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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for trying to get out of the house and experience some fresh air around your kid’s extraordinarily long naps. And for staying in and reading (and watching) about videogames for their duration.

Game-related Thing Of The Week is obviously Cool Ghosts: Episode 1, a 25 minute video from Quinns and Matt Lees that wraps game crit in a narrative framing device like Consolevania of yore. It is funny, strange and has the raise the bar. The bar is up there now.While I’m linking videos up top, Mark Brown highlighted 5 amazing levels from 2017 on Game Maker’s Toolkit.

And this Polygon job application is brilliant.

Let’s do words. Amr Al-Aaser at Waypoint writes about Assassin’s Creed Origin and what it gets right about Egypt that other games get wrong. I’m glad people are still writing about Origins; it feels like a game that’s better than people had the time to realise.

Curiously, it’s in the recent Assassin’s Creed Origins that I found some reprieve. Origins carries with it the heritage of Orientalism, of the mystic Egypt and the overzealous Egyptological obsession. As Christian Donlan explains in his Eurogamer review, by setting it during Ptolemaic Egypt, Origins can explore both a living Egypt and the one receding into myth.

Wesley Yin-Poole writes for Eurogamer about why players believe FIFA cheats, giving artificial advantage to teams that are losing in the dying minutes of matches. I have sympathies with these feelings, as someone well versed in the bullshit of FIFA.

Have you lost inexplicably while playing FIFA? Have you ever conceded an equaliser to an opponent who all of a sudden turns it on in the last second? Do your players decide they’ve had enough for no good reason and run as if they’re stuck in the mud? Most FIFA players – and I include myself in this – will remember times when the game has done something that doesn’t seem fair.

How does the line break in prose relate to interactivity in videogames? This thoughtful article (with too few line breaks) will explain.

In videogames it’s more like “ah, who’s there?” followed by the yawning, unfillable gulf of disembodied time while you wait for the player to do something – or like a space where time ordinarily would be, nothing passing, events happening but in such a modular and indefinitely reproducible manner that it’s hard to link them to any actual sense of temporal movement – just this blank, watchful abyss, as everything seems to hover in place, until you hit the button – and only then, if you’re lucky and whoever’s playing it hasn’t walked away, do you get “help, i’ve been shot!”. It doesn’t matter how brief the pause for input was between them – the fact that control over pacing was, for however brief a period of time, suddenly pulled from the fiction’s internal structure and ceded to some exterior presence while the fiction itself sat there doggedly idling is enough to sever all sense of causality between the two events.

Cecilia D’Anastasio at Kotaku spoke to multiple staff at Gazillion Entertainment to chart the studio’s last days before its closure and the shut down of Marvel Heroes Online.

One former employee who wished to remain anonymous said he’s been having trouble sleeping now that he doesn’t have a paycheck. With no severance and without receiving over $5,000 he’d accrued in PTO, he doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to scrounge up January’s rent for his current apartment. He’s considering breaking his lease and moving. He described himself as “scared” and “anxiety-ridden.” Worst of all, he told me, he fears that this will happen to him again. The same month Gazillion shuttered, Telltale Games laid off 25% of its staff. The studio behind Torchlight shut down, too. Is this just what working in games is like?

Someone made their shed in London the highest rated restaurant on TripAdvisor.

Olive Yang was “royal-turned-warlord, whose CIA-supplied army consolidated opium trade routes in the Golden Triangle in the 1950s, had tabloid-fodder romances, and later in life served as a government peace broker with Kokang rebels”. That’s a life.

Oh no.

Music this week is “Nobody Cares About Your Dreams” from the Cool Ghosts video I linked above.

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Graham Smith

Editor-in-chief

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