- Oct 30, 2009
Here you can write your comments, thoughts, critics etc. about the 7th edition of the AARlander! Have fun!
The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.
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A good read, and I remember the days when Rensslaer and I both had a Prussian Victoria 1 AAR competing...those were the days.
I'm still working through NewbieOne's article. Lots there to absorb! While I would probably never contemplate a cinematic AAR, as a fan of film, I can understand how it could be done well. I've only recently begun to look into video AARs (not quite the same thing, if I'm reading NewbieOne's take correctly), such as Saithis'.
Another great issue! I only caught up with the new AARlander last month, I'm very glad it's back.
A few weeks back I offered Derahan to create ebook versions of each issue (mostly for people like me who might like to have the option for off-line or on-the-sofa tablet reading on a more classic format). Here is this month's edition for anybody interested: PDF format; or iBooks format (iPad-only).
Once Derahan decides where is best to post back issues I'll start making them available as well.
Absolutely fantastically awesome!!
In my opinion, this would be a great addition to the next AARlanders. If we put a link to the PDF version at the beginning of each AARlander, people can choose whether to read it on the forums or with a PDF. Derahan, what do you think?
One thing I really liked about the old AARlander of the Canonized-era were the interviews with AAR authors: to me they added the feel of a real magazine and were pretty interesting and insightful to read too. With the Derahan-era AARlander, I did feel (until now) that part of that "magazine" tradition - with interviews, reviews and so on - was lost, and that Derahan's AARlander was morphing into a sort of upmarket philosophical Journal where the "Great and Good" of AARland discuss the craft of writing and presenting an AAR. That was fine, because we have had some superb articles on both the "philosophical" side of AAR writing (in particular those by Mr.C, Prawnstar and Loki stand out in my mind) and the "practical" side (namely Saithis and robw's articles on AAR presentation) but I couldn't help but wonder if we could have the best of both worlds: Canonized-era reviews and interviews with Derahan-era articles. Naturally therefore I was ecstatic to see misterbean's interview at the top of this issue's article list! Suffice to say I wasn't disappointed and that that was very much the highlight of this issue for me. I'd love it if misterbean (or someone else) were to make interviews a regular AARlander staple, maybe two per issue: one of a big-name AARland veteran like Rens to draw the crowds and impart wisdom and the other of a writer comparatively new to AARland, like say NewbieOne, to offer a fresh perspective. Not only could it be a great way for "new blood" - so to speak - to earn a few extra readers and comments, it could also serve as motivation for them to keep on writing, and I'm all for that.
Interview aside though, I have to admit (in the nicest possible way) that I did feel this issue was on balance the worst of the seven Derahan issues so far. Perhaps the halving of articles from six to three (excluding the Rens interview and Derahan's announcement - which can't really be considered an article in my view as it is an announcement.) was a factor in this. Merrick's little opinion piece was short and sweet, while Fyregecko's was much longer but both essentially asked and answered the same question: Why do I (replace I with Merrick and Fyregecko where applicable) Write AARs? Although the answers were different and both were worth reading (though I feel Merrick's could have been a bit longer and Fyregecko's a lot shorter) I felt while reading that the two really could have been merged into one mass "Why x AAR authors Write" article. Given the fewer number of articles in this issue, having two devoted to the same subject was perhaps not the best idea. Perhaps it's just me though: I've always viewed AAR writing in a very similar light to that which Merrick speaks of in his article, so naturally I wasn't going to draw the sort of profound insight that say, a Gameplay or Comedy AAR author might draw.
This brings me to our only "philosophical" article of this issue (Newbie's) which - and I say this again in the nicest possible way - was disappointing. I say disappointing because I think there were several interesting points and insights buried in there to be raised. The problem was that the article was written in such a convoluted way that by the end, I wasn't quite sure exactly what point Newbie was trying to make. The article just didn't know what it wanted to be: like a young boy who wants to be a policeman when he grows up one day, a fireman the next and a doctor the day after that. I wasn't quite sure whether it was meant to be a short history on cinematic gameplay, an argument or proposition in favour of the "cinematic AAR" or an instructional piece explaining how to write one. Sometimes I felt that it was trying to be all three at the same time!
That is a darn shame, because there were some real gems buried in that piece (in particular the sixth and eighth paragraphs, which really do sum up his AAR Land's End in a nutshell.) which, if Newbie had built an entire article around those principles could have made for a really insightful "philosophical" piece. Furthermore, the three paragraphs dealing with "flow" (nine ten and eleven) could have made for a great "practical" article, especially for new writers. I reckon that if the first three paragraphs of Newbie's article were either cut out entirely or "brutally" summarised, and the points raised in paragraphs six and eight elaborated on in one article and those raised in nine, ten and eleven elaborated upon in another, we would have ended up with two brilliant articles on two different subjects - and that would have definitely added some much needed content balance to a rather lop-sided AARlander edition. Instead, we're left with an article with a great deal of potential which tried to do two separate things at once, and therefore ended up doing neither.