modern culture since 1991

Wings over Sealand


Archive for the ‘analysis’


Debate, feminist-style 62

Posted on May 06, 2012 by RevStu

Over the last couple of years, I've been regretfully forced to the conclusion that feminism is the most intolerant ideology currently operating in the UK, leaving ultra-radical Islam trailing a distant second and looking on angrily. Disagree with the orthodox-feminist position on any gender-related subject, in even the most minor of ways, even if you're agreeing with the base principle, and you'll be first shouted down, then called a misogynist and/or "rape apologist" or similar, and then censored out of the debate entirely. (All three often occuring within the space of a few minutes.)

Veteran WoSland viewers may recall the Cara Fiasco, or the interesting "Dickwolves" discussion of last year, but by way of a milder illustration I present a recent Twitter exchange with "rebelgirl59", who appears from her comments to be some manner of activist for the Scottish Socialist Party. (Twitspeak tidied up, otherwise unaltered.)

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How I Was Made 22

Posted on May 05, 2012 by RevStu

If they spend any amount of time browsing through Wings over Sealand, alert readers may well find themselves noticing a number of recurring themes popping up throughout its pages, and one of the commonest is a violent contempt for nearly all videogames journalism. This is because, not to put too fine a point on it, nearly all videogames journalism is a crime against humanity. (Either in the literary, ethical or sociological senses, and usually all three.)

Practiced largely by cynical-yet-incompetent careerists who regard themselves as essentially the games industry's door-to-door salesmen – rather than as a safeguard standing between the industry and the public, protecting consumers from wasting their money on terrible products – the dismally low standard of nearly all videogames journalism was and remains the reason why your correspondent felt the need to take the job on for himself, so that at least on occasion it might be done halfway-properly.

And if the 21-years-and-counting career that followed that decision isn't a reason to hate videogames journalists, then this reporter doesn't know what is.

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Fuck the C64 65

Posted on April 29, 2012 by RevStu

The 30th anniversary of the ZX Spectrum has sparked a flurry of nostalgia pieces in the games press, many of which for some reason can't help comparing the Sinclair machine to its main American competitor. And since the games press is a dictatorship of dullards, the C64 has come out on top in most of them, invariably helped by a colossally biased selection of judges.

Eurogamer, for example, takes a big dump on the Speccy's birthday cake by calling on Julian Rignall (editor of a C64 magazine), Steve Jarratt (editor of a C64 magazine), Gary Penn (writer on a C64 magazine), Gary Liddon (writer on a C64 magazine), Jason Page (a C64 coder) and Paul Glancey (writer on a C64 magazine) – with only some three-year-old quotes from the sadly-deceased Jonathan "Joffa" Smith holding up the Speccy's end of the debate – to come to the startling opinion that it deems the C64 the superior machine. Last month's Retro Gamer reached a similar conclusion for much the same set of spastic-faced reasons. ("Whine bleat SID chip wah wah wah.")

But fuck all of them, because they're all cunts and they can suck our dicks.

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The dark side of digital distribution 42

Posted on February 24, 2012 by RevStu

As a concept, digital distribution – particularly of videogames – is a wonderful thing. It should, and sometimes does, reduce prices dramatically by cutting out the need for physical manufacture, stock inventory, distribution and retail middleman. (Which in turn can also make niche genres economically viable.)

It can be, and usually is, much more convenient too – there's no need to mess around with noisy, slow-loading discs or worry about getting them scratched or losing them if all your content is right there on an instantly-accessible hard drive.

The only problem with digital is that it cedes control of your software library (and therefore all the money you've invested in it) to business, and business is evil.

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How 9/11 killed videogames journalism 22

Posted on September 11, 2011 by RevStu

There's been some truly horrible stuff passing for videogames journalism in recent times. Whether it's reviewers telling people to hand over £25 for a shoddy, lazy cash-in because it comes in a cardboard box or writers arguing with each other over the precise manner in which gamers should be gouged for more money, it's a depressing picture. (And having the president of IGN tell MCV last week that the recipe for the future was "getting celebrities involved" didn't paint it any prettier.)

I've always believed that writers are there to serve their readers, not their subjects. But as I was bemoaning the last case in a cloud of gloom and shame-by-proxy last month, I had a bit of an epiphany, and it wasn't a particularly cheering one. Because the truth of the matter is that readers are getting the videogames journalism (indeed, the journalism generally) that they deserve.

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David Cameron’s new best friend 285

Posted on August 10, 2011 by RevStu

You may have seen David Cameron on the news today, anointing himself head of the "New Moral Army", promising a "fightback" against rioters, and praising (at 0.53) "the million people on Facebook who've signed up to support the police". The group in question was created, and is run, by this lovely chap:

That doesn't seem quite the sort of "morality" the Prime Minister should be getting behind, does it? But there are more rib-ticklers where that came from.

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Make sense of this for me, someone 11

Posted on March 26, 2011 by RevStu

I was out and about today, and finally saw a 3DS in action for the first time. As billed, the 3D effect is absolutely gobsmacking, but even after just a few minutes I was finding it quite tiring on my eyes and I imagine the novelty will largely wear off after a couple of days, leaving you with a very pricey way to play Ridge Racer and Super Monkey Ball again. But not quite THIS pricey:

What in the name of Canaan Banana is going on here?

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Oh, poor DS, what did they do to you? 29

Posted on March 18, 2011 by RevStu

Aged viewers will recall this reporter's once-burning love for the Nintendo DS. But it wasn't just the appearance on the scene of the younger, slimmer, all-touching-all-the-time iThings that caused the flame to die.

This week, with the Western launch of the 3DS just a few days away, I went back to the old stager for one last hurrah, to see what I'd missed in what's now almost two years of iOS-focused gaming and also to see how it felt to use a so-called "real" handheld console again. I found out some things, and have written them down here because I'm old and I forget stuff.

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On review scoring 23

Posted on August 01, 2010 by RevStu

It's one of the most-observed truths of videogame reviewing that the entire concept of scoring is, as practised almost universally in all forms of current print, broadcast and online media, fundamentally broken.

Everyone knows that the marks awarded in game reviews – whether out of five stars, ten points or 100% – are not in fact sequential numbers as we were taught them in arithmetic lessons, but abstract ciphers whose true value is heavily encoded. In videogame reviewing, 4 isn't any bigger than 2, 6=7, and 10 is more than twice as many as 9.

And therefore – since the sole and entire point of scoring is to attach an instantly comprehensible numerical summary of the reviewer's opinion to the text – videogame review scores are functionally almost meaningless.

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