• "In his book of aphorisms, One Way Street, published in 1928, Walter Benjamin has a remarkable premonition. ‘The typewriter’ he says, ‘will alienate the hand of the man of letters from the pen only when the precision of typographic forms has directly entered the conception of his books. One might suppose that new systems with more variable typefaces would then be needed. They will replace the pliancy of the hand with the innervation of commanding fingers.’" I really like the notion of "commanding fingers", and understanding the movie from hands to fingers.
  • "To train the astronauts, he set up a makeshift facility seven miles away from Lusaka, where the trainees, dressed in drab overalls with British army helmets, would then take turns to climb into a 44 gallon oil drum which would be rolled down a hill bouncing over rough ground; this, according to Nkoloso, would train the men in the feeling of weightlessness in both space travel and re-entry." Wow.
  • "A week later, I went into Rockstar Games in Soho for the recording and screamed two hours of lines as Marshall Leigh Johnson. I threatened, chased, arrested, and killed people. I even died. I didn’t just die, I died with an accent. I was in the freaking zone. After signing my paperwork, I left, sweating, voiceless, and thrilled to bid farewell to my voice-over innocence. A new day had dawned for me and my badass larynx." This is brilliant, and doesn't go where you think it might. I love voice actors.
  • "Consider the process of writing the Readme for your project as the true act of creation. This is where all your brilliant ideas should be expressed. This document should stand on its own as a testament to your creativity and expressiveness. The Readme should be the single most important document in your codebase; writing it first is the proper thing to do." I like this: after all, a README is basically the story you tell about your software. Why not write it before the software exists?
  • "Nolan’s cities are iconless places. The Hong Kong sequence in The Dark Knight omits the harbour, the HSBC and Bank of China buildings, and that city’s famous apartment buildings, instead focussing on vertiginous aerial view of the masses of anonymous buildings in Central. Cobb and Mal’s ideal city four dreams deep in Inception is an infinity of curtain walled downtown, ordinary in the extreme and all the more unsettling because of it. In any case it will be interesting to see where Nolan takes Gotham city in its third outing, likely deeper into the fantastic generic." Interesting take on Christopher Nolan's nowhere-cities. Worth also noting that whilst Cobb and Ariadne build cities, Arthur's dreams tend towards interzones – airports and hotels. There's something on the Interzone and its relationship to that film to be said, too.
  • Straightforward guide to making bots work with OAuth.
  • "You could say that it’s tidal, but with the television schedules, rather than the moon."
  • "This ghastly indie-art-game prose: it’s writing that tries to communicate ideas in the same way that game mechanics communicate ideas. Such writing offers allusions and suggestions, hints for the player to assemble, but it shies away from specifics or a through-line plot. Characters often go unnamed, or are named something thuddingly symbolic, or are Everyman. Theme is presented heavy-handedly (you wouldn’t want players to miss it!) and via the most cliché images. Expect frequent references to light and dark, cold and loneliness, broken hearts and shattered dreams. Memories may get a look in. Also death. It’s like reading a collage of the manuscripts sent to a high school poetry contest right after one of the students got in a fatal crash." Emily is right, and it's something I hate about certain games: just how *self-consciously* "indie" they are.
  • "While everyone else is going sleek and elegant and natural, Tiger is all experience points and loading screens and instant challenge pop-ups and club-tuning holodecks. Skate feels like skating, Fight Night feels like boxing, and Tiger feels like a game about golf." I don't like golf; I love computerised golf. I don't like Tiger; I love Links in all its forms, and before that, Leaderboard. This is a brilliant – if long – piece of writing on a short history of PC golf, and what's wrong with Tiger in this day and age. (Apart from, you know, the whole sex-addict thing).
  • "The puzzles [in Limbo] aren't brain-busters, and even though you die a lot, it always puts you right back where you started. It's just so capricious. It never bothers to set limits or rules for the world you're in. Its sole concern seems to be killing you for no apparent reason. Instead of asking you to apply what you learned from your previous deaths, the game keeps changing the rules so it can kill you again. It's as though it's making things up as it goes, like a rambling first draft that could use a good revision."

Links & notes for this month