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101

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for considering how lucky you are. Or are not. Consider it, and then move on to make things better in either case. Because only so much of what happens can come down to luck. Like this:

  • Future Publishing, in its ailing wisdom, has put an end to the PC Gamer podcast. Fear not, though, for something else has sprung up in its place, sounding a lot like a PC gaming pub: The Crate & Crowbar. It’s happening weekly, and features former and present PC Gamer UK staff, as well as Sir, You Are Being Hunted illustrator Marsh Davies. Have a listen.
  • Kotaku quote Rock, Paper, Shotgun as they make the case for scepticism about the new Thief game: “I recall the guards being dumb, too. I recall guards in just about any stealth game I’ve ever played being dumb, so I don’t know how badly I can knock the execution, as much as I might regret the gap between that and the intention.”
  • A Kane & Lynch retrospective: “Kane & Lynch doesn’t ever humanise its characters, and that’s not just because the script is lousy. Instead it plays on that expectation an audience has for this kind of emotional reveal. Kane & Lynch never do anything heroic, never mind charming, but that doesn’t mean you don’t expect them to. In its own way it’s a kind of setup, and one that takes aim at another ever-present trend in games with cinematic ambitions – one that most often finds expression in that ultimate of red herrings, the moral choice.”
  • I’ve never seen Twitter light up with as many rejections of a premise for an article as I did when this appeared.
  • What is a good death? “Unfair is the floor dropping away to spikes without warning. Unfair is the boss using his screen-filling ultimate attack five times in a row out of sheer randomness. Unfair is enemies spawning behind you in an area you’d thoroughly cleared. Unfair is really annoying. The ‘perceived’ part is equally key, although less obviously so. Players don’t play the game as it exists in the development notes, they play the game in their heads. The big signpost marked “Warning: Spikes” counts for naught if the player never bothers to read signs.”
  • Kieron “Writes Iron Man” Gillen remembers Edge magazine.
  • A post-mortem of The Swapper: “The goal of challenging people’s preconceptions regardless of what they were provided plenty of substance for the story. We knew we needed a way of representing these different points of view without bias, and we knew that however the Swapper device itself was involved in the story its use would have to reflect the deep-seated epistemological and metaphysical problems that face those two points of view. You can almost see how the whole story logically arises from those few initial premises.”
  • Gamasutra on the Skyrim mod, Falskaar: “Velicky is gunning for a job at Bethesda, and the 19-year-old is hoping that Falskaar, his recently-released mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, will impress enough to earn him a look-in at the company.”
  • Tim Rogers squeezes all the words out of his time with The Last Of Us: “When the story beats hit, they hit with ferocity. The story lands as punctuation every so often between great lakes of slow, quiet geographical progress which zombies or psychos see fit to interrupt with frequency. This is a story about — no spoilers — a middle-aged man and a young girl walking across the United States of America, on foot. By the end of the game, they’re just barely talking to one another about topics more diverse than “Oh my god”. Yet as it takes place between long periods of silence and horror, this minimal character development at last comes across as wise, sad, and sublime.”
  • Movie plots as maps/flowcharts.

Music this week is Pretty Lights’ My Only Hope.

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Jim Rossignol

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