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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for closing your eyes and clenching your fists and digging in your heels and hoping you can stop time so Monday never comes. Let’s remain here and read about videogames forever.

Katherine Cross attended PAX Australia and this past week wrote about a panel about online harassment. There are worthwhile details inside, including the perspective of an Australian police officer who was one of the panelists.

Jennifer Scheurle’s remarks were, on the whole, more searing, as she had never spoken about her own experience of online harassment in public before a physical audience before. The gathered crowd seemed to walk across a threshold with her as she described what happened. She’d posted a funny image of a statue that she’d dubbed “Mansplaining: the statue.” As the tweet blew up, it caught the attention of Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft and, of late, Twitter edgelord. He attacked Scheurle to his 4 million followers and mocked the situation by saying people were “cuntfusing the issue.” [Update: edited for clarity.] This would sire a weeks-long flood of rape and death threats that left Scheurle frightened and adrift. She said she was continuing to “feel isolated and disconnected from the people I love.”

Cross also wrote about the Australian games industry in general, and what’s become of it since the 2008 global recession caused many AAA developers to pull out of the country.

Though some scattered to the four winds, finding sanctuary in London, Montreal, or Seattle, many more stayed and did something quite extraordinary: they created one of the only indie-led industries in the world. Indeed, it’s impossible to talk about Aussie or New Zealander games without discussing indies at some length. Crossy Road, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise, Mini Metro, Armello, Framed, and many more found their origins in Oceania.

Watch Dogs 2 came out on console this week (PC gets it at the end of the month) and the response has mostly been, “hoh shit it’s actually fun?” I liked Gita Jackson specific praise of its clothing options.

Watch Dogs 2, against all odds, has treated menswear with a modicum of respect. Not only are there 6 different brands in the game, each with a discrete style, but these styles have clearly identifiable counterparts in the real world. Stop in Axle Boardshop, and you’ll see styles that would look right at home on the members of Odd Future.

Glixel is Rolling Stone’s new awkwardly-named gaming site. Laura Parker wrote a profile there of Amy Hennig, the Uncharted director who is now working on a Star Wars game at EA.

collaboration with Lucasfilm, specifically with Kiri Hart, the head of the company’s story group, and Doug Chiang, Lucasfilm’s executive creative director. To Hennig’s continued delight, there have been frequent visits to Skywalker Ranch since work began work on the game, at first to photograph and scan props for the game – costumes, masks, original artwork by Ralph McQuarrie – and then simply to soak up the atmosphere. “There’s this giant warehouse full of Home Depot shelves stacked with precious things from your childhood,” Hennig says. “Luke’s Stormtrooper costume, the original Yoda, just kind of saggy and slumped over on this dusty shelf…it’s almost silly, seeing all this precious stuff just sitting there so unceremoniously.”

I enjoyed Chris Thursten’s praise and defence of the Mass Effect character Ashley Williams, much more than I’ve enjoyed the little time I’ve spent with Mass Effect.

In order to explain why I like this character so much I’m going to have to address the krogan in the room: space racism. The notion that Ash Williams is a bigot whose views warrant her being sidelined – even sidelined to the point where you leave her to die in a nuclear explosion – is pretty widely held. ‘Ash is a space racist’ is something that somebody said once that has thrived in comments threads and forum discussions. It’s snappy and easy to echo, if nothing else a fascinating example of how particular perspectives become dominant in fan communities through repetition – even when they’re wrong. Which this time, they are.

Music this week is a two-fer. There’s a new Childish Gambino track Me and Your Mama and there’s – woo! – a new Los Campesinos! track ahead of a new album next year.

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Graham Smith

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