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187

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for sitting in coffee shops and completing cryptic crosswords, then high-fiving anyone present.

  • Of the many perennial gaming discussions I’d permanently switch off, what constitutes a game would be near the top of the list. Up there with “is it art?” it adds nothing to the universe, and only seems to exist so people can dismiss things they didn’t enjoy without the bother of forming a coherent argument. Anna Anthropy appears to agree. “Here’s what we do when we enter into these debates about the value of our work: we concede the right to determine the value of our work to others: typically, to people who have a vested interest in undermining that value. Of course self-described formalists are bristling at the arrival of all these games that don’t fit their definition of games: they want to keep being able to write blog posts from a position of authority.”
  • Apparently something called Pokemons came out recently. I can tell, because my Twitter feed is full of adults talking about it. Simon Parkin took a look at the phenomenon that ensures Nintendo stays profitable no matter how mad its consoles. ‘”Morality in the story is one of the core things I think about when making these games,” says Masuda. “I think anyone who has the capacity to play the game will inherently be in a privileged position; they are above a certain level of poverty to even own video games. This means they might be in a more favourable position to change the world when they grow up.”‘
  • And talking of which, Rich Stanton reveals on Eurogamer about he went from Pokemon player to Pokemon battery farmer. “I had a male and female Bulbasaur, so bred a few baby ones to give away. Innocent enough. Soon I’d be hatching ten Bulbasaurs an hour, minimum, among so many others.”
  • Christian Donlan is a genius. That’s well established, but furthered by his suggestion on Eurogamer that more games should be inspired by bad TV. Except he’s so, so wrong to evangelise the AWFUL Storage Hunters, when there’s the AMAZING Storage Wars to watch. I don’t know how I can even look at him for that. “That’s the thing: Storage Hunters is perfect for video games. On the absolute most basic level it’s already a sort of roguelike – if you think of permadeath as running out of greenbacks, and status effects as having had a fist fight with a pawn-broker outside of an all-night Denny’s after you ate too many breakfast burritos. Someone clever could ensure that the bidding wars are turned into interesting resource-heavy battles, while the characters would fit snugly into the class set-up of a game like Borderlands or Krater. I’m afraid I’ve thought about this: you could even call the whole thing It’s a Tarp!”
  • The entirely ignorable GMA nonsense awards were this week. However, out of the back-slapping festival came one good thing – attention for games journalist Dan Douglas’s Play The Pain Away piece, on how gaming played a key role in his recovery from a serious mental breakdown. “Though I was, by now, devouring books, films, and whole seasons of streamed TV, none gave me the same sense of immediate reward. Strange, perhaps, that an apparently leisurely pastime should be seen in the same context as work, as a replacement, but parallels between grinding in RPGs and hacking away in monotonous jobs are obvious.”
  • And from the other side of the Great Divide, indie developer Michael Todd told Polygon’s Darren Orf about how his depression is a key factor in his journey through game development. “Despite this tempest in his personal life, Broken Brothers was an artistic success for Todd, with many seeing beauty in its simplicity. It eventually caught the attention of Valve, a developer known for its Steam online store. It wanted Todd to expand the game and then sell it on Steam. For months he tried, and worked, and coded, but eventually gave up. He couldn’t keep going.”
  • Chicago is the best city on Earth. Here’s proof.
  • And here’s how to make anyone interested in science. Grover.
  • Music this week is Lucas’s Lucas With The Lid Off, because I worry how long it’s been since you last watched Michel Gondry’s incredible video.

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founding robots of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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