A castle uploaded by Redditor karmanaut.
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Minecraft and Microsoft: A Story of Hope

Games and Gaming, Gaming Culture, News

I’ve been playing Minecraft since before multi-player existed. I’ve spent thousands of hours hunting for diamonds, building make-shift dirt huts, and shouting expletives at creepers. Some of my best gaming memories happened in Minecraft’s voxelated environments. I appreciate the vital role Notch played in all of that.

That’s why I couldn’t be happier to hear that Notch has sold Mojang.

Minecraft’s success has come (and stayed) in spite of the work Notch and Mojang have done recently, not because of it. Minecraft and its community have been badly mismanaged for years; the sale to Microsoft is an opportunity to change directions and make things better.

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Mojang’s EULA Problem

Gaming Culture, News

Last week, Marc Watson, Mojang’s Customer Support Manager, dropped a bit of a bomb on Twitter:

Mojang seems to think that their EULA gives them the authority to regulate anything related to Minecraft. It’s true that a well-worded EULA can confer tremendous power (in the U.S., at least), but that power is not unlimited.

Regardless of the legality of it, Watson’s interpretation is hostile to Mojang’s customers. It’s time for Mojang to do some soul-searching. What kind of company do they want to be?

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News

Defending The Bait-and-Switch

We didn’t design this as a “pay to play” or “pay to win” game. It is designed as a free-to-play title where players can commit time or money towards their play experience, and every piece of content in the game is accessible without having to spend a dime.

So what could you pay for in the game, then? If you’d like, you can pay to expedite wait times, dig times, unit production and upgrades, cosmetic enhancements, and bolster defenses for a period of time.

Jeff Skalski, senior producer of the execrable bait-and-switch, pay-to-play new iOS version of the venerable Dungeon Keeper, valiantly attempts to defend the indefensible.

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Favorites and Tops and Bests Oh My

Games and Gaming, News

The votes are in, the dust has settled, the payola and freebies have been distributed, the whistleblowers have been silenced, and it’s time to look at the Best Of 2013. Not the best games, exactly, but the Best Roundups of Best Games. Because being relentlessly meta is what we’re all about here at LevelsOfDetail. Or maybe we’re not, and I just want you to think that we are. Which I have messed up by telling you so. OR HAVE I.

Look, let’s begin again, before I get off on another tangent. Without more ado, then: here are some of the most interesting, attractive, amusing, insightful, excessive or obviously bullshit lists of the Best Games of 2013, gathered together in one place for your perusing pleasure.

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The NSA Game asks you to decide which of two words or phrases is not on the NSA watchlist, an activity that probably puts you on their watchlist. Which would probably be ironic, if irony hadn’t been hit over the head with a shovel and buried in a shallow grave. A sentence which, in close proximity to the letters N, S and A, has definitely put me on some list somewhere.

But, you know: fuck ’em.

News

NSA Game

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Saxxy 2013 Winners

Games and Gaming, Gaming Culture, News

The winners of the Source Filmmaker competition — aka The Saxxy Awards — have been announced. Enjoy the fine Valveriffic goodtimes, below. All the nominees are here, and you can watch Valve’s honorable mentions here.

Best Short: The Mann Co. Symphony

Best Action: Chinatown Getaway

Best Comedy: Disruption

Best Drama: Till Death Do Us Part Two

Overall Winner: Lil’ Pyro Guardian

Gaming Culture, News

Whore comma Orient

“It’s the use of the word ‘Orient’, more even than the word ‘whore’, that is the issue,” Lo said. “The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities. It’s a 19th century racial-colonial conception and it’s especially painful for older people in the communities. That was a very bad time in China, and people don’t want or need to have that dragged up.”City of Monash councillor Jieh-Yung Lo

It is my personal opinion that this man is an overzealous dolt, but you know: red media meat makes politicians’ pants moist, and then they start to say stuff.

News

Jason Holtman, who spearheaded Valve’s Steam business for eight years before leaving the company in February, has a new job at Microsoft, where’s he’s apparently going teach Microsoft not to hate and fear PC gaming. When asked, he is reported to have said “It was down to a tough call between going to EA or Microsoft. When you have to choose between evil or stupid, it’s never easy.”

Witnesses claim he then began to giggle and mumble, before asking “Have you ever been driving down the road and had an almost irresistible urge to swerve into oncoming traffic?” and terminating the interview.

Games for Windows Dead

Aside
News, The Bucket

In an inspiring announcement from a massive gaming corporation, it was revealed that a large chunk of fuck was youed. Many respected analysts opined ‘fuck,’ although some also followed up with ‘you’.

Expectations were stated that a veritable Blizzard of fucks would ensue, distracting dimwits from the irony of dumbass manipulative game-company names like Activision and Vivendi, to the advantage of a gaggle of the Investing Class who wouldn’t know a video game from a goddamned bus ticket.

Activision-Blizzard executive old-fuck wunderkind Bobby Kotick explained ‘Wheee! Money!’

In related news, the usual cadre of fast-talking asshole Business Scumbags were expected to make ludicrous amounts of money on the backs of sweatshop-labor coders, designers, and artists. Film at fucking 11.

A Blizzard of Fucks

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Games and Gaming, News

Not Contributing

So I admit the fact that I have to accept a certain level of frustration with the way my money goes to places I don’t like. But the age of Kickstarter brings with it a certain amount of transparency and intimacy that games coming from big companies don’t have. That means that we as consumers and gamers can curate the kind of art and artists we want to succeed—and withholding support in the form of not contributing to Kickstarter campaigns means that we have more direct control over what kind of art populates our world.”

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Technical Peccadilloes Edition

Games and Gaming, News

We return after holidays, work, and the inevitable technical breakdowns, but we persevere to bring you another podcast! This week, we discuss the impossible: Minecraft goes 1.0, the unfortunate: GSC Game Studios and GamePro fold, and the stupid: EA continues their über-ban policy, parents name their kid after a character in Skyrim, Telltale gets caught sockpuppeting user reviews of Jurassic Park: The Game and Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera supports them, the International Red Cross opens their mouths to say that video games might be a war crime, the other shoe drops on the Playstation Vita, Microsoft makes you sign away your right to class-action lawsuits, and Skyward Sword has an unfixable game-breaking bug. And you wonder where our sunny disposition comes from. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 40 (12/10/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Tacticool Edition (11.11.11)

Games and Gaming, News

As is apropos on this Veteran’s Day, we spend most of this week’s podcast discussing the latest in modern military shooters, starting with our review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I ramble for a bit about what I’d like to see in a modern military shooter game, and why the “vision video” concept for Rainbow Six – Patriots is very much not that, Call of Duty Elite is delayed and borked, Battlefield 3 loses first week traffic numbers to a Call of Duty game, Steam gets hacked, and we talk about how Ubisoft and EA will punish us for being good paying customers through DRM. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast – Episode 39 (11/11/11)