Sundays are for comforting your kid through yet another freaking illness. But you can also read about videogames during brief moments of respite.
At Waypoint, Rob Zacny writes about the fading memory of World War 2, and the ways in which Call of Duty: WW2 seems to accelerate the forgetting.
Men like Daniels didn’t generally get their own platoons, and didn’t generally want them. The dead airman for whom I am named didn’t write letters home dreaming of the day when he might be made flight leader or given command of his squadron of Liberators. He caught up on gossip from home, talked about movies he’d seen, and sometimes, just barely and mostly via vague allusion, the pressure and terror he was subjected to over there. My grandfather talked about being mightily bored and hot inside his tank during the Philippines campaign. The only things about his war that he claimed to enjoy were hours of meditative target practice with a carbine rifle, and a brief stint of occupation tourism in Japan before being sent home to resume the life he’d put on hold. How many of those citizen-soldiers really aspired to the kind of military achievements coveted by the soldiers that Call of Duty: World War 2 presents?
A couple of weeks ago I linked to Xalavier Nelson Jr’s Twitter thread re-appraising Hotline Miami 2. Now it’s an article.
Combat in Hotline Miami 2 is, if not entirely consistent, more tightly controlled. With proper preparation, I found myself dying from offscreen threats far less often despite the sequel’s larger levels, and diverse play styles outside of my comfort zone became mandatory as the game went on. The storytelling is boldly idiosyncratic, tying the lives of soldiers sent on suicidal missions in a deniable warzone to a group of fame-hungry serial killers with a mind-bending convolution and unexpected empathy only a series like Hotline Miami could achieve.
Vic Hood writes about her personal history with The Sims, and how it’s changed as she and the series have changed.
As a kid with parents going through divorce, the most important element of The Sims was that here was a world I had total control over. I could design my dream house, move in my ideal family and become a famous actress. It was like having an exquisite, endlessly detailed dollhouse, a home from broken-home.
Also for Eurogamer, Edwin Evans-Thirlwell writes about the rise of Indian game development. I’m always fascinated by stories like these.
Indian developers are hungry for more, however. The country’s games market has exploded in the past decade, with mobile games especially reaping the benefits of rising living standards while consoles struggle in the face of software piracy and a scarcity of specialist retail. Casual and gambling games account for a large proportion of revenue, but Indian gaming is increasingly diverse, with single player games and more obscure genres such as real-time strategy beginning to pick up pace. In the absence of local funding opportunities for more ambitious experiences, smaller teams are availing themselves of self-publishing programs online to pitch their games worldwide.
Kirk Hamilton at Kotaku argues that in-game purchases poison the well.
Video games will always manipulate us. Each challenge and scenario in a game has been carefully engineered to make us react a certain way. Most of the time, that’s what we sign up for. But the moment real money enters the equation, something changes.
At PC Gamer, Alex Wiltshire talks to publishers and indie devs about why the latter are signing with the former more often. I think about this a lot and it’s nice to hear details.
The first and most obvious appeal of a publisher is as a source of funding, whether that’s money that will pay a developer’s rent while they finish a game or pay their collaborators. But publishers do a lot more than that. So far in 2017 over 6,800 games have been released on Steam, compared to 5,028 in 2016 and 2,991 in 2015. A lot of games are being made at the moment, and the great majority of them would self-identify as ‘indie games.’ So how can a developer stand out in all that noise? How do you make a trailer that shows off your game in its best possible light? How do you make a trailer at all? How do you make a game that appeals widely? These are the kinds of questions that routinely keep developers awake at night.
Waypoint have started posting episodes of Waypoint Presents to their YouTube channel. I enjoyed this one focused on MMA fighter Angela Hill, who dresses in cosplay inspired by videogame characters.
That’ll do. It’s late and I’ve more Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to watch. Music this week is the What Remains of Edith Finch soundtrack, which you can probably find to stream somewhere, who knows. I like “Milton’s Tower” and the Marching Band and Crowning tracks.