The Polygon Community Index: Some of the best of 2012


Hey there Polygon community. I'm thinking that as time goes by we're going to have a ton of awesome community created features, and other interesting reviews/posts here on the forums, and you're probably going to want to track some of them for future reading and referencing.

Therefore I'm starting a yearly topic, which runs from the beginning of a calendar year to its end. In this case we've just blasted through October, so this initial collection will cover from last month (October) until December 31st.

After that? We start a new index! I'll update the page every Sunday beginning 11/11.


[24] Welcome to the Polygon Community! by Shaun McIlroy

Hi there readers, and welcome to Polygon. Are we having fun yet?

Allow me to introduce myself. My names Shaun McIlroy, and I'm the "party boat" Captain of sorts here on Polygon. I bid you welcome to our community.

One community made of many voices, collectively known as the Polynauts.

For the past ten months the Polygon community, or Polynauts, have made a home for themselves on both the Polygon hub, and within the Gaming forum over on The Verge. During that time many friendships were formed, countless games of Halo were played together, and a wealth of community focused content emerged.

[24] Halogon: Polygon's Own Halo community and matchmaking thread! by mintycrys

Here is the main thread for the Polygon Halo community. We've been operating since about June of this year, and have scheduled numerous successful group playdates, many culminating in massive BTB pubstomping or custom game madness. Since we have what is undoubtedly the biggest and best console multiplayer event of the year in Halo 4, Polygon has graciously allowed us to have this thread set aside for general Halo discussion and community matchmaking.

[25] Video Game Pet Peeves! by ProjectNatalie

Unskippable cut scenes right after a checkpoint for a difficult boss/semi-boss battle. I remember playing ME1 where you climb this hill and they drop off one of those huge Geth colossus things and like 7 regular troops and you get two boxes to hide behind. Playing on Insanity that early in the game, almost everything was close to a one-three shots for a death depending on what you got hit by. I think its the mission where you rescue that-one-character-I’m-not-going-to-name-for-the-sake-of-those-who-haven’t-played-it-yet, actually. Right before you enter the underground part. Talk about frustrating.

What have you guys been through that's caused frustration when playing your favorite games? :x

[25] Gayming thread of pink polygons! by McDuck

Thought it might be nice to start an off-topic thread for gaymers. We could talk about the representation of gay people in games, the latest news concerning gay rights, or whatever. So, who out there is a gaymer?

[25] Why 'Pay to Win' Isn't the Biggest Problem with 'Free to Play' by DocSeuss

Generally, people share one primary concern about the upcoming release of any Free to Play game: that it will be "pay to win." It's a reasonable concern, of course. In any competitive multiplayer game, if the best weapons are unlocked by money, then it means that the winner is whoever has the most cash to spend.

There are other concerns as well, such as overpriced content or community fragmentation. Will they have to spend $15 on a single sword, such as in EA's Dragon Age Legends Facebook game? Where Microsoft Flight Simulator X cost $60 for 23 airplanes and the entire world, Microsoft Flight is $101 for Alaska, Hawaii, and seven airplanes (some of which don't even include cockpits). Even the non-Blizzard side of Activision has never proven to be so greedy. What if you have to pay to get some new map, and if you didn't, you couldn't join your friends?

[26] Scripted Sequences and Removal of Player Control by mintycrys

They're supposed to put you on the edge of your seat, but the excitement turns to frustration for some gamers who find themselves unable to complete the action. Game designers respond by making these sequences much easier. They simplify the button commands needed to pass the segment, reducing it to something so simple that it's rendered pointless. Where's the danger and excitement in going through a harrowing sequence only to press one button at some predetermined time in order to survive the event and continue the game?

[26] Longevity through frustration or: How I took off my rose-tinted glasses and learned to love old-school videogame design by miketheiron

This post was prompted by a short twitter exchange about the sheer joy and baffling frustration that comes with playing the iOS version of Ghost Trick. Fun, engaging, and brilliantly inventive, Ghost Trick is almost a perfect mobile game, but parts of it cling to a legacy of game design that should've long since gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Each gaming generation brings with it new technology that, when combined with a bit of human genius, leads to ever more surprising and innovative gaming experiences. During these transitions we also say goodbye to a few old friends of game design, and more happily bid farewell to the odd annoying relative that has well and truly outstayed their welcome.

This post is about the latter; about how some contemporary game designers clearly didn't get the memo, and how I mourn the passing of some of these little irritations despite myself.

[27] A few tips on reading comments by D Z

There are a couple features in comments that probably aren't surfaced as well as they could be. Wanted to make sure people were aware of them. It improved my comment reading life immensely, and hopefully it will improve yours too!

[27] What's your preferred video game combat style? by Nipah

Hello, my name is Nipah, and I like to punch things in the face. ... in video games, of course.

Whether its an RPG, MMO(RPG), or even a FPS, I like to hit things... preferably with a fist, and hopefully in their head. If a game gives me the option, I'll be some berserk, up-front melee guy all day long.

Sometimes, however, a game is not cool enough to allow me to wield my hands as deadly, deadly weapons, and instead decides that I need something sharp or blunt and attached to a stick in order to actually do damage... And while that is reprehensible, I am willing to go along with that idea as well. If given the mandate of no fists, I'll readily make due with two swords, maces, axes, spears, sharpened rocks, anything at all.

[27] Scariest game you've played? by ProjectNatalie

So with Halloween coming around the corner I believe I've accumulated enough courage and figured it's about time I get around to playing one of those types of games. Haha, admittedly I am kind of a wuss when it comes to jump scares/paranormal things in movies but I haven't experienced much when it comes to gaming. I have a PS3, 360, and gaming capable PC at my disposal and am looking for a scary game or two to play by myself. I figure who better else to ask than the wonderful Polygon community? =]

With all that being said, what's the scariest game you've ever played? Were you able to play it to completion? Please try to keep it spoiler free.


[28] The Evolution of Browser Gaming by Nuclear Prinny

The first thought you have when you hear about browser gaming is when you see games like Farm Ville, CityVille, Runescape and all sort of mini games mostly made in flash. Browser gaming is evolving for the greater good. What can we expect from it? Well, let me begin.

When I mention Browser gaming, the first thing that comes to mind are flash games. However, I'm not going to be talking about Flash games, or Java games or Unity games. I'm talking about games that will natively run in the browser ecosystem. How did we get to this point? Why should it matter to you? You might be wondering. Those were my first questions when I saw the first draft of the technology.

[29] That Game You Love Can Be Bad by GunFlame

I think it's very, very important that gamers start to understand that games can be viewed and assessed objectively. That your beloved game can actually be pretty stinky, while that game you hate can actually be pretty damn impressive.

Good and Bad do exists, they are not the same as Like and Dislike. We all have our opinions on games, and that is a great thing. But we should also accept that as well as our subjective stance on game, there is also an objective one. Sometimes they both with cross at some point and it'll be clearer why you actually like a game. It may even clear up why you like that bad game too. There could be an objective component that is actually good buried under all of the junk.

[30] Polynauts SUPER Halloween Pumpkins by Sneaky Spy Guy

Hello, friends of the soul and welcome. I thought it'd be fun to share our images of the pumpkins we carved this year, that is unless you're too cool for them! Onto it then. My three year old brother loves Angry Birds so we decided we would each make one for him! You'll have to forgive me for the picture quality.

[30] Where do you think PC gaming is headed next? by DarthRiven

For years now, PC gaming has been at the forefront of gaming technology, be it on the software or hardware side. The past few years have seen innovations on the hardware side start moving to other platforms (motion sensing, touch), and with recent releases such as Assassin's Creed 3 being firstly released for consoles and Unfinished Swan trying something totally new with game concepts, I was wondering where you think the future of PC gaming lies? I think back to when the original Half-Life introduced us to such concepts as scripted events and an AI system that wasn't just "everything shoot at player"; to Portal bringing us, well, portals; to the modding community, past technologies like HDR debuted in Lost Coast...

In short, what new gaming concepts, programming features or hardware innovations do you think will become the cornerstones of PC gaming in the next 5 years?

[31] Who is Lee Everett, and what does he mean to you? by James Dator

Let's start by saying that it's my intention to discuss Lee from Telltale's The Walking Dead in terms of his growth as a character over the four episodes released so far. As such, it should be assumed that by reading this post, and the subsequent replies you're likely going to be given a heavy dose of spoilers along the way.

[1] Requiem for Reach: Halogon Community Playdate by Mintycrys

Welcome to the thread for Halogon's first community playdate since moving into the new digs (shoutouts to the Polygon overlords). I'm Mintycrys (GT: Mintycrys), and I handle all Halogon-related activities, including boosting sessions and multiplayer playdate scheduling.For those of who who don't know, Halogon tends to hold game days on Sunday afternoon/evening because that seems to be the time when most people are available to play.

[1] Just a Thought: Video Game Music by TheOmegaSpartan

So I just had a thought and I will have many more. I will dedicate these "Just a Thought" threads to anything in particular pertaining to video games. This thread will be about the soundtracks found in video games. Music has existed in games for as long as I've been playing them. Like in many other forms of media, music adds a level of atmosphere to a particular scene or scenery. From the beeps and bloops of the classic era of gaming to the full blown orchestras found in many triple A games today. You have a favorite as do I and everyone else. But today, as I was deciding which games to place in my favorite or all time for this thread I was reminded of why I love The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

It was the music.

It is stunning as it is memorizing. I simply cannot get enough of it and I've played it many times with the incentive that I'll get to hear more of this wonderful and uplifting soundtrack. There are many other games and their OST that capture my attention but none so more than Wind Waker. Maybe it's nostalgia or my bias, I don't know, but I will consider it one to remember for years to come. Are there any soundtracks in games that you consider amazing to yourself and why?

[1] Requiem for Reach: Halogon Community Playdate by Mintycrys

Welcome to the thread for Halogon's first community playdate since moving into the new digs (shoutouts to the Polygon overlords). I'm Mintycrys (GT: Mintycrys), and I handle all Halogon-related activities, including boosting sessions and multiplayer playdate scheduling.For those of who who don't know, Halogon tends to hold game days on Sunday afternoon/evening because that seems to be the time when most people are available to play.

[1] Good mechanics are good mechanics by Phlakes

So Halo 4 reviews are coming in. Gamers being gamers, and Call of Duty still being the cool thing to hate, Halo 4 borrowing a few elements has been a bit controversial.

Now, there's a logical foundation in that. People don't like CoD. Therefore, things in CoD or associated with it are also bad, right?

Nope. Well, not necessarily.

[1] Your favorite video game box art by Kinapuff

Whether the game itself is excellent or complete trash, there are without a doubt a long list of amazing box arts out there. Some paint a picture of the games concepts and strengths, where as others take a simplistic and stylized approach - all just as valid in the ever so tough struggle of catching our eyes attention.

So what are some notable box arts that you've come across, and that you still favor to this date?

[2] The Three Elements That Make Games Compelling by troyork

Games like the new Need For Speed (Most Wanted) will be the inspiration of many rants that I will be posting. There is something about this game that I have to complain about nearly every time I see some news regarding this game. I've already vented about Criterion’s obsession with hypersharing to the degree of projectile vomiting (eerily enough, a producer for Criterion lashed out some words against Facebook games for essentially doing the same thing). So, you might (but probably not) be asking "what makes you complain now?"

[2] JRPG! I Choose You! by GunFlame

When I was a lad, the first console that I actually owned (see - bought for me) was a NES. The same Christmas that I got this, I also had a couple of games too; Solstice (which is ace!) and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Neither of these are RPG's, neither are JRPG's (in how the term is usually used). But there was something about Zelda II that I really liked, it was the element of growth. I liked the overhead map, and the scale that the world seemed to have. There was something about the villages and the people. It seemed so huge to what I had seen before. It set a marker.

[2] AC3 is a silly game. This is why. (VIDEO, YO!) by PaddyStardust

Howdy doody! As I've been playing Assassins Creed 3, I've noticed that I'm playing it a bit different to how the game wants me to play it. Watch this, all will become clear!

[2] What is, in your opinion, the best style of video game development? by DarthRiven

There is no denying that game studios these days have very separate approaches to game development, marketing and release. For instance, we have a studio like Ubisoft Montreal that has been on a yearly (or close to) release cycle for most of its recent history. And the games they've produced were arguably very good; sometimes iterating, not always innovating but in general entertaining. Then again, we have studios like Mojang AB that choose one game and try to keep it as fresh as possible by changing it up and adding as many features as possible with updates instead of releasing sequels.

On the other hand we have a studio like Valve that really don't give a damn about things like Release Dates, customer expectations and, well, hyping their games up in general. And yet, even without these elements that most other studios would have you believe are crucial to the process, Valve have one of the highest average Metacritic ratings and are more profitable per employee than even Microsoft or Google. However, this leads to certain projects never quite reaching ideal expectations and spending 7 years in limbo, if you know what I mean.

My question to you is, what do you think is the best approach to game development management? Would you rather have one game that continually betters itself? Or do you prefer the "we'll release it when it's ready" approach, or are you a fan of the tried-and-tested "pick a release date and get the job done" way of thinking?

[2] A Halo-ed Life by Chilly

Life is surreal. A series of random occurrences, a pinball bumper ride that we occasionally help to guide with our fingers on the flippers' control buttons. Or, more apt, a series of falling objects that we have to guide to settle into stable patterns before the playing field fills up too much and overwhelms us. Thank you, Alexey.

I am a lifelong video gamer. My earliest memories include playing a home console Pong. Even before I was a teenager, I was playing Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac Man, etc. at pizza parlors, rollerskating rinks, amusement parks, but most notably in mall arcades. Some Christmas more than 30 years ago ('79? '80?) I received an Atari (not yet called) 2600. Ostensibly it was for me and my brothers, but I had asked for it and I played it most.

[2] What Retro Game Pushed It's Hardware To It's Limits? by The Relic

As the header says, what retro game (and by Retro I mean before the Sega Dreamcast) do you believe looked so graphically awesome you had a hard time believing that it was running on the hardware you were playing it on?

All set? Good!

[2] Wreck it Ralph: A video game movie that understands video games by BreadKnight

Took long enough right? As gamers we've had to endure some pretty crappy movies, the ones we consider good still didn't even really understand anything about the games themselves. Game movies have often been about finding a game with a large fanbase and pumping out a shoddy film in the hopes of making a quick buck. Even more so video game movies just plain don't get made, every day you hear about some movie that's in development hell or stuck on hiatus.

Wreck-It-Ralph is doing it's absolute hardest to change this. Not only does this movie tell a genuinely good story but the amount of gamer in jokes and cameos(Including one....weird one) is staggering. It's also a pretty good look at the change that games have undergone in the last 30 years.

[3] Buying Video Games, The Issues People Like Me Have, And The Solution, THE PACKAGE SYSTEM by wolfflame21

I am a Junior in High School who is trying to get amazing grades who did awful the past 2 years, like C's and Ds awful! Now that i'm getting a job, I now have money for my two loves, Video Games and Comics. Obviously this is about video games, not the latter. People like me who work all the time and love Video Games have to pick and choose games, trade in games, and you lose your love, you start to think its a chore.

Well I am trying something to spark it again! So without further ado I present THE PACKAGE SYSTEM!!!

[4] Game Live-Streaming and Recording by Temjen

Heya, Polygon!

For a while now I've been off-and-on playing with livestreaming some games. Slowly but surely my collection of equipment, and therefore my overall quality, has been improving. I'm almost where I'd like to be now: I've got a 'phat pipe' for good up and download speeds, an XSplit license which removes a lot of headaches, a good headset for PC games and a mixer/mic for console games. The only thing I can't do at the moment is stream/play console games in HD, as my setup for that uses a component cable splitter. Not only am I forced into SD on my nice big HD TV, but the splitter I'm using makes one side too light and the other too dark. It also freaks out when the screen is mostly white.

[5] Guess that game-game by Kinapuff

Figured this would make for an interesting thread should enough people participate.

The rules are these:

  • Simply post a screenshot from a game, preferably a cropped one featuring something recognizable.
  • Others may guess which game it is by replying to the comment in spoiler tags.
  • Hints may most definitely be given.
  • Try to guess/reply to unsolved posts before submitting your own, although this is not a requirement.

[5] Art, Games, and Other Things, Part 1: Why Video Games Aren't Exactly Art by DocSeuss

"What Is Art?"

It's the question every intro-level art teacher I've ever had has asked. It's a question everyone should know the answer to, but, sadly, many don't. Instead of merely popping into the thread and expecting you to take my word at face value, however, I'd like to try to prove my answer, so... let's ask a different question.

"What isn't art?"

Why isn't the photocopier sitting next to me in an art museum? What about the mouse in your hand? How about the shirt you're wearing, the rocks in the ground, the trees in the park, the sound of a honking horn? Why hasn't someone put them in a museum? Why aren't they art?

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