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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for visiting in a castle in the Midlands. Alternatively, for getting stuck into words. For there are so many of them.

  • London’s art and design museum, the V&A, recently put on a Minecraft exhibition. It was quite the thing: “Video games combine a lot of disciplines that the V&A holds collections in anyway, such as paintings, sculpture, illustration. We also have the performance collection, so we’ve got music as well, those kind of aspects. It’s actually a discipline that crosses a lot of our collections. From both a curatorial point of view and a learning programming point of view, that’s where we are coming from.”
  • And while we’re talking Minecraft, The Guardian looks at why it has reached 33 million units across all platforms: “It is an organic creation, not just because every time you start a new game the whole landscape generates anew, but because it has been developed in tandem with play. Game modes, new monsters, new features, new farm animals – many have come and gone, and then been tweaked and changed and put back in – often in response to user feedback, like one giant science lab.”
  • What does Proteus sound like? “Yet what is not often spoken about is the power of video games to invent sonic geographies as well as visual ones. After all, making space is often just as much a question of noise as it is of sight. Consider the noises that define your space right now; perhaps there is some music or the whirr of a computer fan, or the murmur of traffic nearby. Some of these sounds might be unique in your life to this location, while others might be commonplace. Spaces can sound like places and they can sound like nowhere at all: the traffic of a metropolis, the gunfire reports of a warzone, the footsteps of an impossible space. What does a stone circle on Kandinsky’s island sound like? How does an 8-bit squirrel walk?”
  • Parkin on Final Fantasy 14: “Are they tears of relief? After years of toil and expectation, he must feel the liberating sense of a sheer burden lifting. Or are they tears of exhaustion? Square Enix’s 200-strong team – none of whom would have relished being dragged from their projects to work on fixing someone else’s mess – has achieved in two years what has taken most other MMO creators closer to five; these humans must be spent.”
  • Paradox’s Fred Wester ask if Kickstarter is worth it for indies (the replies are worth a read, too): “it takes no small amount of effort to make a splash with Kickstarter. There is a lot of PR legwork in getting a message to the masses, especially if that message is asking for money. It means polishing and distributing any and all “preview” material to show what the game-in-progress is all about, developing prize packages and incentives for donors, constant promotion, and a ton of time spent in areas other than actual game development.”
  • Meanwhile Cliff Harris wonders why indies all make the similar mistakes: “I fumbled and made mistakes and screwed up as a new indie dev myself. The good news was I did that as a hobby, with a secure job, and I never spent years on a game to learn that lesson. I probably shouldn’t expect anyone to take a more considered approach to seeking advice than I did (although to be fair there were VERY few indies back then. these days we are swamped with experienced devs offering advice).”
  • Dan Golding looks at Escape From Woomera: “In the current climate of Australian politics, with its focus on election campaign talking points and slogans like ‘A New Way’, ‘Choose Real Change’ and ‘Stop the Boats’, it’s illuminating to consider that not only was one of the first—and still one of the most important—politically-focused videogames Australian, but that it confronted an area of political debate that still divides the nation: the fate of asylum seekers. In a neglected corner of Australian history—the nexus of videogames, political history, and the asylum seeker debate—lies the story of Escape From Woomera.”
  • How rocks were designed in The Witness.
  • Eurogamer talk to Blizzard about the road for Diablo III: “We acknowledged early on the Auction House did have an impact on the moment to moment gameplay,” Mosqueira says. “The whole motivation behind Loot 2.0 is to make sure playing the game was the most fun, the most rewarding and the most satisfying way to get items. That resulted in the philosophy of dropping fewer but better and more epic items. We want players to be in the game and playing. Ultimately the Auction House will still be out there, but we don’t want players to feel they need to go to the Auction House. If they want to, that’s their own choice. But we don’t want them to feel they need to go to the Auction House.”
  • The symbolism of flowers in Gone Home.
  • If only we could just take in the scenery, now that would really be something.
  • Kotaku’s list of “classic” PC games.

Music this week is Manual’s Awash.

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