The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for carving pumpkins for the first time in your life, and wondering what to do with all the insides once they’re removed. Let’s round up the week’s best games writing while we dwell on that.

I enjoyed Gamasutra’s Design Deep Dive from one of the creators of Reigns, a choice-based narrative game in which you make binary choices about your ruling of a kingdom by swiping left or right. How does the story adapt to your decisions?

That initial mechanic worked very well on an emotional and physical level. Like Tinder, it’s a toy (as a very smart person told me one day), but a toy with surprising depth. As soon as we weighted the decisions of the player with consequences on the 4 dimensions of power, we gave a lot of meaning to very simple swiping gestures.

That was fun for 10 minutes. And that, believe me, was a great start. We just needed to hook the players for the following 2 hours.

While you’re at Gamasutra, you should also read this entry of the same series about turning Bloodline Champions into the ascendant Battlerite.

Bloodlines Champions was a passion project. A group of 14 students coming together to create the best possible arena game out there. Our ambitions were sky-high: a PvP Game with a dedicated server network and a focus on eSport long before the eSports scene exploded. With almost no budget, we started developing everything from our own graphics engine to our own network-solutions. Personal loans and people working with “real” jobs on the side funded the project.

At PC Gamer, Chris Livingston actually went and played Star Citizen, which seems like a novel idea. That link goes to part one, and part two is here.

I don’t really want to be in bed, okay? I want to be in space doing space things. But in the interest of being a responsible citizen reporter, I just want to see if the glitch reoccurs. It doesn’t, though I recommend staying in first-person mode while you’re in your hab. I don’t recommend trying to watch yourself get out of bed while in freelook, or you might wind up dizzy and staring up at your own groin.

As I write this, the site hasn’t launched yet, but by the time you read this it will have. Vice Gaming is transmogrifying into Waypoint. Editor Austin Walker explains why they chose the name. It’s a good team with good goals and I wish them well.

Neopets is a game in which you can look after virtual pets. It was extremely popular once upon a time, and Amanda Yeo for Kotaku AU revisited the game.

Finally giving in to the accusatory red text beneath my pet’s portrait, I dragged my starved yet “delighted!” companions to the Neolodge and dumped them in Cockroach Towers for one night, where they gorged themselves, going from “dying” to “bloated” in the time it took for the next page to load. Bad Neopet Owner Tip: You can feed your pet for 5NP per night at Cockroach Towers. Roach infested food is still food. Worse Neopet Owner Tip: Starvation doesn’t appear to have any impact upon a pet’s happiness, and they can’t die, so you don’t really need to feed them at all. I nearly never bothered back when I was 10 – I’d rather sell my food and put my Neopoints toward my PetPet collection.

Sid Meier was a guest on Soren Johnson’s Designer Notes this past week. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I have finally got through the two-part episode with Amy Hennig, creator of the Uncharted series. It was great.

Music this week is the fuzzy, warm Dear Nora.


  1. Grizzly says:

    Pumpkin soup?

    • Maritz says:

      As I have discovered this morning, a large pumpkin has enough flesh to make plenty of soup and a pie too. Bonus!

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Or just throw them into a stew.

    • teije says:

      Don’t forget the pumpkin seeds. Dry them, put a bit of oil and salt on them and roast in the oven as a snack. Just had some from this year’s jack o lanterns. Delicious.

  2. gwop_the_derailer says:

    Seanbaby recently wrote about his experience of making his first game, Calculords.

    Mobile game promotion has all the precision of discount cluster mines, but with none of the respect for human life. It’s not like making a compelling advertisement and hoping people click on something. Mobile game promotion is more like peeing all over everything until the world can’t get rid of your smell.

    Calculords is, by the way, a deck-building turn based tactical combat game where you deploy troops by solving math puzzles. It’s one of the best games you can get on your phone.

    • Geebs says:

      I quite liked Calculords. I wonder if that’s what really happens inside of Carol Vorderman?

  3. Melody says:

    Apparently, Origin decided to deny access to its services to an entire country and terminate their accounts, with no refunds or anything.

    link to

    • Frosty Grin says:

      You mean, US government?

      • Pich says:

        Nope because as said in the link a) Only Origin did this B) the US removed their sanctions at the start of october

    • kwyjibo says:

      USA: Good News Everyone, sanctions against Burma have been lifted.

      EA Corporate: What sanctions? We’ve been selling stuff to Burma since they were called Burma.

      EA Legal: Activate the Clinton protocol. Delete all evidence.

      Accounts wiped.

  4. zsd says:

    “As the saying goes, any landing you can float away from utterly deceased, forever tumbling into the infinite void of space, is a good one.”

    Guffawed pretty well at that.

  5. thekelvingreen says:

    Pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie, or both.

  6. MiniMatt says:

    Young people! Educate me! Because I’m too old to figure the exact phrase to Google which won’t result in a pearl clutching search history :)

    The Tinder swipe left/right article – I’m vaguely aware that Tinder is a dating/hook-up app. Whatever young-uns get up to with other consenting young-uns is no concern of mine, but for the purposes of understanding the zeitgeist I’m aware that swiping one way is good and another way is bad. But have yet to figure out which.

    So, is swiping right the equivalent of “would your parents consent to my asking for your hand to the village tea dance?” and swiping left the equivalent of “get thee away from me, Quasimodo” or vice versa?

    • Aphrion says:

      You’ve got it right – swipe right, “please bed me”; swipe left, “oh dear God no”. Because any middle ground or semi-complex nuance to wanting to start a relationship is so overrated.

    • Jay Load says:

      Hi MiniMatt. I’m a 41 year old bloke who 16 months ago found the love of his life using the service, and hopes to make a certain proposal to her in the very near future…! What sets Tinder apart from the plethora of Dating websites out there is the sheer simplicity of it. Swipe Right to state that you like the look of a person. Swipe Left to disregard that person. If a person you’ve swipe right likes you too, then you “match” and get the option to talk to each other. After that it’s all up to you.

      It’s that simple, doing away with all that tedious personality matching algorithm bullshit that simply never works.

      You do have to use it intelligently, though, which is why some accuse it of superficiality. On the surface it does look like you’re just playing Hot or Not. However, I found my GF by searching for photos/conversation with clear and real personality, away from the endless parades of pouting, duck-faced poseurs and those women more in love with their dogs than should be allowable in polite society.

  7. Jac says:

    That vice gaming site looks to have some interesting content but why they felt the need to categorise their features as “longreads or whatever” is beyond my comprehension and almost put me off even bothering to give it a chance.

  8. cpt_freakout says:

    I don’t think this was featured in past Sunday Papers, so I’ll leave the link to a very interesting read on Civilization and the ideology of progress, among other things: link to