Here are my impressions of Infinifactory, please trust them

Infinifactory

These days, in this horrifying new era of ethical games journalism, it's important for writers to be totally upfront by divulging every aspect of their personal lives, everybody they've ever been friends with, every secret they've ever held and anybody they might have kissed along the way.

So before we proceed with this article about a puzzle game that I like, I feel the need to disclose a number of potential conflicts of interest.

  • While driving along a country road late at night in 2002 I accidentally hit and killed the CEO of Ubisoft with my car. This triggered a clause in his contract that made me the new CEO of Ubisoft. Despite my best efforts to dodge my newfound responsibility, I held this position for three months until I learned the true meaning of Ubisoft. Shortly afterwards the original CEO appeared from behind a desk and told me that he hadn’t died at all, and that the spirit of Ubisoft had been inside me the entire time.

  • As a prehistoric multicellular cyanobacteria, I shared the same primordial puddle with an anaerobic organism who would later go on to work in the QA department at Sega. For several million years we produced free oxygen together through a primitive form of photosynthesis and ultimately triggered the global oxygenation that precipitated the largest extinction event in Earth’s history. As such I have not reviewed any Sonic games since. And whenever Sonic comes up in editorial meetings I turn my back so as not to subconsciously raise Sonic’s profile among the team using my compelling range of facial expressions.
  • Was once in a plane crash with Sid Meier and woke up on a mysterious island where nothing was as it seemed. It was on this island that I gave Sid the idea for Civilizations II, III, and V.
  • Did the Lady and The Tramp kiss scene with some guy from Games For Windows Live, except instead of a strand of spaghetti it was one of those twenty foot long Subway sandwiches they do special for catered parties and it took us both forty five minutes to reach the middle and start making out.
  • Once discovered a tiny hidden door in my apartment that allowed me to crawl into Brian Fargo’s mind, experiencing the world through his eyes for fifteen minutes at a time. This would later become the inspiration for the video game ‘Messiah’.
  • Until the mid 90s I was part of a cool biker gang that one day discovered an abandoned baby crying alone by the side of the road. Scooping the child up and swaddling her in my leather jacket I vowed to raise her as my own, teaching her the ways of the open road as we rode together for years. On her 18th birthday, the girl — no, the woman — turned to me and said “Steve, I must go now. This life of chaos has equipped me with the skills I need. You are the closest thing to a father I have known. You have taught me to act with grace and civility, to fight injustice, to chase the sunset, to live the dream. And now it’s time to go it alone, or my name wasn’t Jade Raymond all along.”
  • Owned a dog that looked a bit like Ken Levine.
  • Once rolled down a hill with Gabe Newell, just laughing and laughing until we were laying side by side in the grass, looking up at the clouds, pointing out the shapes until, somehow, I don’t know when it happened, we were holding hands and our voices fell quiet and we just lay there, we just lay there for what felt like hours, and the sleepy clouds drifted by overhead and the setting sun painted vast orange shadows across the sky, and we finally just didn’t care about anything other than that one moment.

Okay, we're good. So Infinifactory is a puzzle game from the guys who made SpaceChem. It’s essentially a SpaceChem sequel in three Minecraftian dimensions, a game in which you must construct an automated assembly line that reliably spits out a particular arrangement of blocks. You build a factory that assembles products. Here is a screenshot.

Infinifactory

You do this by placing blocks about the level, laying down conveyor belts to ferry component parts into positions such that they can be welded with other blocks to form the product that you’re being asked to build. The game gradually becomes more complex as it adds different kinds of blocks with new functions, such as sensors that you can hook up to pushers that nudge parts in different directions. In this manner the game challenges you to build ever more complicated machines, with each level having multiple solutions. Here is another screenshot.

Infinifactory

Infinifactory is available on Steam Early Access right now. It’s really good fun, if rather difficult, and I think it's worth a purchase even at this stage in its development. I hope that you can trust my opinions. Please trust me, I truly believe I am a trustworthy person. Tell me what I have to do or write so that you trust the things that I say. I will divulge any part of my past, no matter how personal, if you think it is relevant to my ability to write honestly about this game. Just, please.

War Thunder
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ZombieNeith avatarFrymaster.127 avatarDannOK avatarinurashii avatarChaz avatardarstia96 avatar+27
Shriven Avatar
3420
2 Years ago

Steve, now might be a good time to disclose your romantic relationship with the games producer. That being former Eurotrash star Lolo Ferrari who coded the AI and UI aspects of the game and, who you are currently "seeing"

Now would be a good time.

Edit: Steve is only "seeing" the essence of Ms Ferrari. She past away some time ago and he is currently taking over the recommended dose of extra strong Lockett's.

9
unwanted Avatar
769
2 Years ago

Thank you for telling us this. Steve didn't want to disclose that for some reason. Typical unethical journalism.

2
Dog Pants Avatar
1388
2 Years ago

Lovely lampooning Steve. I fear you've opened Pandora's box though.

7
madeofsquares Avatar
10
2 Years ago

As expected, there's some real joyless fuckwittery in the comments…

7
fadiekay Avatar
7
2 Years ago

I hate to break it to all of you, but NO mainstream media outlet requires reviewers to disclose anything about a movie or book or anything else they are reviewing. Reviews are OPINION pieces are not required to have any disclosure. Rodger Ebert's review of "Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill" contains no reference to the fact that he is a good friend of Russ Meyer and that they are in fact making a movie together. I think that had little to do with the consistently good reviews he gave Russ Meyer, those were mostly because he was a fan of boobs. When people talk about ethics in journalism then mean when one is reporting on FACT and as much as people want to think that game reviews are news, they are not. They are an expression of the OPINION of the person playing. I have games in my steam library that I have only played for a few minutes and will never play again, because they were recommend to me (essentially reviewed) by friends and I didn't agree with their opinion.

6
is800 Avatar
3
2 Years ago

But if I can't pretend that journalists are being unethical about something, what excuse do I have to dig into their private lives and harass them?

2
Breadache Avatar
2
2 Years ago

Disclosure is only for conflicts of interest. No one thinks an opinion on it's own is unethical, unless a conflict of interest exists that needs to be disclosed. You've described outlets that have never been held accountable for this, almost as if to say standards for one can't improve because the precedent is set already everywhere else. This is wrong. Rodger Ebert should have disclosed his friendship so people could make up their minds whether to excuse it or not. He can have an opinion, he can publish everything he wants to, but disclose conflicts of interest first. It's not as complex or inconvenient as this author would have you believe.

1
Stinkflipper Incarnate Avatar
269
Stinkflipper Incarnate(3 days 1 hour played)
2 Years ago

I came here to read about a game I've been looking forward to, and maybe discuss it with the community here. Fat chance of any real discussion on Infinifactory happening now. This was just dumb, Steve.

4
The Great Gratzby Avatar
113
2 Years ago

There's no way you killed the CEO of Ubisoft with a car.

Everyone knows you need a yew stake and a crucifix.

4
MrJinxed Avatar
872
2 Years ago

Why was this article even posted?

If you want to talk about your feelings towards Gamergate or ethics in general, then why not write an article about that instead of doing whatever it is you're doing here?

I learned nothing much about Infinifactory other than I now know there's a game with that name now, but the very core of the article has nothing to do with the game, and it shows since if you take out all the bullshit written, you'll find no real substance.

If you're going to write about a game, why not make an effort instead of whatever this is.

3
Cockwaddle Avatar
3
2 Years ago

Actually, it's good

3
Dog Pants Avatar
1388
2 Years ago

There *are* three paragraphs at the bottom about Infinifactory.

2
MrJinxed Avatar
872
2 Years ago

Yes there *are*, but they're overshadowed by the rest of the "article" and as such it makes them almost meaningless as it is clearly not the focus of what the journalist wrote, seeing as how the "ethics" part of it took up over what.... 3-4 times as much space of the article.

But yes there *are* those 3 bottom almost meaningless paragraphs, you're right.

1
marblize Avatar
4
2 Years ago

That's the joke.

3
Tovias Avatar
1024
2 Years ago

Maybe PCGamesN is finally catching up that news are for dorks and being a controversional twat is where is at. I mean, it worked for Kotaku and PCGamer, why not here?

-3
ZombieNeith Avatar
4
2 Years ago

So, who from Infinifactory is paying you Steve? :^)

2
ScytheMonkey Avatar
67
ScytheMonkey(16 hours played)
2 Years ago

I would write that I enjoyed this review but being that I once met an itinerant chimneysweep named Steve, and by met I mean "hit with my car", I feel that the only ethics here is to recuse myself from commenting. Shit too late.

2
bishop149 Avatar
4
2 Years ago

Whilst I understand and sympathise with the urge to poke fun and discredit those Grumble Grunt morons, I don't think that humorously lampooning the entire concept of journalistic accountability / disclosure of interests is exactly a smart way to do this.

2
girlslikerevenge Avatar
3
2 Years ago

Steve,

Can I call you Steve? Because we all know your name isn't really Steve. Our team of reporters has uncovered via a series of unrelated tweets and facebook posts that you really don't exist at all. The entire thing is unveiled in my 1hr39min YouTube essay entitled "Why Anita Sarkeesian is a bitch, also Steve lied." I urge you to watch it and see the REAL truth.

2
Lunatitch Avatar
148
2 Years ago

If you can't see the importance of disclosing an active relationship with a PR agent of the company you're writing about, you might want to reconsider your job choice.

.

Nice to see you're being honest about not giving a shit about ethical journalism though. At least we know whose writing to avoid in the future.

.

[Edit] Sorry, thought this was a dig at PC Gamers disclosure update.

1
hahnchen Avatar
93
2 Years ago

You didn't give a shit about ethical journalism until someone penned an opinion you didn't like.

2
Frymaster.127 Avatar
6
2 Years ago

In case you're out of the loop:

Important ethical disclosure is, of course, important, but he's parodying the demands of a group called GamerGate, who, mystifyingly, objected at the lack of disclosure on an article featuring a woman who the journalist, some time in the future, had a relationship with. This is obviously bizarre and worthy of ridicule, but it's to be hoped this doesn't interfere with serious dialogue on ethics in the industry in future

0
DannOK Avatar
11
2 Years ago

Yes but it was also proven later that he was a beta tester for that game. His name was in the credits and the creator even acknowledges that he was a beta tester. It is still an ethical issue which he should have disclosed

5
Chaz Avatar
159
2 Years ago

Yes, he was a beta tester on a game he never posted an article on.

Ethics.

-3
DannOK Avatar
11
DannOK replied to Chaz
2 Years ago

Except his RPS story 'admission quest' that features her game at the top of the article and his kotaku piece on GAME_JAM. But yeah it is about ethics

5
Tamschi Avatar
4
Tamschi replied to Chaz
2 Years ago

Here is one of the instances where he praised it explicitly: https://archive.today/NeJis#selection-387.664-391.0

"Anyway, standouts: powerful Twine darling Depression Quest, [...]"

Praising a game one is involved with first out of three out of 50 definitely warrants a quick one-sentence disclosure blurb. Slamming it would too. In any other case that's not just forwarding a plain alphabetical list, it would be at the very least good form to do it.

If a journalist reports on something they have an unexpected relation to they have to disclose that to their readers. Otherwise they aren't doing their job properly (e.g. according to http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp, but that much really should be common sense).

It's true that this one in particular isn't his largest undisclosed likely conflict of interest, but outright denying it exists is ridiculous if the evidence to the contrary can be found relatively quickly.

1
The_B Avatar
32
The_B replied to Chaz
2 Years ago

Neither of which were reviews, and the RPS story was literally just a list of games that had been greenlit for Steam.

3
Stinkflipper Incarnate Avatar
269
Stinkflipper Incarnate(3 days 1 hour played) replied to Chaz
2 Years ago

edit/delete.... this is stupid. Now you've got me arguing here. What the flying fuck was the point, PCGamesN?

1
The_B Avatar
32
The_B replied to Chaz
2 Years ago

I'm very aware of the article, I literally re-read it before posting. But like you said, it's fifty games. He's giving a barely passing nod to three of them by using three words (and sure, maybe the header image, but his involvement or not it was still arguably the most well known game to RPS readers of that list at the time). Hardly the massive black spot on ethics it's been spun into, and even a full disclosure blurb would end up longer than the rest of the text on the thing in the article - which would wind up exactly like the piece here we're all commenting on is lampooning.

It's easy to boil the argument down into thinking it's "no disclosure" versus "all disclosure" but that's not right at all, but no-one is arguing for no disclosure or for denying any. Where it's appropriate is fine, but being too overzealous practically insults the intelligence of the reader, at least in my mind.

2
Tamschi Avatar
4
Tamschi replied to Chaz
2 Years ago

@The_B: No matter how I look at it, he's endorsing it extremely strongly in that one sentence, while presenting it as semi-objective property of that game. It's the kind of thing I would quote in promotional material given the opportunity.

In such a situation personal involvement definitely must be either disclosed, or the article has to be posted as opinion piece and not news. Otherwise, there's a fairly bad clash between what the reader would assume about the reliability of the endorsement given only the current article.

(In my opinion the assumptions about the recurring readership are irrelevant, since they would likely be equally misinformed even if they were keeping track of that game specifically. The "being overzealous" argument is also not very strong, since "The author beta-tested Depression Quest." wouldn't even take a twentieth of the screen space used to give exposure to that game over any other in the list. There's no way it would hurt the article (or the author).)

0
The_B Avatar
32
The_B replied to Chaz
2 Years ago

@Tamschi If you think that sentence and that context is endorsing something "extremely strongly" -it's literally prettying up a press release that he could've posted ad verbatim - then quite frankly I'm not sure what to say. (Again, not translating this to every case scenario out there, just this case specifically is an almost perfect illustration that Steve's lampooning within this article.) It's not a buyers guide, it's not some insidious brainwashing scam, it's literally an offhand bit of fluff to make a story seem less dry than a press release. Barely worth making a song and dance over compared to -actual- ethical breaches.

And you're saying you think assuming the audience is irrelevant, that's your opinion that I'd disagree with - RPS has always been fairly against dry news reporting, so tailoring it to the audience is pretty high on their list of priorities, as a regular reader I can tell you that a fair few Twine games were (and still are) a fairly regular feature on RPS at that point, and so one getting on Steam was a fairly significant thing, even if it wasn't Nathan specifically who ended up posting that story.

1
inurashii Avatar
6
2 Years ago

this is beautiful

1
mromegaz Avatar
1
2 Years ago

This comment has been deleted by a moderator.

1
Tovias Avatar
1024
2 Years ago

I can't even tell if you are upset or poking fun, maybe both.

Is this about Tyler Wilde and that whole ordeal? Because anyone can spot the conflict of interest in that case, not like it matters in this industry, everyone is butt buddies here and whoever puts the circle jerk in doubt is the public enemy number 1.

1
hahnchen Avatar
93
2 Years ago

It's OK Steve, there's no need to disclose anything unless you post an opinion that your audience might not like.

It's not that we care about disclosure, we just use "hauling before an ethics subcommittee" as a threat.

1
Bomberlt Avatar
3
Bomberlt(5 hours played)
2 Years ago

Is this article about Infinifactory or about your personal issues?

1
Discordian Avatar
1
2 Years ago

I enjoyed this article with my hands and feet and didn't even have to put on my red karate outfit to do so.

1
Elinda Avatar
1
2 Years ago

Very neutral review. It tells me everything I need to know before making the life rendering decision on parting with $22.49 of my hard earned gaming money.

Also thanks for the levity.

discloser: My son, whom sprang from my loins, also reads and comments on game reviews. He biases me muchly.

1
DhulKarnain Avatar
18
2 Years ago

Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses

1
grasmat Avatar
19
2 Years ago

dafuq? Whats happening to you steve O.o

0
darstia96 Avatar
11
2 Years ago

interesting

-1
Mozalbete Avatar
57
2 Years ago

Whelp, this is why GamerGate exists. These "journalists" will do whatever they want, and when people ask for something ethical, they will write an article mocking ethics. They just have no shame, they don't even know what ethical journalism is, and when some people remind them of it, threatening their circles of friends, they will even write entire articles with mockery, like this thing.

If you just hate ethical journalism say it, you don't need more than 4 paragraphs of mad ramblings, just say

-1