The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for… Christmas. It’s Christmas day. I guess that doesn’t mean we can’t link to just a few articles about videogames from across the week.

Simo Parko is at the Guardian this past week with a long feature about FIFA and how it changed football.

Along with Mario and Tetris, Fifa belongs to an select group of video games that are familiar to people who have little further interest in the medium. For many, Fifa is the only game they buy each year. In many parts of the world, the word “Fifa” is synonymous not with football’s scandal-ridden governing body, but with the video game that licenses its name.

When I was at PC Gamer, producing the backpage each month was one of the best parts of the job. And occasionally one of the worst parts of the job. I enjoyed PC Gamer UK’s staff roundup of those they made in 2016, with critiques from each.

Tony: Not one of our best. We’re basically just humblebragging about Eidos sort of putting our mag in their game.

Samuel: You bitch.

At Waypoint, Jack de Quidt writes about The Division’s survival mode as part of his “A Postcard From…” series. I need to get back to this game.

He’s about six feet ahead of me, a dim shape in the blizzard, and he’s desperately looking for medicine. The helicopter we took into Manhattan has crashed, and we’ve both been stripped of our gear, weapons, and skills. And we’ve been wounded—no, worse, badly infected. A timer on our screen shows how long we have to live, and it’s hovering at around forty five minutes. I’ve just taken some painkillers, so mine is paused, but only temporarily. Austin’s isn’t. He disappears behind some broken down cars.

At Gamasutra, developers recount their first game designer experiences, from Sam Barlow to Suda 51. (Actually those are just the first two on the long list). Here’s a bit of Barlow:

As a teen, I made a series of text games that chronicled one of my friends’ search for romance; bawdy romps as much influenced by the BBC’s Bottom as by the Infocom titles that I loved. When I look back now, the heart of those games was a kind of antagonism between the game’s narrator and the intended audience, a kind of humor that came from making my friends act out their own humiliations. Already I was thinking about the complicated relationship between the creator and the audience in an interactive story!

At Kotaku, Rich Stanton confuses the commenters with his article about a virgin that’s furious that a fictional woman is a lesbian.

“Tracer used to do whatever I imagined but now, when I try to forget the news and think like I used to, she just laughs and runs off saying ‘see ya!’ We had a really serious discussion on 8Chan a while back about what would happen if she used her time-rewind powers during sex, and now I feel those evenings were wasted on a lie.”

That’ll do. It is Christmas day, after all. Music this week is a series of lofi hip-hop mixes on YouTube. This is the one I have open right now.

No papers next week. We will resume our Sundays on January 8th. Have a good one, everybody.


  1. GameCat says:

    Can’t tell if that Tracer’s “controversy” article is real or just a satire.

    • Dunderbar says:

      I think the comment section of that article proves that satirizing such people is all but impossible.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        That some people doubledown on the stereotype in the article is the funniest part.

        It’s always a little surreal for me seeing all those commentator’s come out of the woodwork. I’ve never encountered people like that in real life. Met my fair share of homophobes and sexists, but oddly, they are pretty willing to acknowledge other viewpoints, or at least be a lot less unpleasant about it.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          I thought “How bad can it be?”, but… jeez. I mean, at best someone actually thinks that’s masterful trolling; Poe’s Law in human form.

      • Bury The Hammer says:

        The comment section is funnier than the article, being honest.

        The comment section on RPS has spoiled me. I might not always agree, but people are generally on the level here.

        • ColonelFlanders says:

          I dunno, sometimes the comments sections can get really snarky and elitist in here. People who express relatively harmless views get the PC police jumping on them like they are Donald Trump’s undercover psychopaths and sometimes it’s really quite unfair. It could be that the RPS readership has a left-leaning view – sometimes I think that because libertarian and left wing ideals have won the socialogical war, to the point where they are starting to get a bit fascist about it. Call me crazy if you like, but it’s just a feeling I get sometimes. A lot of people with alternative viewpoints are intelligent and kind people just like us lefties, but get treated rudely because their idealogy is different. But hey, this is symptomatic of a lot of places not just RPS, and given the boggy swamp that is other websites’ comment sections, I would take here over a million other places. Especially the Planet Coaster forums right now, I mean jesus fuck, the phrase “difference of opinion” seems to not be in people’s database.

    • aepervius says:

      there is a “humour” tag so i guess they tried to do something funny. But at least for me it fall on the face very hard.

      • Saarlaender39 says:

        Well, I got a good laugh out of it.
        Maybe it just came too close for comfort to you.


        • aepervius says:

          It is just that the type of humour i like, mostly puns and situationnal, and i feel as such the article is mirthless, a bad joke falling flat on the face. Bringing up a stereotype and mocking it can be good if done with art and pith. But zhe article really isnt that funny, it suimply tried a cheap shot at a stereotype. If you want a GOOD example , see the onion, and various similar web site. Or daily show with jon stewart. NOW zhat is very good usage if stereotype against good target. But that article ? Are we reading the same ? There is no skill compared to zhe aforementionned.

          so you know ehy i dont find it good, maybe i am spoiled by other source, and that without a rimshot ;).

          • Sin Vega says:

            The Onion’s articles have always been terrible though, going all the way back to the 90s. Their headlines are brilliant, but every article is just a long, slow murder of the joke.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Very much so, Sin.

          • GeoX says:

            Sure, they’ve always been inconsistent, but “EVERY article?” Hardly.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      We-ell, if you really can’t tell, that that article is satire, then you have a problem, and you probably should “go out a bit more rather than spending every night on the computer.”, as Morgan’s mother is putting it so eloquently.

      Might be possible of course, that you just forgot to end your comment with /s.


    • Spacewalk says:

      What are they going to do about it anyway, not vote for Overwatch in the Steam awards?

  2. JFS says:

    That Youtube channel is great. I encountered it two weeks or so ago, as – independently – did a friend of mine. I guess lofi hiphop is the new retrowave. Not too bad a successor.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Genuine question: I’ve seen these “Tracer is gay/Tracer is a lesbian” news stories. But it seems like the evidence for this is that she’s in a relationship with a woman. Which doesn’t itself make her gay, right? Like, she could be bisexual? Am I missing something? Has she applied a label to herself? Otherwise, it all seems rather presumptive (of a fictional character, yes, but presumptive all the same).

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      And another example of someone, who wastes much too much serious thought on a meaningless topic.
      Yes – “she” is a FICTIONAL character…think about that for some seconds…”she” doesn’t apply anything (labels or whatevers) on “herself”.
      Because there is no “she” in the first place.

      • Otterley says:

        Of all the people here you seem the most excited about the subject :)

    • Pich says:

      IIRC the author of the comic confirmed she’s Gay (and that Pharah is not on a date).

  4. Saarlaender39 says:

    That article on Kotaku is spot on.

    It shows to me, what’s wrong with nowadays society.

    People take meaningless crap way too serious, while on the other hand making jokes about actual serious topics, resp. mocking people who do take serious topics…well…serious.

    That’s why 2016 became that shitty year, everyone is so eager now to get rid of.

    Opinions count more than facts.
    If it’s ((morally or otherwise) wrong, or meaningless but) entertaining, it’s good.
    If it’s an actual serious topic (but boring, or not fitting into our world view), it’s only worth mocking it.

    [And yes, I see the irony – thank you, for not unnecessarily pointing it out to me]

    Maybe we -as a whole- should try to recalibrate our stance on serious topics in the new year, and take the funny, but meaningless things for what they are, again – meaningless fun, nice to have, but not vital for our wellbeing.

    /rant out

    • Ghostwise says:

      Your thoroughly drunk old man with a hat impression is pretty good. You must have practised a lot to get it right.

    • thedosbox says:

      Being able to see “people like you” represented in media is a big deal for many people. Understandably so if they feel isolated for being “different” in their “real” lives.

      Of course this doesn’t apply to the male virgins upset that their fictional wank material is lesbian.

    • Sin Vega says:

      That’s why 2016 became that shitty year, everyone is so eager now to get rid of.

      Yes, David Bowie and George Michael died and Syria burned and fascists murdered an MP and pig ignorant xenophobes voted for a magical 1950s time travel spell because people made jokes about Serious Important Things. It’s all so obvious now.

      • ColonelFlanders says:

        You underestimate the number of intelligent normal people who voted for Trump (if you are in fact referring to that when you say pig ignorant xenophobes, and not some other current event). This is a failing of the left, I think. I’m guilty of it too, but it’s lazy to assume that every right-wing voter is some kind of psycho bigot-lizard just because they don’t share your ideological beliefs. Again, I am equally guilty of this, but I am starting to learn that as soon as one slings mud, one loses the argument. If we start writing everyone off as idiots, then there will be no basis for discussion any more. People are much less likely to listen to what I would call reason if I don’t afford them the same respect that’s expected of them when I trying to put forth I arguments. It sure is a hard thing to do, but the world is so epically fucked right now, and the senseless sociopolitical bickering that we’re doing right now is clearly not working; the only way forward is discussion.

        • GeoX says:

          Your first sentence is reeeeeeally begging the question there.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            Go on, I’ll bite: what the fuck are you talking about?

          • GeoX says:

            I would provide a helpful response, but your pointlessly aggressive comment makes me not want to, so instead I’m just going to do that obnoxious thing where you provide a link and refuse to explain further, and if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            Haha sorry, it was meant to have a jokey tone to it, or at least it did when it was in my brain.

            I do know what ‘begging the question’ means, but I didn’t really see how it was pertinent to what I was saying at the time. I guess you’re saying I am making the assumption that intelligent people voted for Trump? I can understand you coming to that conclusion, but as I’ve outlined in the comments I made below, I do have a basis for that assumption, rather than just making something convenient to my argument.

        • Sin Vega says:

          I was talking about Britain as it happens, but anyone who ever spent five minutes listening to Trump or reading about his long and well publiciseed history of behaviour, and can’t see what an absolutely bog standard blowhard con artist he is… well, let’s just say that if they were all put in a directory I’d sell a couple of thousand bridges every day.

          Ideological differences are fine, but I have no obligation to coddle people who make spectacularly stupid decisions that hurt other people just because they have the vote.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            I did wonder if you were talking about Brexit, but since a lot of RPS’s readers are yanks i took a punt and went with the numbers. I don’t want to suggest for a second that you should coddle people who make shitty decisions, but I don’t think the way forward is to vilify them for making those decisions. The media is so full of sensationalist bullshit and scary terrorists that a lot of people are frightened and uneducated. I personally think it’s also important to distinguish stupid from uneducated. A great many uneducated people have more than enough capacity for intelligent thought – it’s just that they don’t have all the information, or have been fed bad information. I think it’s very possible to better ourselves as a brotherhood of mankind (sounds trite but fuck off i’m optimistic) without dismissing bad circumstances as fuelled by fools.

            Here’s a video I like that makes the point a lot better than me: link to

            This is not presenting itself as real by the way, Jonathan Pie is a comedian, and this is supposed to be satire, just so ya know.

          • KenTWOu says:

            @Sin Vega
            Well, congratulations, you’re using the smug style the article I mentioned below is talking about. Please, read it even if you already watched Jonathan Pie’s video.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            I think that article you linked in your comment goes almost hand in hand with that Jonathan Pie video. I had a read of it, and it articulates quite nicely in a serious way what JP’s video does in the pretend angry way he’s so fond of. As I have mentioned in my other comment, I have been guilty of this snooty attitude to the other end of the political spectrum, especially throughout the election in the US. Two things happened that made me start to check my bullshit attitude: the first was the Jonathan Pie video, and the second was when my (American) partner talked to her mum on Skype the day after the election akd she revealed that she had voted for El Donaldo, despite having always voted Democrat. She is not stupid – she is a very smart and kind lady, and raised a wonderful daughter whom I will love forever. Anyway. After I swallowed my immediate horror, I actually listened to what she said and what she said surprised me: a lot of people who voted for Trump were just looking for a change from a horrible status quo: everything had become such a circus, and Trump was appearing to be the change that so many frightened people felt like they needed. Ok, a perhaps terrifying change, but a departure nonetheless. The media have done a very good job of making our perceived reality a very clear cut one, while obscuring the true reality behind a veil of anger and confusion.

            Since we’re trading links here, I direct you to a documentary called Hypernormalisation. Anyone who knows Adam Curtis from the excellent bitter lake will probably have seen this, but it’s a superbly insightful look into how events in the middle east and at home have unfolded in the the last 30 years. It’s a fuckin heavy documentary, and it’s three hours long, but it’s worth every second you spend watching it.

  5. Monggerel says:

    I knew Tracer was (supposed to be) gay the moment I saw her design the first time. It’s… obvious? Maybe its the chipper elfin archetype. Maybe its the shitty duckbill shoes (christ on a carousel, Overwatch has some spectacularly uninspiring character design – Team Fortress 2 did more with three colors and two faces between nine characters).
    I guess assuming a nonstandard sexual orientation might be presumptuous, but they’re pretty goddamn common (what, one in ten? one in fifteen?) so I see no reason not to.

    On another note:
    Fuckin called it
    Gaydar is 20/20

    • simontifik says:

      Yeah I thought Tracer being gay was kinda low hanging fruit. Not that much of a stretch.

      Wish Blizzard had gone with a less obvious choice, maybe gay Reaper, the grim dark, skeleton man-whore. Or McCree, the gay cowboy for some village people vibes!

      • cpt_freakout says:

        Gay Reaper would be great fun. Also, it would scare off all the hyper-macho kiddies that yell at everyone for supposedly failing to be as good as them…

    • Michael Fogg says:

      The whole Tracer affair would be notable if Blizz included any queer references in the actual game, not in a piece of marketing fluff. This is an appropriation of social causes for commercial ends on the same level as a Dove campaign telling you to accept your body… they just want your money in the end.

      • maninahat says:

        By queer references, I assume you mean have Tracer flash around her gay card, which all queer people presumably carry?

        As for businesses being openly progressive; yes they want our money, but blizzard does that by making customers happy, and they decided that a cute story about their game characters was something that would make people happy.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          No, I mean dialogue, cutscene or any other story element which would hint at this character’s preferences in the actual game, where all 20 million players would see it, rather than in unrelated marketing material which will be seen by a fraction of that number.

          • TheDefenestrator says:

            That’s the opposite of another common criticism of LGBT characters in games: “They shouldn’t try to shoehorn in references to them being gay in situations where it isn’t relevant.” So it seems Blizzard did that and only brought up Tracer’s orientation when it was directly relevant. Most characters in the game, including Tracer, never say anything that would hint at their sexual orientation. If they are subsequently depicted as being attracted to men/women/both/neither in supplementary material, you shouldn’t take that as a contradiction of them not saying anything about it in the middle of a firefight (which is where the game takes place).

    • MikoSquiz says:

      She’s the definition of soft-butch if I ever saw it, but most of the rest of the Overwatch cast also ding my gaydar to a greater or lesser degree.

      They should have all of them come out as some variety of LGBTQA+, one by one, and then finally reveal that Zarya of all people is straight.

  6. KenTWOu says:

    That Kotaku article reminds me about this piece relating to recent presidential election. Instead of thoughtfully pointing out what’s wrong with people reaction on Tracer being gay, they turned it into a joke which is not even funny. Any article regarding this issue would be better than this.

  7. wengart says:

    Stop being so pissy. He wrote a thought out comment and you replied with your trash drive by sentence.