Sundays are for hanging out with your kid, taking them somewhere fun, and hoping they’ll play on their own for at least a few minutes while you browse on your phone. Quick, before he or she notices the phone in your hand – click these links to the week’s best games writing.
The lovely Rab Florence, our former Cardboard Children columnist, is launching a new tabletop game review show. It sounds very Rab: Cast The Bones is described as, “a Lovecraftian horror satire about a dead board game review.” I will definitely watch this. It’s currently up on Patreon and at the time of writing a little more than halfway towards its funding goal.
Board game video reviewer Ben Eddings had a small but loyal viewership. His folksy lo-fi review show “Cast The Bones”, created in his own home, made him a small living and gave him a sense of purpose. But now Ben Eddings is dead. And his story has caught the eye of a journalist, Sophie Bakerleigh. What happened to Ben Eddings? Who is uploading videos, pretending to be him? Why is his cult still growing? And who is the true designer of the sprawling, poisonous board game The Lord Of Blank Faces?
Chris Donlan used the release of a mobile spin-off to talk about why the Titanfall series might have failed to capture the huge audience it no doubt deserves. I agree 100%.
Titanfall’s fiction is of a very utilitarian future. It’s mining corporations in space, as far as I can tell: everything’s beige and grey and quarry-ish. This is intentional, of course: Titanfall’s selling you its fiction with all this stuff, and it seems to want to make mechs that fall out of orbit seem entirely plausible. But it also serves to hide the true wit and invention that lurks at the heart of this series: a series where you get to flip time back and forth to create platforming speedruns, or in which a house is built around you during a fight through a training facility.
I enjoyed this new podcast from Kotaku, Fave This. In the first episode Gita Jackson and Patricia Hernandez discuss “why it’s harder to become friends with strangers online now.”
Samuel Roberts at PC Gamer talked to developers about whether games respect their audience’s time, and the ways they’re changing to do better.
“I do think that every game dev who’s responsible for checkpoints should be forced to spend a year raising a child,” Kennedy says. “Sometimes you don’t have any option but to put the controller down. I think there are strong reasons to prevent someone from pausing or saving, but those reasons are sometimes overwritten because the real world has children, fires and grocery deliveries.”
Also at PC Gamer, Joe Donnelly tries to win a chicken dinner in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds using only his fists.
I grew to understand what Gil Lawson was getting at when she suggested Battlegrounds’ map gets more haunting as you play it, happening upon quaint nooks and crannies I hadn’t previously realised existed—all the while becoming interminably frustrated by my inability to tuck my bloody legs beneath a bed frame or under a hedge or behind a parked car.
This story of how a crude joke snuck into a small town newspaper with disastrous (and expensive) consequences is wonderful and sad.
At first glance, it is a curious addition to my collection of misfit items, the others of which have obvious personal resonance. The headline, INEXPERIENCE FACES GREEN WAVE SOCCER, suggests nothing beyond some sort of small-town newspaper sports preview story, and the byline (Nick DeLeonibus) is that of a name that rings unfamiliar to most. Upon closer inspection, you can ascertain that the piece appeared in the Gallatin (Tenn.) News Examiner in the winter of 1997.
Gary Lineker is unexpectedly the hero we need.
A short Sunday Papers this week, because I didn’t read much and didn’t enjoy much of what I read. If you’re still craving words, I cheekily suggest the articles we published here over the past week, as surely there’s something you missed: reviews of LawBreakers, Nidhogg 2, Agents of Mayhem and Rez Infinite, Observer and Ultimate General: Civil War; a hands on with Twarhammer’s Skaven; what games can learn from the overlooked strangeness of the middle ages; how there’s a (co-op!) Dragon’s Dogma sequel you could be playing right now; the making of Long Dark’s aurora; the joy of cruising in Burnout Paradise; the things that make Pyre’s take on revolutions unique; a new episode of our podcast, and a bunch more.
Music this week is still bands from Japan. Try Shishamo’s Bye Bye.