Adam Saltsman has taken on Jonathan Blow's recent talk at IndieCade, during which he spoke out against all the 'contrivance' developers put between players and the core game. You know, the obstacles to the stuff that's really interesting. Saltsman looked at five leading iOS games, including Jetpack Joyride, Infinity Blade and Forever Drive, to see how they stand in front of fun.
He cites the barriers presented by in-app purchasing and in-game ads. And he also identifies what he calls the 'checklist effect' – the sense of pressure you get when you're given a list of achievements to make in the game. Do you get that feeling? The edge of worry about whether the core game is sufficiently interesting to make grinding to check the list off worth it; the vague panic at the enormity of the task before you.
Are games obscuring their core experiences with needless flim-flam?
Now's your chance to buy Britannia – Ultima creator Richard Garriott's put his secret-filled house in Austin, Texas, on the market, listed at $4.1 million. Comes with observatory, grotto, air-conditioned barn and lagoon. Could be more Medieval-looking, mind. Here's a video from a US property programme, Secret Spaces, which covered the pile a while back.
Reddit user sneakypanda86 has built Taiwan in SimCity 4 over the course of nine months.
The north American results for Nintendo's Zelda Flipnote Studio competition are in, and they show off the amazing skill Flipnote users have developed. But best are Nintendo judge's comments, which never fail to endearingly deflate the animations' punchlines. This from Miyamoto for Vokyous' beautifully drawn Twilight Princess-style sequence (pictured below): "One of the most significant creatures in the Zelda series is the Cucco. It was very exciting to see how you used them and the importance you gave them." Japanese and European/Oceania results will appear soon.