Letters to the Editor



In response to “Destined for Middle Earth” from The Escapist forums:

Mister Benoit:

I still don’t understand why a lawyer would want to work in one of the lowest paying jobs in the western world.

There’s something about being able to go into work every day and not want to bash your head against the radiator.

If he’s able to support his family and continue his endeavors props to him.

I agree, life is not about getting the most amount of money but getting enough to make what you want possible and to support yourself while you are at it.

Art Axiv

The apparent ‘get a game design/art/CS degree then start applying for jobs’ path is an illusion. The numbers alone will crush you unless you have very good contacts or are incredibly lucky. From what I’ve seen the most useful paths to game industry employment in a meaningful role are:

* Showing you can make awesome things and build an audience round them (games, comics, mods, whatever: listen to Gabe Newell talk about this)
* Being demonstrably, psychotically, one-in-a-million good at engine programming
* Organizing a community and/or business around something to do with games

All of the above will be made easier if you show that you had the discipline to finish a 4 year degree, and that you have a professional work ethic that includes being able to deal with many different types of personality + deliver things to deadline. But then, if you can do all that, as others have said you may not really want to be working for an industry that treats its employees so badly…:-)





In response to “The Bolshevik in the Borderlands” from The Escapist forums:
Now I feel really stupid for not looking into the visual cues of Borderlands more deeply. Initially I thought “Huh, okay. He’s looked into this waaay too much”. But I thought about it, and… well… you’re right. I do wish they could’ve brought story more to the fore, but it would’ve clashed with the gameplay (much like Bulletstorm’s serious moments, for example, are mixed in with the comedic gameplay and other comedic elements).

As for Tannis, I always was deeply moved by her journals. They’re funny, but it’s black humour. You’re essentially laughing at somebody losing their mind, and it’s unpleasant when you think too much about it.


Ah, yes, the old “if people like it, it can’t be good,” chestnut. I appreciate hearing an indie developer speak up against it.

It’s the same old thing that’s been happening in the music scene since forever: a no-name band is loved by local fans, makes it big, and the fans abandon them as “sell-outs.” The elitist fan that punishes the success of the band.

A game like Borderlands actually does a better job of conveying its art than many “artsy” games, as is the case with many movies. It puts the art there and allows you to find it, if you’re looking… but it doesn’t beat you in the face with it. There’s an age-old idea that those who truly have power don’t have to prove it. I think the same is true for artistic merit.


The irritating thing is that a lot of the complaints about “mainstream games” is really code for “mainstream games I don’t like”. Take Dead Space, for instance. Innovative title, EA really threw their weight behind marketing it. And it was a wild success. And then those same gamers turn around and complain about the prevalence of CoD. Funny thing is, a lot of those same gamers love Battlefield, despite the fact that there are almost twice as may Battlefield games as CoD. In fact, CoD has to include their cheapjack cell phone games just to catch up to Battlefield’s numbers.

Not that I’m saying anything against either series, mind you. Just pointing out the double standard. What’s more, CoD is still wildly popular, which means the complainers seem to be vastly overestimating their number, and underestimating their own vocalness, if that’s the word I want.



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In response to “Casual Gamers Are Better Than You” from The Escapist forums:
Twenty years from now, we’re going to look back at this as the period when gaming took off as a socially acceptable recreational activity, to the extent that your grandma was playing games — and wonder why in the hell we ever saw this as a bad thing.

In the short term, sure, it makes publishers put down that interesting new IP and run screaming for the shovelware money pile.

But in the long term? More of society playing games? More money going into games? Games like Wii Fit ‘gameifying’ workout routines and Chore Wars gameifying household responsibilities — how can any hardcore gamer be so against this rapid expansion of the medium into all the corners of the modern experience?


This article makes a lot of assumptions and dubious “givens”. As a hardcore gamer, it’s assumed I pirate games. I don’t. It’s assumed I don’t like casual games. I do – Plants Vs Zombies (245 hours) is one of my all-time favorites, and I liked World of Goo. I’m close-minded, and won’t trust new IP’s? Hell, it’s the “established” IP’s these days I don’t trust, with some of my favorite companies (Bioware, Crytek) churning out crippled, stunted PC games as they court the console player. Frankly, I’m very interested in new companies and new titles, as I hope they haven’t yet been infected with the EA virus they call a business strategy, chances are better that they are not developing it multiplatform, and that they might actually have a fun game (with perhaps a fresh take on things).

Maybe I’m “unique” amongst those of us who call ourselves hardcore gamers. I doubt it.

A good portion of this article boils down to: ignorance is bliss. At least, it is for the gaming industry. Since us hardcore gamers are actually more knowledgable and a bit pickier about what games we’ll spend our dollars on.


I think the fact that the author constantly used soccer “moms” and “grannies” (in other words, women) as his only examples of casual gamers who don’t have the know-how that hardcore players possess, was more interesting than the actual article’s topic. And that moms weren’t referred to just once, but several times throughout the article as an example of people who are blissfully ignorant of the technological world around them.

When are moms going to stop being the default “clueless about gaming/technology/math/hard stuff” demographic? I mean yes, there are probably a lot of moms who don’t play games/etc, but there are plenty of dads and grandpas who are just as clueless about all these things, and at this point the gender ratios don’t suggest a large enough gap between the sexes to justify not mixing it up every once in awhile.



In response to “A New Breed of Player” from The Escapist forums:

They were called “arcade games”. Short games that emphasized skill over deep involvment. Pac-man, Donkey Kong. Am I ringing a bell here?.

Took the words right out of my keyboard.

I’d also like to add that there has been a great deal of polarization in the past decade by people – both gaming media and gamers alike – about whether a player falls into a “hardcore” or “casual” category. This only serves to alienate the non- gaming extremist, particularly non-“hardcore” gamers.

I think this article is evidence that the gaming media is starting to recognize that not everyone falls into one of two extreme categories. I’ve all but given up on other gaming websites due to their total embellishment of this polarizing culture.

I’m looking forward to where The Escapist can go with this concept.

Paul The Best

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