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janedouglas Blog

Thank you, I'm here all week

I'm the one on the left

Like we said in Friday's Start/Select, this is my final week at GameSpot.

I've had two marvellous years here, working with some of the handsomest, cleverest, funniest, handsomest people in the business we call writing about video games on the internet.

I'll be doing more of that in my next job, but here's not the place to talk about it.

As I set to excavating my desk out from under two years' worth of notepads and promo discs*, I wanted to say thanks for having me, GameSpot.

Thanks for watching and reading and commenting. Thanks for listening to the podcast (I'll do a last one tomorrow). I love what I do, but I love it harder because of people like you.You're alright, you are.


*If anyone was looking for Depth Hunter: The Spearfishing Simulator, I had it

Don't smile, ever, okay

Do evocative video games demand photorealistic graphics? Christoph Hartmann, the 2K Games supremo, says true photorealism is required to depict "deep emotions".

Well where is he

Games are mired in military shooter territory without them, he says, because without photorealistic characters it's easier to make meatheaded Michael Bay romps than wistful Brokeback Mountain complexity (the latter, his example). Until we can do la douleur exquise on Marcus Fenix's zillion-polygon next-gen mug, we'll languish in these bro-tastic badlands.

I don't know. I am broadly in favour of fewer inhuman rictuses, but photorealistic computer graphics aren't a prerequisite for emotional authenticity. Speaking as someone who skipped the first 20 minutes of Pixar's Up on a second, in-flight viewing to keep from openly weeping on the passenger beside me.

Saying photorealism is essential overlooks a host of stylised visual approaches that can be just as effective--not to mention a whole bunch of sensitive, evocative games without really lifelike visuals.

Damn you, Greenland

Greenland Nooo

According to my simulation (Plague, iOS), humanity will make its last stand against the lethal J-Virus in Greenland, which is totally impermeable to disease.

recommended reading

I saw that Hitman: Absolution trailer under embargo a few weeks back and thought it was nasty. When I put it to the producer, feebly, that the slutty nun murder video is "a bit strong, isn't it?", he said: "It's a game trailer, it's designed to get attention."

And attention it got, to the point where depriving it of the oxygen of publicity is not workable. Depriving it of the oxygen of cash money, on the other hand, might be. Not buying a product that has objectionable marketing is one message marketeers will take to heart.

As to the content of the trailer itself, game journalists I admire have already laid out how it is objectionable. Others have written on the ugly backlash against criticism of the trailer, which is just as disturbing and much more significant. Here is one of each kind, if you would like to read them:

What The Hell Is With That Hitman Trailer?

Can't We Discuss This Like Adults?

cloudy with a chance of sony tv integration

For a smart, thorough take on Sony's rumoured deal with a cloud gaming service, try this one from Digital Foundry.

In particular, there's something to the idea of Sony adding built-in video games to its TV sets by partnering with one of these cloud services given, as Digital Foundry also says, Gaikai is going to do just that with LG and its smart TVs.

Could Sony's deal include something like its PlayStation-branded 3D television? A PlayStation-branded TV set with integrated game streaming? Who can say?*


*Everyone, in five days, following the Sony E3 conference.

and here is my gun

What is more unnerving and cautionary than the gun logo of would-be gamer mating service Date a Gamer?


Right, yes, this: its botched photoshop* (right) of a gamer's perfect frankenwoman as scientifically determined in a survey of an unspecified number of site members on which bits of which female character they would have sex with.

She's got Joanna Dark's hair, Faith's eyeballs, Lara's hotpants, and Tifa's bristols, because nothing says "hello we should date" than "here is which body part I would sever and graft onto which torso LADIES".

*As a skeezy PR gambit it has technically worked since I did say its name but I promise never again.

nice try, all

The petition didn't work, evidently. Neither did Microsoft listen to the community protesting in its chosen social media venues. It could be the decision had been made from the very beginning. At any rate, Inside Xbox and its UK audience deserved more--more than a mid-season dead halt, and more than an announcement by way of blog update published on another continent. Poor show, Xbox.

[Inside Xbox Shuttered in Europe]

do ONE THING for me okay and go save Inside Xbox

Do yourself and Xbox LIVE a favour. Go and tell Microsoft not to kill Inside Xbox in Europe. Go ahead, it'll only take a second. I'll wait right here.

An Internet Petition to That Effect

I didn't hear any signing. Did you sign? Sign and we'll talk.

Done? Good. If you're already au fait with the Inside Xbox situation, grand. If you're not and didn't read the text to which you've already put your signature, let me break it down for you:

1. The US version of Inside Xbox has been canned.

2. The European version might go the same way.

3. You've given me power of attorney.

Except not the last one. I'd only have used it to sign a petition to tell Microsoft not to kill Inside Xbox in Europe on your behalf so what, really, would be the point.

Inside Xbox US, as fronted by Major Nelson, has already gone quietly into that good night, scrapped by Microsoft in favour of third-party content. Now Europe's equivalent, as fronted by MrPointyHead and Farrantula, is on the same chopping block, and it'd be a crying goddamn shame if we lost that as well.


The channel's flagship shows, SentUAMessage and The Nexus, are smarter and funnier and more ambitious than platform-holder-funded video has any business being. If you've never caught them, maybe because the dashboard now buries them under menu tiles and squeezes them between ad tiles, go and watch some old episodes. (Watch some really old ones and you'll see me. That's where I cut my video presenter teeth, gnawing away on season three of SUAM.)

This is great community engagement and great entertainment and if you own an Xbox you should be in a spitting rage that Microsoft wants to TAKE FREE ENTERTAINMENT AWAY FROM YOU. Doesn't that sound like something you should be mad about? It is something I am mad about on your behalf. You're welcome.