Friday means it's time to start winding down the week, reaching for a cold beverage, and being mentally stimulated by a bunch of really great commentary, criticism, and observations about video games. Right? That's what everyone does on their Friday! I better not be alone on this one.

Fine...let's get on with it.

Hey, You Should Read These

You've probably heard the story about how a former Capcom composer, heralded as one of Japan's best and brightest musicians, was outed as a fraud. Mamoru Samuragochi claimed to be deaf, yet still writing sweeping and celebrated pieces of music. Instead, not only was totally Samuragochi capable of hearing, his work was being largely outsourced to another composer. Christopher Beam spoke with Takashi Niigaki, the other composer, and came away with an incredible story of endless lies, deception, and what it's like to live with guilt for decades.

"When the symphony finally came out, critics would note its similarities to Mahler, Bruckner, and other late-Romantic heavies. The final section in particular, they said, was an obvious homage to—or a rip-off of—Mahler's Third Symphony. It amused Niigaki to hear people make this comparison. 'That's not Mahler,' he told me. It's a reference to the theme song of Space Battleship Yamato, a classic anime series from 1974. It was an important allusion, Niigaki argued, as it reflected his catholic, music-is-music philosophy of composition. Samuragochi always insisted that his music be gloomier. 'That was his request, that it sound tortured,' Niigaki said. The fact that his masterpiece contains a blatant anime reference would probably sail over his head: 'I don't think he'd get it.' Though Niigaki would never mock Samuragochi to his face, he was doing it through the music."

I'm trying to remember what I was doing when I was 12-years-old, and the only thing I can come up with is spending all my time breeding chocobos in Final Fantasy VII and getting the clock to 99 hours, 99 minutes, and 99 seconds. Madeline Messer is still playing games, but she's also written an astute essay for The Washington Post about her experience with games in the mobile world. In short, she's compiled a host of compelling data suggesting there's an incredible bias towards boys when it comes to playable characters, a point that probably needs addressing.

"I found that when an app did sell girl characters, it charged on average $7.53, which is a lot in the world of apps. After all, each of the apps I downloaded only cost an average of $0.26. In other words, girl characters cost about 29 times more than the cost of the apps themselves. Disney's Temple Run Oz charges $29.97 to become the only girl character. Sometimes there are small differences in being a boy or a girl — at one point in one of the Temple games, a boy receives a shield, whereas a girl gets a burst of speed — but nothing to warrant a huge price tag. And some of the girl characters, like the $9.99 Emotika Diva offered by the game Super Running Fred, are not appealing.

These biases affect young girls like me. The lack of girl characters implies that girls are not equal to boys and they don't deserve characters that look like them. I am a girl; I prefer being a girl in these games. I do not want to pay to be a girl."

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These Crowdfunding Projects Look Pretty Cool

  • Orion Trail wants to mix The Oregon Trail with Star Trek, which sounds pretty great!
  • Dead Scare imagines the zombie apocalypse during McCarthyism in the 1950s.
  • Chainmail Bikini will compile comics designed by and aimed at female game players.

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Oh, And This Other Stuff

  • Dan Adelman explained why Axiom Verge will have premium pricing.
  • Jeb Wrench argued for more games to focus on friendships, not romance.
  • Leigh Harrison made the case for why Far Cry 2 remains such an important game.
  • Katherine Cross outlined how far we've moved past the QTE, yet have so far to go.
  • Raph Koster took a look at online communities in today's warped environment.
  • Laura Parker spoke with Jonathan Blow about his grand ambitions for The Witness.
  • Jake Muncy dug into Wind Waker's story to find a much deeper meaning about faith.
  • Keith Stuart doesn't give a shit if Notch is strange, he's always be thankful for Minecraft.