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Thread: Games Journalism 2011: Doing It Better Than Anybody You Ever Seen Do it

  1. #1
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    Games Journalism 2011: Doing It Better Than Anybody You Ever Seen Do it

    A thread for the must-read pieces of writing on games as they emerge. A one-stop destination to remind you that the bell-curve has two ends, and the best games writing now walks all over the best writing from any previous period.

    Suggested rules: Nothing for any site you write for. And a format something like this...

    Simon Parkin's profile on The Boy Who Stole Half-Life 2

    At 6am on 7th May 2004, Axel Gembe awoke in the small German town of Schönau im Schwarzwald to find his bed surrounded by police officers. Automatic weapons were pointing at his head and the words "Get out of bed. Do not touch the keyboard" were ringing in his ears.

    Gembe knew why they were there. But, bleary-eyed, he asked anyway.

    "You are being charged with hacking into Valve Corporation's network, stealing the videogame Half-Life 2, leaking it onto the internet and causing damages in excess of $250 million," came the reply. "Get dressed."
    Read on.

    KG

  2. #2
    Good Shape
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    To complement that one, I'm reading Geoff Keighley's article on the same game:

    The Final Hours of Half-Life 2: gamespot.com/features/6112889/index.html

    (<50postlinklimitgrr)

    Gabe Newell is about to make a promise. It's 11am on an overcast morning in Bellevue, Washington, and Newell, the impresario behind Valve, lumbers into the company's starkly decorated 10th-floor conference room. He pulls out an Aeron chair, plops himself down, and runs his stubby hands through his reddish-brown hair.

    "OK," he says, taking a deep breath. "During any project there comes a time to draw a line in the sand and put a stick in the ground and say, 'This is it. We're ready,'" he says. "That moment, I'm happy to say, is right now. We finally know when this game is going to be done."
    The fifth chapter of the article's about the same event.

  3. #3
    I thrust game designers New Romantic Teiman's Avatar
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    At 6am on 7th May 2004, Axel Gembe awoke in the small German town of Schönau im Schwarzwald to find his bed surrounded by police officers. Automatic weapons were pointing at his head and the words "Get out of bed. Do not touch the keyboard" were ringing in his ears.
    This as really happened in Real Life?

    The german police must be stupid*. There is something called proportional response. You don't shot ammo to people throwing rocks, and you don't storm in some people house because some intellectual property spying. Oooh, looks, a fly, lets shot cannons at it.

    Basically, what purpose serve to aim a weapon (or more than one) to a sleeping teenager. Do scriptkiddies learn Ninja skills too?


    *VERY stupid.

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    dot dot dot

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    Seven months earlier, on 2nd October 2003, Valve Corporation director Gabe Newell awoke in the large American city of Seattle to find the source code for the game his company had been working on for almost five years had leaked onto the internet.
    After a few moments pondering these immediate concerns, an avalanche of questions tumbled through Newell's mind. How had this happened? Had the leak come from within Valve? Which member of his team, having given years of their life to building the game, would jeopardise the project in the final hour?
    If it wasn't an inside job, how the hell did it happen? Did someone have access to Valve's internal server?
    But the question which rang out loudest of all was the one anyone who has ever had something stolen from them cannot push from their mind: who did this?


    It's a fascinating story, but that's some terrible terrible writing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebmojo View Post
    [/B]

    It's a fascinating story, but that's some terrible terrible writing.
    I was thinking the same thing when I was reading it.

    Does anyone remember if the source code actually got distributed via torrents? BT wasn't that big by that point in time, and I seem to remember... well, differently.

  7. #7
    New Romantic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teiman View Post
    This as really happened in Real Life?

    The german police must be stupid*. There is something called proportional response. You don't shot ammo to people throwing rocks, and you don't storm in some people house because some intellectual property spying. Oooh, looks, a fly, lets shot cannons at it.

    Basically, what purpose serve to aim a weapon (or more than one) to a sleeping teenager. Do scriptkiddies learn Ninja skills too?


    *VERY stupid.
    Covered in the story. Police thought this theft was related to another major threat.

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    Great idea Keiron.

    I'd like to nominate John Walker's "BulletstormGate" series as an example of actual journalism. Digging into research, contacting sources and pulling together the story instead of just reposting headlines and press releases.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/fox-news/

  9. #9
    I thrust game designers New Romantic Teiman's Avatar
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    Also, great article. (IMHO).

  10. #10
    New Romantic
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    Was indeed a very interesting article. I still can't believe the ending though. It reminded me strongly of the episode of the simpsons where the police department sent out notices to criminals and people with unpaid parking tickets that they had won a free boat and then arrested them all when they showed up.

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    Thumbs up to RPS for doing the Serious Journalism required to call Fox News out on their lies. It was a real treat to see the original responses published on RPS after this whole thing started, so kudos team! (Whoever of you were responsible.)

    That said, jesus, you really had to name it "-gate"?

  12. #12
    Mad Chester
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    The screams from the haters gotta nice ring to it!

    Serious articles are possible, and this thread will nicely balance the lulz!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebmojo View Post
    [/B]

    It's a fascinating story, but that's some terrible terrible writing.
    The 'large American' city thing was something that was mangled in the editing. My original intro was:

    At 6am on May 7, 2004 in the German town of Schönau im Schwarzwald (population 2,412) near the Swiss border, Axel Gembe awoke....


    Seven months earlier, on October 2, 2003 in the American city of Seattle (population 617,334) near the Canadian border, Gabe Newell...
    I guess the editor didn't like the population conceit and changed the wording but broke the symmetry in doing so.

    As for the other bits. Yeah, fair points. I'm always working hard to improve my technique. Promise.

  14. #14
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    Anyway. My nomination goes to Jonathan Gourlay's Fear and Gaming: Being and Nothingness and “Minecraft”.

    It's cute and smart in equal doses.

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    I'll also nominate Matt Matthews' monthly NPD analysis which contains, y'know, analysis.

  16. #16
    How To Go
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    Not to get too P&R, but here's an interesting tidbit:

    There he was greeted by the police chief. He walked up to Gembe, looked him in the eye and said, "Have you any idea how lucky you are that we got to you before you got on that plane?"
    That's a german police chief talking to the kid that hacked Valve before he was to go visit Valve for a job, which was really an FBI sting. It's interesting to see foreign perspective on our police and justice system (justified or not).

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by goz View Post
    I guess the editor didn't like the population conceit and changed the wording but broke the symmetry in doing so.
    By and large editors so a lot of thankless work improving others' writing, but this has to be my least favorite common occurrence. If the symmetry sucks or the wording is clumsy or whatever, fine. But breaking the symmetry without cleaning up both ends of it just makes it sound stupid.

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