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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for mourning your phone, which fell in water and died a terrible death. Goodbye, Nexus 5. I guess we can roundup some of the week’s best writing about games, even if we can’t read any of it under the covers in bed anymore.

At Gamasutra, Simon Parkin writes about ageism in the games industry, including interviews with Raph Kosters and others on their experiences.

These changes are not, however, reflected in the games industry, which is stubbornly dominated by the young. In 2016 an IGDA survey [PDF] revealed that two thirds of employees in the games industry are between the ages of 20 and 34. By stark contrast, only three and a half percent are in their fifties or over (note that the Urban Institute predicts that, by 2019, workers aged 50 or above will make up 35% of the general labor force.)

I keep thinking we should run a ’40 over 40′ article here, as a corrective to all the 30-under-30s.

Also at Gamasutra, designer of word-heavy RPGs Jeff Vogel, argues that your game probably has too many words. Contains some very enjoyable sick burns on The Witcher 3 and Tyranny.

Vogel’s Laws of Video Game Storytelling

1. Players will forgive your game for having a good story, as long as you allow them to ignore it.

2. When people say a video game has a “good story,” what they mean is that it has a story.

3. The story of almost all video games is, “See that guy over there? That guy is bad. Kill that guy.” This almost never leads to a good story.

Chris Bratt’s Here’s A Thing series at Eurogamer continues to be entertaining, and recently he spoke to developers of the cancelled Prey 2 to discover its planned twist.

Prey 2 could have been great. Having spoken to a whole bunch of developers that worked on the project before it was quietly put on ice in 2011, I’m convinced of this. We’re going to get into some of what happened there in a piece we’re publishing tomorrow, but in today’s episode of Here’s A Thing I want to tell you about the game we never got to play.

Alex Calvin speaks to Edmund McMillen about how he expected Binding of Isaac to fail, and his intent that it be a ‘fuck you’ project to re-establish his independence after the mainstream success of Super Meat Boy. Binding of Isaac has now sold 5 million copies across all the games.

“Afterwards I wanted to go back and prove that I don’t need to chase the dollar again, that I don’t need to make another blockbuster indie game – which is funny at this point. I wanted to make something that was the opposite of that. I wanted to make a really risky, weird and abrasive game that would push people away from it.”

“I wanted to do a ‘fuck you’ project, just to say I’m still independent.”

Leon Hurley sent Dogmeat home in Fallout 4 – then followed him all the way there, to see what scrapes his canine pal got into when he wasn’t around. A fun story

But it’s okay. Sort of. As soon as the Ghouls pound Dogmeat into submission they turn and attack me (yay?) So there’s a solution of sorts – wait until Dogmeat’s hurt and then kill enemies when they turn on me. I didn’t say it was a good solution but that’s the plan. I won’t interact with Dogmeat but if he gets in trouble I’ll kill things. I’ll be his Mysterious Stranger (or terrible owner, depending on your perspective).

Rami Ismail is critical of the overuse of comparisons when discussing and writing about games. Ismail is concerned mostly with the needless creation of a pecking order, but for me the larger issue (in games journalism at least) is that they exclude people who haven’t played the game you’re drawing the comparison with.

In Yakuza-0, players assume the dual perspectives of series protagonists Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima, two yakuza members that have found themselves embroiled in a political conflict larger than either of them. In that regard, the game vaguely echoes games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where players assume multiple character to learn different sides of the same story. Obviously, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had some powerful moments, and Yakuza-0 never quite reaches the dramatic heights of blowing up the International Space Station.

Patrick Klepek at Waypoint wrote a short post wishing, as a parent, that every game was available on Nintendo Switch. As a parent, I think this often.

A few days ago, I flew to Canada for a friend’s bachelor party, prompting me to flip on my Switch for the first time in a few weeks and browse the eShop for a game to play on the flight. I was bummed, though not surprised, to find there wasn’t much that interested me, or that I hadn’t played elsewhere. But when I look around at the games I haven’t spent more time with in 2017— Yakuza 0 and Persona 5, chiefly—all I can do is sigh at my inability to transplant those games to my Switch.

I’ve been enjoying Car Boys, Polygon’s video series in which Nick Robinson and Griffin McElroy play BeamNG.drive and mess up some vehicles.

98DEMAKE rebuilds scenes from modern games so they look like games from 1998.

The weather has turned towards summer, so my listening habits have turned towards hip hop and the hip hop adjacent. Read the papers, the headlines say… that music this week is Fallin’.

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Graham Smith

Editor-in-chief

Graham is to blame for all this.

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