The Skin of a Rhinoceros

Tim Cook, writing in Businessweek:

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.

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Twitch Adds Game Development Category

Polygon:

The Game Development category was launched on Oct. 16 and works exactly the same way as a category for a specific game on Twitch. But in this case you’re tuning in to watch people develop games live, rather than watch someone playing a released title.

“We conducted a Twitch Town Hall session at PAX Prime which is when we let our community share ideas they would like to see implemented on the platform,” said Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, Twitch’s director of community and education. “The idea of having a section for game developers was suggested and it resonated with the audience, so that inspired us to add it as a category.”

Twitch has yet to hook me, but this might do the trick.

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Nintendo Sees $244M in Profit

Nintendo:

With respect to “Wii U,” Nintendo released “Mario Kart 8” globally in May, which has continued to show steady sales, as well as “Hyrule Warriors,” released in September in the overseas markets, which has gained popularity. The worldwide sales of the “Wii U” hardware and software were 1.12 million units and 9.4 million units respectively.

[...]

Since the May release of “Mario Kart 8,” the “Wii U” platform has been experiencing improved sales momentum.

Mario Kart 8 remains far and away my go-to Wii U game. I love it. My fianceé loves it. I frequently listen to the soundtrack at work. (Some choice words here.) When I can’t sleep, it’s enjoyed with a nightcap. Not to mention that it’s challenging. Five months after release, I’m still chipping away 100cc stars.

Yours truly, June 1, 2014:

Nintendo gambled for positive reviews two weeks before launch, is now chalking up at least $40 in games to every US and Canadian Mario Kart owning household, and prays that their Trojan horse will be the spark to move units. Since release, the game has received stunning accolades, Club Nintendo has been brought down by what can only be assumed as immense traffic for free games, and at least one Wii U newcomer is being tugged at by curiosity.

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Clash of Clans Nearly Crushed Kansas City

The Kansas City Star:

“Maybe I need to cut back some of my hours on it,” Cain said in July. “I think I’m going to cut back on it a little bit.”

Cain was laughing at the time. He may not have been aware that his coaches did not find humor in the situation. The frustration intensified later that month as the Royals frittered away their temporary lead on the Detroit Tigers. As the season burned, “Clash of Clans” acted as the fiddle.

I just started playing Clash of Clans. What a terrible experience. From the get go, it’s clear how developer Supercell is laser focused your wallet. To build your city, upgrade defenses, or recruit an army, you need builders. To get builders, you need gems. Other than the pinches of gems that trickle in every day or so, you’re teased to pay up. 500 gems for $4.99, 14,000 for $99.99, and everything in between.

The real game is whether or not you can beat the game at its own game; can you last without spending a dime. Unbelievable how people subject themselves to prolonged periods of this crap. In my defense, it serves as a great Pomodoro timer.

Congrats to the Royals on the win. On to Game 7. Such a fun series.

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RBI

2014 World Series, Game 2, Bottom of the 6th: Billy Butler’s single brings Lorenzo Cain home, putting the Royals in the lead 3-2, kicking off an inning long rally that would lead to a game winning victory.

Watching this, I was immediately reminded of the wave of pride felt when landing Little League RBIs. The pride was not from the run per se. In my 11th Little League season, I averaged .016 at the plate. I wasn’t expected to hit. I was a decent fielder and had a good arm. It’s likely I was left in to bat simply because I was not the worst of the 10-12 man team. Close, but not the worst.

I’m not sure what it was about specifically about Butler’s RBI, but the memory of this feeling came racing back the way they do when the smell of ABS hits your nose after opening up your first action figure since 1992. There was something potent about it.

In an instant, I was reminded that I’ve always been a supporter. Whether it is acting as consigliere, assisting behind an email account, or starting a record label solely because I believed in the record, I’ve always been one to recognize deserving talent and do my best to help said talent get where they need to be. Even with a .016 batting average, I never tired of trying to get my teammates home. And there was no better feeling than getting the star player across the plate. For a moment, Number 1 needed Number 9. Bunting with a man on was infinitely more fulfilling than swinging for the fences with none. (Yes, even I expected to put one over. Every kid does.)

Thanks for the sense of identity, Butler. Congrats on the win.

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Chris Kluwe’s #Gamergate Piece

Chris Kluwe:

All the real gamers? They’re the developers now, the reviewers, the writers and the players who remember a time when you couldn’t download a virtual copy of your game, but instead had to go to a Toys“R”Us and hope they had it in stock. The real gamers, both men and women, look at your frantic rantings about “ethics in videogame journalism,” and they shake their heads sadly, wondering how you could get sucked in by some script-kiddie /b/tards and conspiracy-nut celebrities gleefully using you as a smokescreen for misogynistic hate. They look at the rich diversity of games that exist now, and they are THRILLED, because no one ever thought we’d get this far, and real gamers like PLAYING GAMES.

I know game developers, personally. I know game reviewers, personally. You know what else I know? That both developers and reviewers know each other quite well, because this industry used to be very small. One where you had to be a gamer to want to make a game, or to write reviews, because the money certainly wasn’t NFL money. It absolutely wasn’t the billion-dollar industry it is now, with games pulling in just as much as blockbuster movies. It was a group of people, doing what they loved, making games, and playing games, and a lot of them are still there, and they’re friends!

In true Kluwe fashion, this piece is delightfully entertaining, well written, and cuts the bullshit.

Speaking of Toys”R”Us, remember these things? Am I dating myself?

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Official Elder Scrolls Books Coming March 2015

Official Bethesda Blog:

Not since Encyclopedia Britannica’s heyday have volumes of books looked this cool and demanded to be on your bookshelf. With The Elder Scrolls Online, two volumes covering “The Land” and “The Lore” feature never-before-seen art and extensive lore surrounding the game. Meanwhile, by popular demand, the Skyrim series offers the first opportunity to get all of the game’s in-game text across three volumes.

I always thought it would be great to read written versions of heavy-narrative games. Even with multiple “choose-your-own-adventure” storylines, the writers could choose a plot line to get the point across.

There are plenty of game universes I want to explore (Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, and World of Warcraft to name a few), but don’t have 60+ hours to spare on side-quests, menu navigation, and controller mechanics. Don’t even get me started on the time dolled out to obsessive character creation.

While these Elder Scrolls “lore” books may not be my ideal solution, they are certainly a better intro to the universes than spin-off, expanded, and/or non-canon storylines.

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The Verge Reviews the New Nintendo 3DS

Sam Byford, The Verge:

The 3DS is worth owning for the same reason the Wii U is: its software library is spearheaded by Nintendo, one of the most consistent and talented developers in the world. There’s no doubt that smartphones have taken a big chunk out of the DS’ user base, but all that proves is that a whole lot of people bought a DS because it was first to what we would now call smartphone-style games. In 2014, many smartphone games are fantastic; very few of the fantastic ones are traditional video games. And if you like traditional video games, you should absolutely own a 3DS.

I love my Wii U. Really looking forward to owning a New Nintendo 3DS.

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‘My opinion is I hate it.’

Dialog between Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Midnight in Paris:

GP: Would you read it?

EH: Your novel?

GP: Yeah, it’s about 400 pages long, and I’m just looking for an opinion.

EH: My opinion is I hate it.

GP: Well you haven’t even read it yet.

EH: If it’s bad, I’ll hate it because I hate bad writing, and if it’s good, I’ll be envious and hate all the more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer.

If you’re not sold on this exchange, I’ll do you one better. A beautiful film. Made for nostalgists like myself.

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‘An irredeemably dark version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’

T.C. Sottek writing for The Verge:

Still, it’s important for reasonable people to speak up, if only to set the terms of reality — something Gamergate’s most hardcore supporters don’t even seem to grasp. Gamergate’s echo chamber is an endless rabbit hole of paranoia, like an irredeemably dark version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The entire affair is built on trolling, counter-trolling, anger, and ignorance; Gamergate’s forums exhibit deranged skepticism in almost everything, including vicious doubts about every woman who speaks up against harassment and threats. Entire threads have been devoted to accusing Sarkeesian and other recipients of hatred and violence of running false-flag campaigns to elevate their own status. In their world, everyone who’s not on their side is a “shill” who’s lying for attention.

Not long ago, I was celebrating the social brilliance of Twitch Plays Pokémon; a weeks-long, virtual slog with an estimated 658,000 participants that, looking back, actually had tremendous potential for mass frustration, intimidation, and organized harassment. Instead, the community-at-large generated spontaneous and fascinating politics, factions, deities, usurpers, and home-brewed mythology that eventually panned in favor of progress and the completion of the game.

Needless to say, I am completely floored by the idiocy and insanity of Gamergate.

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