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The Sunday Papers

The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for visiting family and returning home from visiting family. At least we can spend the travel time catching up on some reading, perhaps of fine articles about games.

At Kotaku, Jason Schreier writes up the story of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s troubled development, based on conversations with anonymous staff who worked on the game. There’s lots of interesting stuff in here.

“The goal was to go back to what Mass Effect 1 promised but failed to deliver, which was a game about exploration,” said one person who worked on the game. “Lots of people were like, ‘Hey, we never fully tapped the potential of the first Mass Effect. We figured out the combat, which is awesome. We figured out the narrative. Let’s focus on bringing back exploration.’”

I enjoyed greatly Chris Livingston’s attempts to ride a shopping cart down a hill, which begin with his attempts to get inside the shopping cart.

I quickly found that Cart Racer, while the ‘Cart’ part of the title is accurate, isn’t really a racing game. There’s no timer, and no opponents. Your biggest adversary is the shopping cart you’re supposed to be riding in, and the not-great controls, and the physics, and the fact that the moment you touch anything you become a floppy deceased ragdoll. I found that just jumping into the cart to start riding was about the toughest part of the game.

I could really just link everything Chris Livingston write’s in this column – and so I will. Here he is again on why it took him four hours and a dozen dead sheep to get his toilet working in Ark: Survival Evolved.

After eating a dozen chops and periodically pressing the defecate button, I finally take a shit. However, it appears to fall out of my ear and land on the toilet seat next to me. That’s the thing about plumbing: you’ve got to hook it up to something. Though it’s technically a chair with a hole in it, and the poop should just fall in regardless, it won’t: I need a water supply to make my toilet go.

At Eurogamer, Christian Donlan writes that nothing will ever compare to the first level of a new game.

At the same time, though, I am starting to understand another of gaming’s great pleasures – or rather I am increasingly aware of something I love that has always, reliably, made me very happy. And it’s the complete opposite of the feeling you get when you understand almost everything about a game except what your opponent is going to do. It is the glory of being lost, bewildered, majestically confused. It is the glory of fumbling through the first few moments – or the first level – of a brand new game.

At Gamasutra, Joel Couture talks to the developers of Oxygen Not Included about how its simulation informs its layered challenge. Oxygen Not Include being the gaseous asteroid survival game in early access from Klei, makers of Don’t Starve and Invisible, Inc.

The developers had seen that survival would be at its most tense should the player constantly have a flow of small challenges layered on top of one another, and at no point ever offering the player a sense they were completed. Hunger could be staved off for a while, but that need would crop up again soon. While players would be able to build systems that may be able to take care of air or heat problems in space, those solutions could never be final. There would always need to be a way in which they could go wrong.

Apologies for the brevity, but that’ll have to do for this week. Music is as always.

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Graham Smith

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