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The Sunday Papers

Sundays Return

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Sundays are for telling people what to Sundays are for, of course. And a Sunday without it – as they were over the holidays – is no kind of Sunday at all. Let’s celebrate our return with some of the finest recent words about videogames.

  • This article is in French, but Google Translate does a good enough job with the translation – and John would be sad if I didn’t link it. It’s about Hexcells Infinite, and the difference between handmade and machine-generated puzzles.
  • In Hexcells Infinite, the role of Matthew Brown oscillates between that puzzle designer, especially in these minimalist grids whose solution can only occur in an instant, and level designer. By carefully preparing the clues scattered throughout its gates in Corsant very significantly the difficulty, Matthew Brown draws a path that the player has to operate through its puzzles, if he wants to avoid any mistake. In this, the game reverts to being wandering in golden hexagon grids, gray and blue, and puzzles Hexcells to roam like the levels of a classical narrative video game, while player traceable discernable that the designer has left him, or attempt to cut through the thickets, at the risk of being wrong at risk, as Bartlebooth, to think that this piece representing England actually corresponded to a portion of India.

  • It’s a rare politician that seems human, but Tom Watson’s love of videogames continues to confirm that he’s of our species. In the New Statesman late last year, he wrote about his favourites of 2014. Worth it for the last paragraph, which it’s no spoiler to quote here:
  • During the recent supposed coup against Ed Miliband, I was planning the downfall of Atheon, the final boss in the “Vault of Glass” raid in Destiny, with a trade union official from Manchester and an English language student from Rome. It’s this experience that has led me to form the view that crime is dropping thanks to video games. If Ed wants an easier life in 2015, maybe he should buy John Mann and Simon Danczuk a PS4 this Christmas.

  • We liked Mountain a bit, but internet bores suspicious of the enjoyment and intentions of others suggested that it was (gasp) not a game and was therefore probably a trick or a joke. Creator David O’Reilly remained mum about it, till writing some thoughts over the break. What say you, Mountain man?
  • Between Damien and I there was never a discussion that Mountain was not a game, much less a controversial game. It was an idea that required an interactive environment, it was created using a game engine and the pipeline was almost identical to any other independent game. It was developed for gaming systems through game distribution platforms and was released with a game publisher. Some pseudo-intellects may spin some clever sounding crap about the semantics of the word game, win conditions, fail states etc. — but I really, truly and sincerely don’t give a shit.

  • Robert Yang (of these pages) writes about his free spanking game Hurt Me Plenty, and “sex, consent, and intimacy in games and tech.” Yang is smart and this is great:
  • These kinds of representations are dangerous more for their structural properties: players understand these romances as puzzles to be solved where sex is the reward — and the idea that sex is a puzzle reward feeds directly into a pick-up artist (PUA) culture built on manipulation and perceived entitlement to bodies. This is essentially the “kindness coins” critique, that the logic of training players to expect sex, based on a series of so-called strategic actions, is super gross and perpetuates damaging ways of thinking about relationships.

  • Chris Livingston has been coerced into joining the pirate ship PC Gamer as a full-time member, which means he is dead to us now. From beyond the grave he writes his now traditional series on Text Adventures That Never Were, which begins with Far Cry 4, The Evil Within and Shadow of Mordor.
  • Our Adam found Deadnaut a little slim, albeit with reasons to feel the developers have a promising future. Favourite face of the RPS comments Lord Custard Smingleigh has been finding plenty of fun in its tales of survival bastards, however:
  • Deadnaut is a moderately-roguelike moderately-tactical exploration game set in a universe where humans have reached the stars and found alien civilisations… Or rather the remains of alien civilisations. Derelict ships filled with corpses and monsters are the new frontier, and desperate bands of last-chancers, Deadnauts, take on suicide missions for the slim chance of getting out alive with a payoff that will make it all worthwhile. I recruited a bunch of wholesome Twitter people and, with their permission, created some decidedly unwholesome Deadnaut versions of them. Lets see how far they get before they die horribly, shall we?

  • From 2009 but new to me, Gausswerks’s Design Reboot series turned its attention to Deus Ex’s Gunther Hermann and Anna Navarre. Note to self: steal this.
  • There could be unforeseen consequences; there could be blowback. Especially if Anna disappears someone back at headquarters (not just a target, and the target’s family, and all the first responders while on a mission). There are a lot of possible reasons for this–the game could feature a “catch the spy” subplot, a whodunit with randomized suspects, and Anna needs to be sure the mole is dead. Or maybe just someone didn’t refill the coffee maker after the last cup, and Anna/the player really wants to see how many people they can kill. Pushing it as far as they can without a killphrase getting invoked, or SWAT teams descending at night on Anna’s bunk.

  • As always, I enjoyed Nathan Ditum’s end-of-year look back at the films he saw in 2014. Mostly for lines like, “300: Rise Of An Empire offered an interrogation of masculinity roughly equivalent to staring at a novelty chocolate penis.”
  • For more fine writing about videogames from 2014, try these round-ups from Critical Distance and The Guardian.
  • Music these past weeks has all been jazz, because it’s the music that I like to drink, relax and watch the weather to, and Christmas is for little else. I’ll spare you and offer Remurdered by Mogwai instead, which is best if you gradually turn the volume up minite-by-minute for the duration of the song.

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    Graham Smith

    Editor-in-chief

    Graham is to blame for all this.

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