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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for taking a trip to Aldi to stock up on mozzarella and sundried tomato pots, because those are the only thing I’d eat if they ever had more than two tubs on the shelves at a time. Ignore the sweet oil though, and instead wash down your own mouthfuls of cheese with some of the week’s best writing about (mostly) games.

A few years ago, writer Jon Bois wrote a science fiction story about satellites in the future who are obsessed with American football. It was glorious, and now there’s a sequel, or rather a second chapter. It’s called 20020. An inspiration to us all.

For Fanbyte, Alexis Ong wrote about Strangers On The ‘Net, a digital roleplaying community where people pretend to be on the ’90s internet – and then roleplay TV characters from the era. Ong joins in by roleplaying a teenager roleplaying Lwaxana Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Strangers on the ‘Net was created by the Soft Chaos game collective for the online e-Volver Festival in June 2020. It took place entirely on Discord — a stand-in for mIRC and text-based chat programs of old. You could sign up for different sessions themed around specific fandoms: Sailor Moon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Final Fantasy, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The idea was to revisit your own youth as a fictional 90s teen through your favorite fandom on a fictional server called RPFreak.net. The game would take place across two sessions over two weekends.

No Man’s Sky’s most recent update changed its world generation, remaking parts of the existing universe. For Polygon, Patricia Hernandez wrote about the extinction of the Diplo, a rare dinosaur-like creature that’s become a mascot for some of the game’s most dedicated players.

Changes happen every time Hello Games updates the game, of course. Sometimes bases get erased or moved, or planets will have their weather change completely, a reality that often leaves some players displaced and looking for new home worlds. For New Lennon, some of the tweaks included changes to the grass, which went from a nice lush green to a more bioluminescent red. But more notably, if you check the planet’s stats, the Diplo now appears under the “extinct” column, according to Andy Krycek, one of New Lennon’s founders.

I’m a sucker for headlines like this. Chingy Nea for Kotaku: Final Fantasy XIV’s crafting system turned me into a capitalist swine.

I began to recall my earlier frustrations feeling taken advantage of by sellers on the Board. When shown an opportunity to rise above my station as a humble artisan, I’d become what I beheld, quickly throwing away my ideals and turning into the exact kind of cutthroat capitalist I despise. I found myself deriving a sick glee from overcharging a sprout for a carbuncle-shaped lamp. Gone was the ambitious young craftswoman. In her place was an avaricious merchant who’d sell you the pom off a Moogle’s head if it meant more gil in her pocket.

Back to Patricia Hernandez, who joined the chorus of voices singing the praises of open world detective ’em up Paradise Killer. I need to play this before it’s time for the end-of-year lists.

And yet to boil Paradise Killer down to its mechanical strengths would be a complete disservice to the world it builds. You play as a member of the ruling class, essentially, and the nonchalant way these people talk about the humans below them is horrifying. It’s especially unsettling to explore the society the syndicate has built for humanity, and see firsthand all the altars and monuments where people died over deities that they may not even believe in.

Music this week is A Capable Man by Man & The Echo, which I listen to while running around Brighton, tugging on my collar and sweating.

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Graham Smith

Editor-in-chief

Graham is to blame for all this.

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