Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

Every Sunday, we reach deep into Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history to pull out one of the best moments from the archive. This week, Adam’s 2012 article singing the praises of videogame cities which are more than mere reconstruction, but are built from the bricks and mortar of ideas.>

I’ve been visiting various cities recently, which always fill me with confusion and wonder, then Dishonored made me think about how much I miss Looking Glass. Put the two together and this happens. Join me in a meandering word-search for cohesion and theme in the use of the city across Thief, and the selected works of Rockstar and Charles Dickens. Be warned, there are spoilers for all three Thief games.

… [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on L.A. Noire!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Tuesday at 10AM Pacific Time
Announcement - Valve
The Rockstar Publisher Weekend starts today with great deals on Rockstar titles! From now through Monday* pick up titles up to 80% off!

Today's Daily Deal features the LA Noire up to 75% off!

*All discounts end Monday, March 17th at 10AM Pacific Time.

Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on L.A. Noire during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Amid the post-war boom of Hollywood's Golden Age, Cole Phelps is an LAPD detective thrown headfirst into a city drowning in its own success. Corruption is rampant, the drug trade is exploding, and murder rates are at an all-time high. In his fight to climb the ranks and do what's right, Phelps must unravel the truth behind a string of arson attacks, racketeering conspiracies and brutal murders, battling the L.A. underworld and even members of his own department to uncover a secret that could shake the city to its rotten core.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
Announcement - Valve
Day 1 of the Rockstar Publisher Weekend has kicked off today. The Daily Deal for today is L.A. Noire at 75% off! Be sure to check back each day for new deals.

During the weekend, titles in the Rockstar catalog are on sale for 50% to 67% off. Plus, check out the Rockstar Hit Collection, which contains a selection of Rockstar's greatest hits!

PC Gamer

Midnight on the beat, and I could tell this city has an old heart. Homicide watch wasn't an exciting job—murder stopped becoming a punchline for me long ago—but it kept me on the streets, and that's where you go if you want both a lesson in personality and how to avoid a fender-bender when the garbage man's drunk again.

Me? I came from some spitball of a town further upstate. Figured I'd join the force. Make a difference. Honor, valor, and all that. Everyone I met then were total strangers. Funny—they still seem like strangers now.

This place runs and breathes on oil drills, both a paradise for a man with black blood in his veins and a curse for the schmuck with blood painted on his face. Things were a mess for the longest time. The outside world felt like it didn't exist sometimes, and the city's own problems almost drove the boys and girls down at city hall into a panic. I guess it got to me—I came here for the big-time life, not a tug of war with reality.

I remember a buddy of mine, Calvin Chan, telling me to just "slow it down and look closer to see the more beautiful things in life." It's been a good anchor during dark times. It's a city with warts, after all—but it's my city.
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on L.A. Noire!

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alec Meer)

Mad, man

Here’s something I never thought of when playing LA Noire. Whatever its other merits and failings, the stuff it does with facial animation and performance capture was amazing, and something the whole industry can benefit from presuming it’s not drowning in a thousand million unbreakable patents (which it probably is). However, all it was being used for was to, essentially, just achieve a slightly better version of something games and especially their cutscenes already did. We can find rehearsed, scripted dialogue and, to wildly varying degrees, attendant facial emotion and animation, all over the place. What we can’t find is naturalistic, unrehearsed performances – people being people, as opposed to be people being videogame characters. Take a look at this to see how big the difference can be. (more…)

Product Update - Valve
This patch addresses the following:
• Compatibility fixes for Windows 8
• Other minor fixes


A Son Takes His Father on a Tour of His Boyhood Home—in a Video Game When you introduce a video game to an older relative who doesn't play them—a parent or a grandparent—and they realize they've underestimated how detailed, how immersive these things really are, the conversations you have after that really are special. If this hasn't happened for you, ask anyone for whom it has.

Or better yet, just go read Christian Donlan's charming story of exploring Los Angeles with his father in L.A. Noire. The elder Donlan grew up in Los Angeles in the 1940s, and has a vivid recollection of the city in that time—where long gone landmarks were located, how wide the streets were, what sorts of things you'd see in a diner window.

L.A. Noire, a jewel box of a period piece, did profoundly well against his father's memory, whose photographic quality probably comes from his father, a Los Angeles police sergeant. Donlan's granddad had brushes with tabloid fame and deviations into petty graft, adultery and all the other pursuits that make for a good film noir cop. A colorful recounting of his career, including the only time he used his gun, opens the piece.

It's in the sightseeing tour of downtown Los Angeles where the real affirmation comes. Even minor landmarks seemingly there just to hold a city block together present some antecedent for Donlan's father to remark on and marvel at. There are some details gotten wrong—an engine note in one car is off; too many of them have whitewall tires. But the fact his father praised the gloomy quality of lighting on the streets, at night, in the game is rather profound. It reflects a great credit on anyone who worked on this game—for all of its troubled history—for it to get this stamp of authenticity, even 18 months out.

Donlan later asked his dad for a few thoughts on what he had seen. His reply concludes the essay, and it is well worth reading through to the end. But here's a highlight. "This seemed a refreshingly thoughtful—almost intellectual—scenario that I would not have expected in something called a game."

Night and the City [Eurogamer]


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