August Never Ends, But It Isn’t The End

Zoe Quinn:

The biggest thing I’ve probably learned in the last year has been self-restraint. There were many, *many* times that without it, I would have become consumed by the hell that was spinning around me, said “fuck it” and given up trying to keep my head down, work hard, and keep the promise I made a year ago – to “continue trying to break down barriers and disrupt the culture that enabled the abuse I’ve endured from the last two weeks from ever happening to anyone ever again”.

I’d like to think I’ve kept that promise.

She has. Founding and running Crash Override Network would have been a hell of an accomplishment during the best of times; that she did it with an internet hate mob breathing down her neck is frankly astonishing. I don’t know anyone who’s even half as committed to improving the culture surrounding video games as Zoe is.

On working quickly

James Somers:

The obvious benefit to working quickly is that you’ll finish more stuff per unit time. But there’s more to it than that. If you work quickly, the cost of doing something new will seem lower in your mind. So you’ll be inclined to do more.

The converse is true, too. If every time you write a blog post it takes you six months, and you’re sitting around your apartment on a Sunday afternoon thinking of stuff to do, you’re probably not going to think of starting a blog post, because it’ll feel too expensive.

Great post. I’ve subconsciously noticed this phenomenon in myself for years but have never been able to put it into words.

Less Money, Mo’ Music & Lots of Problems

A thorough and well-researched overview of the music industry by Jason Hirschhorn. Sobering stuff. (Who knew that articles like this were being hosted on LinkedIn?)

Why BioWare’s games inspire a unique kind of fandom

Sam Maggs:

Somewhere between finishing Mass Effect 3 for the first time in June 2014 and now, something happened to me. If it didn’t sound so sinister, I would describe it as akin to an indoctrination; suddenly, almost so quickly it barely registered, I had the Spectre logo permanently inked on my body. I was writing chapters for gaming books about BioWare. I was appearing on Dragon Age podcasts. The majority of my online friends spent their time tweeting about the in-game romances they were having. I was rooming at Emerald City Comicon with a girl I’d met through Instagram by searching #MassEffectTattoos.

I had become, as so much of the fandom self-identifies, 100% BioWare trash.

Why did this happen? And how?


My friend and coworker Jamie McKiernan has just released ZigZag, which replaces the default Minecraft textures with her own super-stylish art. Take a look!

How Video Games Changed Popular Music

Hua Hsu, writing for the New Yorker:

We are accustomed to thinking about pop music in terms of its most familiar metadata: songs and albums, scenes and artists. But what about all the other, seemingly incidental music that gets lodged in our heads, from commercial jingles to sitcom soundtracks? In the book “Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack,” the theorist and composer Andrew Schartmann passionately argues for the radical legacy of video-game music. Focussing on Kondo’s much-loved score for Super Mario Bros.—and offering a brief detour through his Deep Purplish soundtrack for The Legend of Zelda—Schartmann brings readers into a world of visionary musicians producing beloved masterpieces in almost total obscurity. Could it be that the largely unknown Kondo, Nintendo’s first dedicated sound designer, was one of the great innovative forces of our time?

Well, I know what’s next on my reading list.

To Apple, Love Taylor

Taylor Swift:

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

UPDATE: Apple’s Eddy Cue:

Apple will always make sure that artist are paid #iTunes #AppleMusic

#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period

We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple

Well, all right then.

The end of Tale of Tales

Michaël Samyn and Auriea Harvey:

  • We studied successful games and applied our findings to the design of Sunset. And while the inclusion of certain conventions seems to have helped some people enjoy the game, it didn’t affect the size of our audience much.
  • We spent a lot of money on a PR company who got us plenty of press, took some work and worries off our shoulders, and found us other marketing opportunities. But it didn’t help sales one bit.
  • We even took out an advertisement on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, where we figured the people most interested in Sunset would be gathered. They must all use AdBlock because that had no effect whatsoever.
  • We worked hard on presenting a gentler Tale of Tales to the public. Which basically meant that Michaël was forbidden to talk in public and Auriea often just smiled at the camera, parroting words whispered in her ears by communication coaches. Didn’t make a difference.

So now we are free. We don’t have to take advice from anybody anymore. We were wrong. Everybody whom we consulted with on Sunset was wrong.

We are happy and proud that we have tried to make a “game for gamers.” We really did our best with Sunset, our very best. And we failed. So that’s one thing we never need to do again. Creativity still burns wildly in our hearts but we don’t think we will be making videogames after this. And if we do, definitely not commercial ones.

UPDATE: That title was premature. Auriea Harvey on Twitter:

everything will be okay. and #im #still #here and @taleoftales isn’t going away, if anything, it’s expanding.