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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for recovering. Whatever the week dealt, you can sit back with a cup of hot drugs and have a rest. Ah, that’s the stuff. Time to collect ourselves, and also, perhaps, collect some writings about the state of videogames in the 21st century. That’s the right century, right? Sheesh.

  • Eurogamer look back at a game that is fairly regularly reminisced, Grim Fandango: “The story of Manny Calavera – a grim reaper brilliantly reimagined as a travel agent – uncovering a web of corruption in the Land of the Dead is part Mexican folklore and part film noir. Given how well Grim Fandango blends the latter with a traditional adventure game template makes it a wonder why this hasn’t been done more, since both genres are predicated on crafty problem-solving, deception and wry humour.”
  • This is the most I have ever seen written on the subject of Creatures: “One day, when I was visiting my adoptive mother in Texas, I sat at the old computer and shuffled through old floppy disks. I was looking for things I had written as a teenager; I had saved all those stories to disks too. And this was how I found all of these labeled disks, one after another: a name and a date. A name, a date. A name, a date. I realized these were all Norns.”
  • Nightmare Mode has a piece about the history of game audio: “Having acoustic effects in games is important even if you might not pay any attention to them. If the sound doesn’t match what you’re seeing you will subconsciously sense that something is wrong, or you just won’t connect with what you’re seeing. That’s why most games go to great lengths to have different acoustic environments to create the correct sense of space even if the effect is often subtle. This wasn’t the case before the first EAX sound card came out, however.”
  • RPGs and the problem of sympathetic characters. On Fallout 3’s character creation process: “By all accounts you should connect to this character the most, after having experienced literally everything they have as well. But you don’t. Walking through Fallout 3’s wasteland, I’m more struck by the sense of loneliness and despair than I am any type of grief when I’m killed by a fellow raider. Why? What is it that whenever my character is killed or damaged, I have absolutely no concern for his wellbeing? It’s because the character building aspects of role-playing games are fundamentally broken and prevent sympathy from the player.”
  • Dan talks to the guys making The Sims 3 expansions: “It’s a pretty organic process. One of the fun things about working on The Sims is that you can reflect on your own life and the ideas you find are totally relevant to the game. Very few people have fortunately been at war, so there aren’t that many human beings who can relate to that experience. Everyone can relate to the idea of wanting to be a star or basically to being a human being with basic human needs, so the first step is we look inward, at ourselves. What kind of things we want to explore.We look for the absolute ideas, the things that encompass human truths within them, like the desire to be recognised is and have your worth reaffirmed, that’s at the core of showtime.”
  • On Defender’s Quest. On Piracy: “AAA is doing a terrible job, period. They are focusing their efforts on people who are not their customers. If they poured all that effort into pleasing their own customers – the people actually paying for their games – I think they would see a major difference in sales. The only DRM anyone seems to tolerate these days is Steam’s, and that’s because Steam goes out of its way to provide a pleasant, customer-focused experience. When my brother bought Dragon Age II, it took him several hours just to wrangle with all the DRM verification. When a close friend who worked for EA bought a copy of Spore for me from the EA campus store, I couldn’t even run it because it thought the copy was pirated.”
  • I’m not sure whether I linked this exhibition before, but anyway it’s part of a positive trend for how museums treat.
  • Pat went on adventures in Finland’s games industry: “We arrived to start our tour of the Finnish games industry the previous evening to find Helsinki black, freezing and bizarrely dead. December 6 is Finland’s independence day, a celebration of the country’s official split from Russia in 1917, and a night residents apparently sit at home in a grump over a grand party held at the presidential palace for Finland’s great and good.”
  • Why videogames are good for you. Do we need still these articles to be published?
  • Are modern DLC systems a bit like cheat codes of old?
  • RPS chum Richie Shoemaker is making a magazine about sci-fi gaming, and there’s a serious PC focus.
  • The 20 most beautiful bookshops in the world.

Music. Here’s something electronical, thanks Kad.

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Jim Rossignol

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