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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for recuperating after three days of seeing people and games at Rezzed (and travelling to London with a baby). Now that we’re back home, let’s do some relaxing reading. About videogames, of course.

Jalopy is an interesting, early access road trip game set in eastern europe. It is not the kind of thing which sells huge numbers of copies, but that doesn’t stop people expecting the moon. Here’s the developer explaining calmly why the moon is not possible. It is important to remember these things.

Beyond development we have steam’s cut, the publishers cut, VAT and exchange rates till finally the last penny drops to the developer, me. Taking in mind Jalopy is a cheap game – and it is a cheap game for the amount it’s cost to make, but I’m a no name developer so I don’t really have a choice in this. The amount that comes to me per purchase is tiny, so much so that when someone is trashing the game and asking for a refund I’ll just let them have it because one purchase is border insignificant.

Speaking of Jalopy, here’s Miodrag Kovachevic – who grew up in ’90s Yugoslavia, one of the settings for the game – on the nostalgic feeling the game conjures for him.

I grew up in ’90s Yugoslavia, an Eastern European country that no longer exists. The year I was born, my family bought a Yugo—a metal box with wheels that was the embodiment of cheap communist cars. Against all odds, it managed to survive for 27 years. Its tenacity and stubbornness is a testament to the sort of absurdity that Jalopy, a lo-fi Eastern Bloc road-trip sim, attempts to recapture.

I meant to link this last week, but here’s another indie developer, Nathalie Lawhead, on the frustration of having your work labelled as “weird”, among other things. RPS will remember this.

I kind of understand why some developers hate the label “weird” for their games. It’s been feeling like a cheep and easy label to slap on something because you are too lazy to “look deeper” or understand what this different experience is. Like “weird” is more dismissive than an actual description of something.

Henrique Antero at ZEAL wrote about the work of Pedro Paiva, whose games I wasn’t familiar with but am now glad to have read about.

The bottom-box reads: “IMPALED MARIO: A HATE LETTER TO THE VIDEOGAME INDUSTRY AND THE STUPID GAMER PSEUDO-CULTURE. SHOOT MARIO TO START.” There’s a bloody thick stake running through Mario’s inert body. After you shoot him for the first time, Mario slides down the stake. You can continue to shoot, which causes him to rotate around the stake. It feels pretty good.

PC Gamer’s Wes Fenlon interviewed an IP lawyer and emulator developers about the ethics of emulation. I see the value in emulation, but I am deeply uncomfortable with the games press writing regular news updates on the progress of teams trying to emulate specific modern games on the PC. It feels like those posts only serve an audience of entitled jerks – and the website’s own lust for search traffic. Unrelatedly remember to read our coverage of not at all a Zelda Breath of the Wild PC free download, Hyrule: Total War.

If you follow emulation news, here’s a story you’ve probably heard. Nintendo releases a brand new Legend of Zelda game for a young console. It is immediately heralded as one of the greatest games ever made. Reviewers give it perfect marks. It is, definitively, the best reason to own Nintendo’s new hardware. And mere weeks after its release, when buzz was at its highest, a PC emulator was able to run that massively popular game—The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time—making it playable without Nintendo’s hardware.

Darryn King at Glixel wrote about the making of Mass Effect Andromeda, which reveals nothing about why the game is flawed but is still revealing.

“You think of a rock as just a rock,” says senior environmental artist Scotty Brown. “But there might be little tiny pebbles embedded within the cracks of the rock, or different kinds of grass of different colors. A lot of artists here have learned that those subtle details you don’t think about are actually very important.” A couple of years ago, the team was alarmed to discover one of their more distinctive rocks appear in someone else’s game, Star Wars Battlefront – whose artists, it turned out, had also been sent on a scouting mission in Iceland. “It was a very good rock,” says Brown.

Podcasts have become a heavy feature in my life, so I enjoyed reading old comrade Rich McCormick on his love for The Adventure Zone, a D&D podcast.

I’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, but I’ve spent 40 hours over the last month listening to other people play Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve become borderline obsessed with The Adventure Zone — a D&D podcast featuring (Polygon’s own) Griffin and Justin McElroy, as well as their brother Travis, and dad, Clint.

Music this week is the new Los Campesinos’ album, which has yet to grow on me as its predecessors have but which I am sticking with for now.

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Graham Smith

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Graham is to blame for all this.

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