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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for doing something nice for your mother, if you can. Let’s hope they like curated collections of the week’s best videogame writing.

Robert Yang has written before about the need to claim VR for interesting, experimental voices and to shield it from the garbage parts of mainstream gamer culture. Here’s his manifesto on how to do it, which is excellent:

To save a newly emerging VR culture from this poisoned gamer culture, I believe that we must act now, to fortify and insulate pockets of VR culture from the inferno. Ideally, we all pursue many different strategies in tandem, and here’s a tactic that I’m working on, it’s two short sweet words: Gay. VR.

Here’s Robert again writing about Metal Gear Solid 5, open world games and and the edge cases that happen between different ‘realities’ in these games. As far as I know Robert Yang isn’t paid to write interesting things about games for a living, but he writes more interesting things than those who are.

I kept failing with either strategy, so I decided to look up some tips. The online guide suggested a rather dishonorable trick… (1) destroy the nearby anti-air radar station while in “free roam” mode, outside of the mission; (2) then, finally start the mission, set your own helicopter deploy point right on top of your mission objective; (3) and basically kill everyone with the helicopter’s giant overpowered chain gun, easily earning the top S-Rank rating for your performance.

My (wrong) assumption was that changing the world in “free roam” mode would not change the world in “mission” mode. In most cases, this was still true… except in this one instance, the radar station was leaked between alternate realities.

PC Gamer continued to publish pieces from their long interview with Tarn Adams, the creator of Dwarf Fortress, including this one on why he’s really excited about boats.

I feel like the problems all have solutions. There’s a sliding scale of acceptability to your solution, and I think they’re mostly okay. There will be some weird things where certain mer-people get scrunched. The real problem with this is if you’re not controlling the boat, and you’re the player, and you get scrunched. Like if a Dwarf Fortress is on the beach, you set up this whole cove where boats can come in and dock and unload stuff, all really cool stuff, right, but then you have dwarves messing around in the water and then a boat turns the wrong way and all your dwarves are catapulted out into space… There will be little problems, and we’ll just roll with it.

And why Tarn Adams doesn’t like to play games like Dwarf Fortress.

At Paste, Cameron Kunzelman writes about the inherent silliness of Ghost Recon Wildlands and how it undermines the game world. I wish this hadn’t been a Tom Clancy game so it could have leaned in to the inevitable zaniness of a co-op murder sandbox.

When I’m driving down the road in a border province that’s heavily contested between rebels and cartels, I might feel “immersed.” If that road is occasionally dotted with the crucified bodies of rebels with warning signs hanging around their necks, I can buy that this is a bad place with two factions that will do anything and everything to destroy their enemies. In a film like Sicario, which has a very similar scene, it sells a sense of danger and depravity around cartels and how they do business. It is, in that film’s terms, a place for wolves. But in Wildlands I saw this scene and pulled over to the side of the road. I wanted to get a closer look. There, on the ground beneath the crucified men amongst the citizens looking up at them, was a fuel collectable. It flashed a shiny white. I picked it up. It added more fuel resources to my inventory. I got back in my car and drove away.

At Eurogamer, Simon Parkin writes about the joy of video game photography – specifically games that include some in-world camera or photo mode, as distinct from simple screenshots.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a game of kaleidoscopic delights and diversions. But none has grabbed me with quite the force as the Hyrule compendium, an encyclopaedia that Link must fill with photographs of every distinct creature, foe, flower, fruit, weapon and chest in the game. There is a sticker album-like appeal to the occupation, of course: you gotta capture ’em all. But there is also a layer of creative expression to the endeavour. The precise image that you take of the horse, mushroom or hoe is the one that’s added to the compendium. In this way, the game appeals not only to the completionist, but also to the perfectionist. Now, when facing up against a Hyrulian monstrosity, my first thought is not, ‘Which sword should I use’, but rather, ‘To which spot should I lure the beast to make the best use of the light?’ In 2017, in my game at least, more Links have died taking compendium shots than in encounters with sharks (and not only because the sharks in Hyrule are talkative, handsome and kind).

I enjoyed the first Noclip Profile, which visits John Romero in his new home in Galway, Ireland.

I like these photos.

I like this mouth simulator.

Music this week is Singularity by Kuraine, which is almost too much and yet I keep returning to it.

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Graham Smith

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