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The Sunday Papers

I thought I was done with print.

Sundays are for boarding up the windows, counting the canned goods and panic buying videogames. Also, for doing things for the first time.

  • Every year the Interactive Fiction competition attracts inventive entries in the words-you-play genre. Every year, Emily Short writes smart-words-you-read about the entries she likes, and it’s worth spending a day diving through the round-up of her favourites, before playing the games for yourself.
  • Fans of extended metaphors should check out Will Porter’s love letter to Fallout 3, in which he explains why it’s one of the best games of the past generation, and hopes internet forum wars, at least, do change.
  • QCraft is a Minecraft mod built in partnership with Google as a way to teach quantum mechanics to kids. VIDEOSGAMES. Spyridon Michalakis, one of its creators, wrote about the project this past week. “For example, we decided that to prepare a pair of entangled qubits within Minecraft, you would use the Essence of Entanglement, an object crafted using the Essence of Superposition (Hadamard gate, yay!) and Quantum Dust placed in a CNOT configuration on a crafting table (don’t ask for more details). And when it came to Quantum Teleportation within the game, two entangled quantum computers would need to be placed at different parts of the world, each one with four surrounding pylons representing an encoding/decoding mechanism. Of course, on top of each pylon made of obsidian (and its far-away partner), you would need to place a crystal, as the required classical side-channel.” Of course.
  • This is a little slow in the build up for my tastes, but as a prompt for thinking about such things, Hitbox’s piece on Designing Game Narrative is a useful resource. Also, pretty graphs.
  • Speaking of which, Nottingham’s GameCity happened this past week. I’ve never been, but from Twitter and IM I assume it’s a conference about videogames fuelled by karaoke and good times. Splash Damage’s word machine Ed Stern was there, talking about how to write gud, and he’s put up a helpful post of resources to help you write gud too.
  • The Stanley parable came out this week, and sold all the copies. I liked Keza MacDonald’s spoiler-free take over at IGN. “Based on its premise, I thought The Stanley Parable might be a celebration of choice, of the power that we have to break out of our life’s constraints by simply acting differently, but that’s exactly the notion that The Stanley Parable attacks. I found it very uncomfortable to play at times, like I was trapped in it – it’s the closest a game has ever come to replicating that feeling of being stuck in a repetitive dream. The title screen – a recursive image of a monitor displaying the same Start screen – reflects that unease.”
  • Your weekly dose of gaming controversy: the Indie Custom Cube. Designed as a Magic: The Gathering-style card game featuring indie developers as cards, the game quickly caused anger, the official site was taken down, and at least one of the developers addressed the complaints. This seems to me more like an issue of naïveté than malice.
  • Secondary markets around videogames are kind of fascinating, and one already exists for unreleased, crowdfunding gem, Star Citizen, where enterprising users are re-selling crowdfunding rewards that are no longer available publicly.
  • No matter how big a PC die hard you are, you can’t get away from the looming new consoles. But Martin Robinson at Eurogamer and David Valjalo at Edge Online both wonder if maybe Christmas belongs instead to Nintendo. In this, the year of Luigi.
  • Game journalism journalism fiction.
  • I like ambient terror-drone only slightly less than Jim, so music this week is a step-by-step guide to how we chill.

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Graham Smith

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