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The Sunday Papers

Sadness and videogames

Sundays are for recovering from Saturday's bus trip to Wales by frying as many eggs as will fit in the pan, playing some obtuse ASCII game, and wondering what cartoons you might watch come night time.

  • James Patton writes a eulogy for the recently departed, and why the kinds of games it traded in are important.
  • These games were not about pushing out a finished product ready to sell, which preoccupies a lot of indie dev culture at present. They were about playfulness, exploration, a breathless desire to just throw some assets together and make something real. These games were working on the frontier, going to strange, unexplored places and unlocking our ideas about games and our potential to make them in unexpected ways.

    Long live Live Free Play Hard.

  • The High School Starleague was setup to support teenagers in playing competitive eSports. Now as games like StarCraft, League of Legends and Dota 2 grow in popularity, the group are able to offer scholarships as prizes. Philippa Warr interviewed its organisers about its growth and its future.
  • The big change, surprisingly, is that teachers now understand eSports more than ever - they get it’s a viable vocation now, and a hobby worth nurturing. "These days there are a lot of teachers who grew up with video games and they're really excited and passionate about it," says Wang. He's talking about the swell of interest from teachers in the HSL. "We've never had the growth in faculty involvement that we've had this year."

  • PCGamesN's Steve Hogarty does strong work as always from EVE Fanfest, where he shows EVE Online's lead spaceship designer some of his own ideas for potential spaceships. Top aluminium facts, too.
  • PCGamesN: I'm a big fan of dogs. This is a dog spaceship. How would you implement this into EVE Online?

    Josh Bayer: Very nice. We actually already have a ship called Cerberus in the game right now, and it's very similar to this. It's a missile shooting ship, a medium-sized cruiser that's pretty fast and lobs missiles from long-range. But obviously this Cerberus is a very fast ship too.

    PCGN: Well it's got thrusters on each paw.

    JB: Yes.

  • I've been meaning to write something somewhere about Hoplite for months now, but let's assume that's never going to happen. Let's assume that these things between us will remain unsaid. Let's assume instead that you should go ahead and read Tom Francis' breakdown of it "neat, clever and satisfying" mechanics.
  • As the difficulty ramps up from there, the way your chosen abilities play off each other to let you overcome the endlessly increasing challenge becomes elegant, then balletic, then sublime. These calculated chains of sweeps, leaps and thrusts let you dance through a minefield with precision and grace, felling everything around you. It’s hard to fully explain how neat, clever and satisfying it feels – so I made a GIF.

  • Escaping into Skyrim.

    From real life, I remember when I took her back from the hospital I was scared that I'd never bring her back to life. She was empty and broken. I brought her tea and beans on toast and when she slept I played. Sometimes, when the loading screens went on too long, I’d start crying. She would call to me and I would pause the game and go and sit with her and tell her that the important thing was that she was well and safe and that she would get better. I had gathered up all the folic acid, the baby books and the red and blue babygrow that said "Just Like Daddy" on it and stuffed it in a plastic bag and hid it in a drawer. So she wouldn't have to see any of it. Sometimes a visitor would come round and I'd make them tea and we'd sit and they would leave their coats on. Everyone had such serious faces. In Skyrim, I had decided the Nords were racists and sided with the Imperials.

  • Nathan now has a corner of Kotaku to call his own, where he posts the sorts of things which don't fit into his (continuing!) RPS work. I especially enjoyed this piece on Why Those Dumb Buzzfeed Quizzes Are Actually Great Videogames.
  • t's like the character development portion of an RPG, only you get the full effect of all those branching conversations in under a minute (or maybe a bit more if you reeeeeally need to think about which sandwich condiment depicted in a Ryan Gosling movie is your favorite). It's just a few actions off from playing a slot machine, and that's the brilliance of it. Push some buttons, pull a lever, get a prize. But there's also more to it than that...

  • I've only just had time to start reading it, but Cara's new Embed With feature is about Katharine Neil and Harvey Smith.
  • Katharine has been telling me she is unsurprised to hear that no one has heard of her, but she is appalled that anyone who makes games would ask who Dishonored’s Harvey Smith is. Yet Katharine Neil is the never-heard-of game developer that everyone should know about. I shift uncomfortably every time Katharine self-denigrates, which is often.

  • I haven't had time to read this at all yet, but PC Gamer have done a long investigation of the creation and sale of Counter-Strike cheats. Let's pick a quote at random.
  • I wanted to see how far I could push it. I was paying for this. I wanted to feel powerful and get my money’s worth. I turned on auto-aim, and auto-trigger, which fires your weapon automatically when you point your cursor at an enemy.

    I played with these options and others for a handful of matches. They didn't seem as useful as wallhacking, or they simply didn't work as well, but I was vote-kicked out of a match before I could make an educated decision. Halfway into my next match, two hours total since I started cheating, I was VAC-banned from CS:GO.

  • In remembrance of Bob Hoskins.

Music this week is still various flavours of Japanese rock, but I've also been enjoying this funk band. I feel bad for not posting something electronic for a while, so take Skinemax, an hour-long mix of electronic music cut to clips from '80s films. "Skinemax is Koyaanisqatsi for a generation raised on late night television and B-movie VHS tapes. It's long form entertainment for short attention spans. An hour long VJ odyssey, it will move your body and warp your mind." I agree.

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