May 2, 2012

NOTES: Ski Safari

‘Notes’ is a new fortnightly

‘Notes’ is a new fortnightly section for Game On that presents a short, curated collection of games and links that don’t fit elsewhere.


When I first decided that Ski Safari would be the featured game in this fortnight’s notes, I felt like I had uncovered something few others had seen. At that stage (the day of release), there were 55 players of the game globally, according to my iPhone’s GameCenter leaderboards.

Now, there are 105,645 players of Ski Safari, the game has been featured as game of the week on the App Store and has had glowing write-ups at a number of major outlets.

That doesn’t change the fact that Ski Safari is an outstanding little game, though. It is such a satisfying design, and even though it builds on a number of previous games it still feels fresh and original. The only reason you might not want to play it is my intimidatingly good high score of 976,810 points. It’s also an Australian game, published by the Brisbane-based Defiant Development (thanks to Nick in the comments who pointed out I’d neglected to mention this first time around).


On the back of last week’s roundup of articles focussing on the idea of the game designer as auteur, Simon Parkin did a very interesting interview for The Guardian with perhaps the most famous game designer in the world: Shigeru Miyamoto. It’s a fascinating read in two parts, with the first probably better than the second: part one and part two.

In not quite the same vein, The New Yorker did an interesting profile piece on the company behind Draw Something, OMGPOP, with a particular focus on their CEO, Dan Porter.

And finally, Hookshot Inc talks about the differences between the contemporary indie/amateur videogame scene and the world of those who created (essentially indie) games for the ZX Spectrum in the ’80s. The key difference? Today’s indies are much more connected. The Spectrum might be quite specific to the British history of videogame culture, but it’s still an interesting point to consider in the Australian context, too.


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9 thoughts on “NOTES: Ski Safari

  1. Daniel Golding

    Okay, obviously there’s been some misunderstandings. Thanks for clarifying your use of ‘gay’—in the original context, it was difficult to tell how you were using it. I erred on the safe side, which will always be my approach to comments.

    In any case, your point is taken, as I said. I’m not sure what more I can say, except that I hope these comments haven’t caused any excess pericombobulation and to offer my sincere contrafribularities on your taste in British sitcoms.

  2. Sancho

    Surprise! A pseudonymous commenter on the internet takes issue with your editorial decisions.

    I was aware of the source of the quotes when I quoted them. The point being that they passed muster for publication despite being appallingly dense and solipsistic.

    They serve as an example of the unnecessarily strained intellectualism that afflicts a lot of Game On posts and makes me, for one, stop reading what are otherwise very interesting and worthwhile contributions. I’m sure I’m not alone.

    I did not, have not, and would never use “gay” pejoratively. I may be irritated by what I perceive as the pretentiousness of many Game On articles, but I didn’t take a break from screaming “OMG so gae!” at someone on Xbox Live just to post here.

    How about “isn’t going to draw in Beliebers who are actually interested in discussing the possible homoerotic connotations in his songs.”? If that sounds more appropriate than “gay”, it kind of reinforces my point that this blog never uses a single common word where ten obscure ones will do.

    I’m aware that my anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous digitalised contributions cause me to participate in perceptual encounters with subjective examiners in a way that may refract upon my own subject as not dissimilar to the universal foramen of homo sapiens so essential to the process of solid waste evacuation, but if I didn’t think this blog was worth saving I wouldn’t point out features it shares with blogs that have died on Crikey.

    That’s all. I’ve said my piece and it’ll have to do.

  3. Daniel Golding

    Hi again Sancho. I edited your post above for two reasons. First, you were quoting some guests of Game On, rather than my own writing, and I feel an obligation to as editor to ensure my guests feel welcome on the blog, and for their writing not to be attacked. I am very happy for my own writing to receive criticism, which is why I left your quote from my Journey review in. Secondly, you used the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative, which is not acceptable.

    As to your other criticisms: thank you for the feedback. It seems to me that your problem is not so much with the ideas of Game On (as you say, we need depth and complexity) as with the writing itself. I shall certainly bear that in mind in future. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Sancho

    I say “actual games”, because Game On tends to use games a premise for postgrad pontificating that’s far removed from the experience and interests of gamers.

    The mission statement for this blog seems to be “video games are no longer a peculiar hobby that only appeals to a niche minority, but have become a popular entertainment on par with cinema and television, and should be treated as such. Now let’s talk about them in dense and excessive jargon that only appeals to a niche minority”.

    Just look at this stuff:

    These are fairly certain realities about the fiction of the game world. Can we piece together a narrative from these units?

    Unfortunately, deconstructing the hermeneutical post-constructs of masculine notionality and realised patterns of psychosexual narrativism in contemporary linguistic allusions of Justin Bieber isn’t going to draw in Beliebers who are actually interested in discussing his songs. The same goes for games and gamers.

    I’ve been hammering Battlefield 3 pretty hard lately, and I’ve yet to see someone break into chat mode and say “Hey guys! Do you think we’re discovering an interpretive key here?” or, “Nice dismount, nub. Read allegories of oppression and liberation into that situation, didja?”

    Game On certainly doesn’t need to imitate the dozens of popular game blogs that mostly recirculate publisher press releases and industry rumours, but I’m being harsh because we need an Australian voice that links up the depth and complexity of games with their popularity and cultural role, and Crikey is a perfect platform for this type of material to cross the gap from hobby discussion to proper journalism.

    Trouble is, nothing destroys credibility faster than obnoxious intellectualism.

    So, yes. I’m very happy that Game On is moving toward expressing enthusiasm for games and how they relate to culture, but doing it in a way that fits better on a public blog than an obscure thesis proposal.

  5. Daniel Golding

    Ah, quite true—I can’t believe I forgot to mention that the first time. Thanks Nick, will amend the original post.

  6. Nick

    Might be worth adding that this game was made by Australian developers, up in Brissy.

  7. Daniel Golding

    Well, okay. I do like to talk about actual games, and will continue to do so, but this is a blog that focusses on videogames culture, too. I’ll continue to talk about ‘actual games’ (as you put it) and the people that make them, but I’ll also continue to talk about videogames culture and how videogames fit into culture at large.

  8. Sancho


    Finally some enthusiasm for actual games.

    I was giving Game On to the end of the week before knocking it off my feed list, so I’m glad it’s starting to shape up more like a games blog than an issue of Street Sheet.

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