Don’t call it a comeback. Please don’t. Basically, Jim’s Sunday Papering has been scuppered by the fact someone’s apparently stole his laptop. Some people really need drills in their eyes, eh? Which leaves me to dust off the old WordPress login and compile a list of the fine (mostly) games related reading from across the week, while trying to link to some Jim-esque ambient noise rather than some girls singing in half-harmony about fanzines and blu-tack. Go!
- I haven’t chewed over this one properly – it just arrived in the inbox this morning, courtesy of James Andrewartha – but Jonathan McCalmont’s piece “Seeing Like A State: Why Strategy Games Make Us Think and Behave Like Brutal Psychopaths” strikes me as provocative and powerful. When people tie games onto the theoretical-political stage it can seem awkward, but this seems both useful and necessary. Good stuff.
- And the game which made me aware of me slipping into monstrous tyranny most pointedly gets its release. Fate of the World kind of just dropped somewhat surprisingly, but Denby was on point over at Beefjack with an enormous two-part interview. Their site’s down right now, but worth saving for when it’s back up and active.
- This impressed me. You may remember a School-Shooter-mod doing the rounds. Well, The Escapist interviews its creator who methodically explains why he did it. Which is cold as hell, to the point of sociopathy. Well worth reading just for the mental work out. Essentially, it’s because videogames are fun and mean nothing. Nothing means anything in games. It’s just a game. Of course, what he doesn’t realise (or rather does, and doesn’t care – fundamentally, he’s either a bit thick or a troll/agent provacteur) is that by making a game that so carefully says games don’t mean anything… well, that’s showing how expressive games can be. He showing that games totally express a message by creating something which just argues that the medium is inherently nihilistic. That’s a statement too.
- Probably the biggest piece I’ve seen on Dickwolves, in The Boston Phoenix. It’s slanted a little one way – one paraphrase strikes me as particularly unfair – but does lay out all the information and how far it’s gone beyond the (defendable) initial comic. It’s an open shame that Penny Arcade – who I like a lot – went the way they did with this. While RPS avoids them, I’m fine with defending a cartoonist making a joke involving rape. But a cartoonist openly mocking rape victims getting offended is, to say the least incredibly insensitive and it’s no surprise that without a real apology, this one is going to hang over Penny Arcade for a long time. Which when Penny Arcade has done as many enormously positive things in the world of gaming, is a real fucking shame.
- Sinister Design has a crack at the nuts-and-bolts semantics of one of gaming’s more awkward phrases. What does an RPG actually consist of at an atomic level? It’s a methodical approach – so that some of the earlier points that are rejected are a little obvious – but that all adds to its final position.
- Frustratingly, I haven’t listened to this yet. GAMBIT are doing a series of podcasts about the history of looking glass, interviewing the main players. The first one’s up, and is with writer/designer Austin Grossman.
- Tom Bissell and Simon Ferrari go head to head to talk games criticism.
- John Simpson recalls his experiences on Gadaffi. Lots of interesting writing around the Libyan situation, but this one stuck with me.
- I stuck this Werner Herzog profile-interview in the Sunday Papers document so Jim could read it. But fuck it, you can too. This is just plain fun. Hail Herzog!
- And Walker forwarded me the most popular autocorrects in 2011 this morning, which left me with tears on my face and trying to actually say the best ones aloud to delightful fiancée when she was in the bath. And breaking down cackling..
- God, Simon Sweeping The Nation knows me. He pointed Pris at me, as the sneery trashy-girl pop which always works for me (The Blonde –> Kenickie lineage). Their smarter lovelorn side is shown with Crying After Kennedy , but my The Waitresses/Slits/Shampoo clever-dumbness of Blu-Tack Baby is the one I’ve got on repeat. No prizes for pinpointing the immortal bit with the spoken word exchange and the doo-doos and the “Oooh-fuck”.