Sundays are for spying a glimpse of the finish line and stretching wide in preparation for the final sprint home. Sundays are for this.
- I forgot this one last week: Tom Chatfield on Wired writing about how in videogames, difficulty is the point. “Time is of the essence when it comes to almost every aspect of the field. Even the most difficult works of literature or philosophy tend to take at most tens of hours to read. Yet far simpler games can demand a hundred hours or more of play if they are to be exhaustively explored, while some online games raise the pitch of this expertise to thousands (hello, EVE).”
- Chris Livingston isn’t just funny and writing about games, he’s writing about games funnily. The rare mix of entertainment and information laying on top of one another, instead of side by side. Pretty hot. This week for PC Gamer, he marries a giant spider in a Crusader Kings Middle Earth mod. “As a Balrog, I have a couple ambitions. I’d like to have a daughter. I want to research some new technology. I want to hire a capable council. And, of course, I want to kill Gandalf, that bearded prick who trespassed in my house and then had the gall to smash my bridge — while I was on it! — when I came up from the basement to politely ask him to keep the noise down. So, I send an assassin after him.”
- Eurogamer’s Oli Welsh fires some small spitballs at Shigeru Miyamoto, suggesting that maybe it’s the designer and Nintendo’s games, not Iwata and the company’s tech, which are to blame for their currently ailing (though not that ailing) fortunes. Agree about the games, disagree about placing that at the feet of Miyamoto.
- Quinns still exists, though it’s hard to confirm that beyond these weird videos of him putting his face close to painted cardboard. Watch him do that while reviewing Eldritch Horror, a game that can be played not on your computer but on your dining table. As you watch, try counting the number of cuts/shots and estimating how long this twelve-minute video took to produce. Apply that Effort Modifier to your final Enjoyment Rating to calculate your overall Appreciation Score. (To those who asked in the comments that I report back about how my first D&D session went: it went well. The game is way better than the cartoon of my youth, and Ulmo the Halfling Warlock survives to fight another day.)
- Sometimes I worry that words are redundant, as video does half the work of describing or explaining a game for you just by being in motion. Then I remember that the real threat is GIFs. IndieGames.com round up some indie game GIFs, as maybe (hopefully) a new weekly feature. Look at that Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime one right at the top. It cuts more to the core of the game than even playing the game. (FYI: which is why we also needs words).
- I’ve spent the week with Stuart Campbell’s two articles about OutRun 2 open, one a review, one a review from after a further week of play. They were not written this week, but they make me want to start hating simulation games. It would only be a pose, but who would know. “The Xbox’s processing power is used here not to perform eight trillion calculations about the precise effect on the alignment of each tyre of every bump in the road, or the exact amount of torque applied to the flange-shaft when you press slightly harder on the grommet-toggling button, but simply to provide the most stunning playground possible for the player to fling his new four-wheeled toy around in, WHICH IS THE WAY IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE.”
- Speaking of OutRun, Parkin writes for EG about videogames disappearing from digital distribution. OutRun 2: Coast 2 Coast is no longer available from Steam because a licensing agreement with Ferrari expired, which is sad, but makes me feel extra-special when I play it because it’s now exclusive and rare. “Some might argue that the deleted games hold little significance: primarily comprised of dated sports games and barely concealed adver-games. But for Cifaldi it’s not just an issue of not being able to preserve games that are considered culturally significant today. “The maddening part about preserving video game history is that we just don’t know what’s going to be important 50 years from now.””
- Has the Sunday Papers ever linked to Tone Control? We should have. It’s a podcast in which Steve Gaynor talks design in-depth with designers, including the likes of Clint Hocking, Randy Smith and in last week’s episode, Atom Zombie Smasher/Quadrilateral Cowboy/30 Flights of Loving’s Brendon Chung.
Music this week is Three Trapped Tigers.