.

Although I'm sure I'll get halfway through it and start playing Blood instead.

Monday, 13 July 2009


Turns out I'm actually a German writer, journalist, actor and model. Won a few awards too. Who knew?

Wait a minute, that's the life I want! DAMN YOU PHILIPP TINGLER!

Smug git.
- Chris 'Not P. Tingler' Capel

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Dragon Age, by... who, again?

Here's an interview with Bioware's Ray Muzyka about Dragon Age: Origins.

Here's what I was thinking while watching it:

The Witcher, The Witcher, The Witcher, yeah right, you said that about Mass Effect, The Witcher, The Witcher, we getting a story or something? It looks like a MMO! A book, like The Witcher, backstabbing Bioware saying its just as good on consoles when you just said PCs were the only platform getting the quest editor, The Witcher, is that a console screen in the background? The Witcher... ooh, October 23rd? Cool!

- Chris Capel