On Hong Kong

Blizzard’s (a)moral, and incredibly fast-moving Hong Kong fumble (repeated over the past few days by the NBA, and by extension, Disney’s ESPN) has suddenly become a lightning rod of a reminder of the nature of the gaming business. Companies and corporations aren’t our friends, and keeping a healthy distance informed by a baseline antagonism (someone wins, someone loses, and the winner is never you) is always the way to go.

On the China microblogging site Weibo, Blizzard’s statement in Chinese was: “We will, as always, resolutely safeguard the country’s dignity.”


The above statement is just so unbelievably bad. B-A-D. That’s what really got me over the hurdle: A video game company defending the “dignity” of a government, of any government? I’m sure this message was not intended to ever come out of China, but I don’t think the general response (from dubious congressmen, no less) to it has been overstated, at all, given the magnitude of this mistake of a comment, and in fact has turned the situation from a gaming moment into something of an international-level incident.

Our world is worth fighting fo… wait, what?

I know, I know, some of y’all already can’t wait for this to blow over to get back to WoW Classic in peace: consumer “activism” 1)“grassroots collective organization of consumption or its withdrawal” per Lawrence Glickman is no-one’s idea of fun, exactly, and there’s actually something of a point to the idea that we shouldn’t grow too attached to our “consumer” identity (shoutout to Jason Schreier).

Buying games doesn’t make anyone a gamer (shoutout to my Steam backlog) – playing ’em does. So there’s that.

Still, many such consumerrilla camps have indeed sprung up in a matter of hours, not days: The Blizzard portion of Reddit is pretty much on fire right now (and will continue to burn, surely), there are pro-Hong Kong Mei memes popping up, and fans are sending GDPR requests en masse.


References   [ + ]

1. “grassroots collective organization of consumption or its withdrawal” per Lawrence Glickman

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Destiny 2 Incompatible with AMD Phenom II?

Update 31 Oct, 2017:

Original story:

I just published my List of Games That No Longer Run on AMD Phenom a month ago, and then Bungie’s Destiny 2 launches on Oct 24th. The launch has raised the ire of tons of Phenom II users, as the game seems to be crashing mightily on those processors. In the developers’ known issues thread, the following SSSE requirement is mentioned:

  • SSSE3 Required: Destiny 2 will not run on processors without Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 (SSSE3).

Wait, what? Usually, the common problem with games not running on Phenoms is their missing SSE 4.1+ support! This time around, the problem is SSSE3 (“Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3,” not to be confused with SSE3!), which is unfortunately supported in AMD processors only after the Bobcat architecture, released in early 2011.

Destiny 2 is only the second game released with the SSSE3 incompatibility, with Resident Evil 7 (which was later patched for support) being the first. The system requirements for the game are as follows:

Minimum Requirements Recommended Specifications
Operating System
Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
Processor: Intel
Intel® Core™ i3 3250 3.5 GHz or Intel Pentium G4560 3.5 GHz
Intel® Core™ i5 2400 3.4 GHz or i5 7400 3.5 GHz
Processor: AMD
AMD FX-4350 4.2 GHz
AMD Ryzen R5 1600X 3.6 GHz
Video: NVidia
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 2GB or GTX 1050 2GB
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970 4GB or GTX 1060 6GB
Video: AMD
AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
AMD R9 390 8GB

Destiny 2 is, honestly, the first game with minimum requirements that make me finally wonder whether it would actually run on my 3.8GHz Phenom II. All other incompatible games to date have had much lesser minimum requirements. Will investigate once the situation changes; other Phenom II users have reported that the game ran fine in beta, however.

Crucially, Bungie have added the following modifier to the SSSE3 incompatibility:

PLEASE NOTE: We’ve seen a number of reports of crashes on CPUs that fall below our stated minimum specs (E.G. AMD Phenom II series). We are investigating the issue and will attempt to fix the crash, but these CPUs are below minimum spec and are not officially supported.

What do we know to date?

  • Fixing the classic SSE4.1+ incompatibility has not been a major hurdle to developers at all.
  • I am so far unsure of the seriousness of the SSSE3 incompatibility, but it was fixed in Resident Evil 7, and
  • The Destiny 2 betas apparently did work for Phenom users.

Given that the betas did work – which comes off a little bit as false advertising -, the chance of the issue being fixed is relatively high. Whatever changed since launch? All in all, though, I must advise Phenom II users to not purchase the game and wait while the team attempts to amend the situation.

Update 31 Oct, 2017:

Destiny 2 received Hotfix on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 10 AM Pacific (5 PM UTC), which fixes the SSSE3 incompatibility with AMD Phenom II CPUs.

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The Forthog DLC Is Cancelled: Long Live Forthog

We’re hopefully not going to be in the business of reporting news, but the Lord of the Rings: Shadow of War “Forthog Orc-Slayer” DLC has been effectively cancelled, with everyone getting refunds: “The DLC will be withdrawn from sale and will be a free download for owners of Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Anyone who has purchased the DLC will receive a full refund.”

In an announcement, a WB Games community manager explains how the logistics of the project became insurmountable, and notes that

We now recognize that tying our donation to sales of the DLC was not the best way to achieve our goal of offering financial support to the family and creating a lasting memorial to Michael Forgey. 1)https://community.wbgames.com/t5/Official-Announcements/Forthog-Orc-Slayer-DLC-Upate/m-p/1674265/thread-id/663

In case you are still interested in the overall topic of the ethics of immortalizing someone, in a DLC or otherwise, I wrote about it from a philosophical point of view in the article, “The Calculated Corporate Cynicism of Shadow of War’s Charity DLC.”

Admittedly, I was quite miffed about the DLC, so I gave the article a feisty title. There are some nice things in the article, too.

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Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

United Front Games, best known for their atmospheric Hong Kong city brawler Sleeping Dogs (2012), is rumoured to be closing down.

The weight of this rumour is not slight, and deserves all the extra attention we can bring to it – true or not, at this point in time we don’t yet know for sure – because, once again, the string of events that led us here reads like yet another example of Konami-like profound executive failure.


But, to start from a beginning. According to United Front producer Dan Sochan, Sleeping Dogs – which never quite lived down its reputation as a True Crime game – actually started out as the original game Black Lotus, which was then subsequently bought and slated by Activision to be the next part of their True Crime game series as True Crime: Hong Kong. After the publisher lost faith in the game’s market prospects, with Activision’s Eric Hirshberg noting in 2011 that “The finished product was not going to be at the top of that genre,” 1)https://www.engadget.com/2011/08/01/square-enix-snags-rights-to-true-crime-hong-kong-from-activisio/ it was ultimately poached (sans the True Crime moniker) from Activision by Square Enix, who would then release the game as Sleeping Dogs in 2012. 2)https://www.engadget.com/2012/06/06/the-true-story-of-sleeping-dogs-non-true-crime-origins/ (more…)

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A Post About a Blog: Edmund McMillen

Alert, alert! @EdmundMcMillenn has recently opened up a new Tumblr dev blog for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

That ends the newsworthy portion of this post; certainly, the opening of the Tumblr is major news to any and all Isaac buffs (like myself! I am your Golden God!), as McMillen has promised a weekly stream of teasers from the forthcoming Nicalis remake: videos, gifs, screenshots, information, and music. Diptera Sonata, below, won me over very quickly:

The main thing that I’d like to draw attention to, however, is McMillen’s personal Tumblr, which is now largely a domain for nigh-daily Q&A for fans. McMillen’s answers are astonishingly open, honest, and gripping, and recommended reading for anyone interested in the making of art and video games.

I’ll let one of the entries do the talking:

i do enjoy answering questions that might help people, i know i could have used some advice when i was younger so i usually answer those. i think its important when being in the public eye to put as much as you can out there so people get a better idea of you as a whole person, instead of the caricature  the press/internets paint you out to be 1)http://edmundm.com/post/70353083303/do-you-enjoy-having-your-fans-a-lot-of-people-look-up

Here are some more past examples of the kind of answers that you can expect from McMillen. (more…)

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