No major post today, but I’ll leave you with this story. It’s likely we’re gonna be going on hiatus soon during the fall school session so people can focus more on their work and I’ll probably only be posting once a week if not once ever 2 weeks, so don’t expect too much. And although it isn’t a permanent hiatus, unless there’s major news in the fall, don’t expect too long a post, I’ll get back to daily posts next summer if I can make it. Other than that, enjoy these 2 stories for today.

 

We Should Be Calling The Designer of These Games Some Kind of Genius

Evan Narcisse

 

You probably don’t know his name. And you might have ignored his games. But Luke Schneider deserves your respect. And your money.

Schneider’s turned out more than a dozen games in two years, a feat that’s impressive no matter what you think of his output. And that output from his RadianGames studio has been very, very good. From the hypnotic Joy Joy to the clever hybrid Inferno, Schneider’s games have taken familiar design templates and branches them out in challenging ways tweaks them to feel modern, re-invented and fresh.

Super Crossfire adds warping to the top-down shooter genre, letting you teleport across the screen. Fluid grafted physics simulation and momentum to a Pac-man style eat-em-up. Ballistic SE manifests on the iPad as a twin-stick shooter without actual sticks and lets you control gameplay with one hand. Slydris, reviewed here, takes Tetris and reshapes it into a different kind of intelligence test. I could go on, but generally feel that riffing off of familiar experiences is the best part of Schneider’s approach. Part of the fun to be had from his games is in the discovery of new tensions found in the mix-and-match mechanics.

He’s also moved from platform to platform with an ease that serves as an object lesson for bigger companies and other indies. Leaving AAA development after working on game franchises like Descent and Red Faction, Schneider started to crank out games that went up on Xbox Live Indie Games, portals like Desura and the Apple App Store.

Maybe Schneider isn’t a lightning-bolt-concept guy like, say, Warren Spector. You can see the through-line of emphasizing play style in the titles on the Epic Mickey creator’s resume. The recurring theme in Schneider’s oeuvre has been more like re-visitation. Playing something like Fluid makes you wish that present-day Pac-Man could be something like it. The same goes for Super Crossfire and Space Invaders. Where games came from and how they evolve get wrapped up in concise, appealing packages.

So, yeah, Schneider isn’t mentioned in the A-list of game design heavyweights like, say, Patrice Desilets, Hideo Kojima or Kim Swift. But I feel like he’s doing something that’s worth paying attention to. These games speak to a new entertainment landscape where small nuggets of attention chain together to a larger engagement. That is to say, the tiny bursts of pleasure you get from a quick session in Slydris builds an increasing reward the longer you play. When one game-maker’s creations have demonstrated a sharply-honed fusion of speed, craft and conceptualization like Schneider’s have, there’s probably something that other game-makers could certainly learn from. And, you out there, Temple Run addicts and scoffers-at-mobile-games alike, pick a RadianGames release to buy. Chances are that you’ll find yourself surprised at you’ll be diving into.

and this one last one.

 

School Seeks To Expel Bullied Torture Victim

Author: Artefact

 

Yet another Japanese school has caused a bullying scandal, this time by insisting a bullying victim who was tortured with dozens of cigarette burns leave the school as the ghastly state of his arm might bother classmates.

A 16-year-old student at a Sendai city high school was the victim of sustained bullying from 4 classmates starting in November of 2011, culminating in “a test of courage” involving repeatedly burning him with cigarettes.

He suffered over 20 cigarette burns in one attack, and as graphic photographs of his forearm show, this left him with significant scars. He was also repeatedly beaten and attacked, eventually becoming unable to attend school further.

According to the boy’s mother, in August the school finally tackled the incident, with the bullies apologising for some of their actions, but the school also told her they wanted the boy to “voluntarily” drop out of the school, “as the scars on his arm will disturb other students.”

In response, his family has raised the stakes – by reporting the incident to police as a case of assault. For once, police have accepted the complaint and are apparently investigating.

The school has refused to comment on their handling of the incident.

It should be noted that the school’s response occurred in August and July – well after the bullying suicide incident in Shiga played out into a national scandal and a major criminal investigation.

Amongst Japanese there appears to be increasing exasperation at just how rotten the nation’s teachers and schools have become, although if this can occur even after the issue was repeatedly addressed by the PM and cabinet and police and media descended upon a sacrificial school there does not appear to be much prospect of progress:

“So now they expel the victim…”

“Are there really schools which are this horrible?”

“This is grotesque.”

“These will never heal completely. Too harsh.”

“I simply cannot believe a school could be this nasty…”

“The school’s message is that weaklings who get bullied should just stay home!”

“Can’t they fix this with surgery? He won’t be able to get a job unless he can keep his arm covered all the time.”

“It’s as bad as the one in Shiga…”

“It’s even worse than Shiga!”

“I suppose this time the bullies have powerful parents as well. Expelling the victim is just…”

“The bullies should be expelled for smoking if nothing else.”

“I just feel sick when I hear about how these schools handle this stuff…”

“What does this school even mean by it ‘disturbing other students’?”

“This is well within the bounds of criminal assault. Those bullies ought to have been promptly arrested and that would have been the end of the matter!”

“What kind of school expels bullying victims?”

 

And that’s all we’re gonna cover tonight. G’nite everyone.