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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for swimming in the sea, as you have been doing most mornings. Nobody tell Alice O. Here’s the best writing about videogames from the past week.

For FanByte, Jay Castello weighed in on the ‘not overly-cutesy even though it looks like it’ nature of Ooblets. The RPS treehouse arrived at a similar conclusion.

Many people have, and will, call Ooblets “wholesome.” The label has its merits, but as we continue to look for greater and greater variety in the tones of our games, we need more precise descriptors. I’d like to call Ooblets “earnest.” It sincerely presents its cutesy nature and asks that you take it as it is. It won’t be for everyone. Yet it invites players not to shut it out, as I was first tempted to, just because it’s joyful and silly.

Also for FanByte, Omri Wallach talked to the tireless and unpaid contributors to videogame wikis. The apparent lack of a desire to be paid expressed at the end does puzzle me.

I compared sale prices for crops, figured out which would be the most efficient, and returned to my farm. Another in-game day later, I was back on the wiki. This time, I was trying to figure out the best places to fish, how to stop losing energy so fast, and where to get gifts so that Leah would like me.

I barely gave thought to how the wiki was created or maintained. Everything I relied on was the result of a network of dedicated community members that had painstakingly documented every bit of information. Thousands of volunteers put everything together, without being paid, recognized, or even thanked for their efforts. Maybe that should change.

For Vice, Emanuel Maiberg examined the cloaked anti-Palestinian sentiment in The Last Of Us 2, while objecting to the way it portrays cycles of violence as inevitable.

A “cycle of violence” is a tempting way to interpret this conflict, or any conflict, because it signals careful nuance while quietly squashing more difficult conversations. By suggesting that since both Wolves and Scars are equally implicated and equally in pain, we are free to stop thinking about the problem. All parties include both good and bad actors. We’re all human. Both sides.

For NME, Jordan Oloman took a look at why AAA prices might be about to get steeper, and explained why that’s especially concerning in the context of a dying market for pre-owned games.

It won’t be instant, but as channels for consumers to recoup their losses on expensive games dry up, how will those without serious disposable income afford video games in the future? And that’s just talking about the US and the UK – in the international market with import costs and other complications, it will be even more of an accessibility problem.

As a journalist, I’m in a privileged position where I’m sometimes allowed access to games as part of my job, usually to conduct reviews ahead of release. Even with that benefit, I don’t think I’ll be able to afford the games I’m not covering at £65 a pop – especially when I can’t trade them in and retain some of the cash. Sure, a lot of modern games are free-to-play, and there’s always the indie market (which a lot more people could do with digging in to!) but many of the top-flight AAA titles consumers are most interested in will be affected by this hike.

For Eurogamer, Emma Kent dug into the similarity between a recent twitter hack/bitcoin scam combo, and an old con popular in Runescape.

Shockingly, it seems at least a few people fell for the scam – and according to public blockchain records, the link received contributions totalling over $100k (£80k) within hours of it being posted online (via BBC). And while it should be obvious that sending cryptocurrency to an unknown wallet is a bad idea, for many RuneScape players, they knew from personal experience. So many people noticed the similarities to an old RuneScape coin scam, in fact, that RuneScape started trending.

I learnt something important about blobfishes and you should too.

Music this week is Distance by Aldoc.

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Matt Cox

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Matt is the founding member of RPS's youth contingent. He's played more games of Dota than you've had hot dinners.

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