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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for listening to Nick Cave, early and loud enough to annoy the neighbours.

  • US Gamer talk to Firaxis about Civ: “We made a lot of changes to the core game. Jon Schafer set out to really change the experience and bring out something new, because the core experience hadn’t changed too much,” admits Shirk. “It was always refined. In III and IV there were new systems added, but he really wanted to change and mix it up a little bit. When you’re developing a game, the whole team has bought into it and we really liked where it was at. It ended up being a stellar platform for us to build on, but we definitely have some pushback from our hardcore fans when it came out. They didn’t feel like there was enough there. Hopefully, we’ve satiated that, but we’ve learned a lot from that core development.”
  • Two rather interesting essays, given the heavy nonsense of the past few months. I feel like they’re both missing something, but I can’t put my finger on it. Anyway, first we have, On Consuming Media Responsibly: “I often catch myself feeling about video games the way I feel about ultraviolent horror movies and “extreme” cinema: all is permitted, but all is especially permitted when a work’s creator demonstrates any self-awareness at all. I also strive for self-awareness as a consumer. I like to finish playing a game or watching a movie and, afterward, immediately seek out commentary, criticism, and analysis. Really good criticism is fun to read when it puts into words what I cannot for myself, when it can explain to me why I felt the way I felt.” And How To Be A Fan Of Problematic Things: “Especially do not ever suggest that people not take media “so seriously”, or argue that it’s “just” a tv show. The narratives that we surround ourselves with can subtly, subconsciously influence how we think about ourselves and others. That’s why creating imaginary fantasy and sci fi worlds that have more equal societies can be a powerful thing for marginalised people, who mainstream media rarely acknowledges as heroes. But even if you don’t think that media matters, there is still no reason to focus exclusively on unequal or problematic fictional worlds and narratives. If it doesn’t matter, why don’t YOU stop taking your media so seriously and stop fighting us on this?”
  • Polygon looks at the making of MOBA champions, which is an astonishing feat of forced creativity when you look at how regularly they are churning these martial buggers out, even if LoL doesn’t bring one in every fortnight anymore: “We’ve responded to player concerns that suggested we were releasing Champions at too aggressive a pace by slowing our release cadence considerably. We’re still in the process of figuring out the right number of Champions to release in a year, but with the overall slowing of new Champions, we’ve put more energy into creating Champions that have a significant impact on the way League of Legends is thought of and played.”
  • Also on US Gamer, some PC games for low-spec machines: “Gunpoint also features a noir-inspired story centering on espionage, murder, and mystery, complete with rain-soaked backdrops, trench coats, and smooth jazz music.”
  • Andy Kelly has been making some beautiful videos of videogames. Watch this one.
  • Alexander interviews Rohrer: “I don’t think it’s black-and-white for anyone who’s ever been in a situation where they’re faced with protecting small children or a pregnant spouse… I don’t even understand, necessarily, what this is about, I just needed to make this,” he says. “It’s not really logical. It sticks you in this mess, and lets you grapple with it. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? Isn’t that what meaningful expression does?”
  • FTL and slavery: “Eventually, your boarding party, with or without the freed slave, will have to fight the slavers in hand to hand combat. If you kill the entire crew, your party may find the slaves in the ship’s cargo hold. According to the dialogue presented to you, “They look at you questioningly and one asks if they’re to be released. You could use more crew but you don’t want to force them all to work for you instead…” Face to face with a cargo hold of slaves, your crew is incapable of passing up the opportunity to bring a slave on board their ship. While they feel that claiming all of the slaves would be immoral, they justify owning one slave for the good of the mission.”
  • Seems like the only non-videogame thing I do right now is watch Jonathan Meades videos.
  • Remembering Starship Command: “Starship Command was released for the BBC Micro in 1983. I came to it a few years later on the Acorn Electron, the BBC’s beige little brother. As one of the launch titles for the Electron, it stood out among the various text adventures and chunky, colourful arcade clones with titles like Hopper, Snapper and Arcadians. This game seemed different, with stark black-and-white presentation and a notably unusual play mechanic. Your starship was locked in the centre of the screen, with the rest of the universe smoothly revolving around it: both a considerable programming achievement and an effective framing metaphor.”
  • It is a gaming podcast.
  • Judge Minty is quite the thing.

Music today is Red Right Hand.

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