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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays for hoping the weather is good so you can get out of the house, and for looking forward to the following weekend when you might have internet at home and therefore something to do when the weather is bad. In the meantime, let's make the most of a borrowed connection and line up some of the best recent writing about videogames.

To start, sometime RPS writer Konstantinos Dimopoulos sent in his recent article on implying size and complexity when creating cities in games without the budget to show every backalley.

Small urban scenes and carefully selected areas, you see, can work brilliantly in implying size, complexity, urban function and texture, and in letting us conjure images of everyday life. In showcasing our elaborate creation in an easy to summarize way. Provided of course, there is a sensible backstory of our city, and an imaginary or real geography to draw upon. It's incredible how the existence of a city plan, regardless of whether it's ever used in its entirety, can help lend even the tiniest of places character and, once again, imply size.

Robert Yang brought a selection of his recent games to Steam in a repackaged release called Radiator 2. He wrote about the process of remastering them and what being on Steam means.

I've said before that I don't really care whether people play these games or not (especially when I don't make any money from it) and what's more important to me is simply that they exist. This is one of the primary tenets of the modern gay rights movement: that we must be visible and present, or else we will be erased. It's important that there's a gay sex game available on Steam, of all places, and that gesture is now part of the artistic meaning of this work.

I'm obviously late to this due to my many travels this past fortnight, but Rich Stanton is good on why Microsoft's E3 conference offered little comfort to Xbox One owners.

During the video for Project Scorpio, two minutes of puffery dedicated to Microsoft's bright Christmas 2017, there is a man who speaks with his mouth but betrays everything with his eyes. "This doesn't mean we're leaving the Xbox One behind," he says, but the truth is there to see as his eyes flick away from the camera. Microsoft began its E3 conference by revealing the redesigned Xbox One S - and then, it still amazes me now, closed the show by telling everyone they'd be fools to buy any kind of Xbox One.

At PC Games N, Fraser Brown asks why Watch Dogs 2 needs to have guns, picking at the loose threads already trailing from its hacktivist storyline.

It just seems so unnecessary, that second option. And a bit nonsensical. I mean, Marcus is a bespectacled hacktivist who ostensibly wants to liberate San Francisco from a corrupt system. Blowing up cars and murdering goons doesn’t strike me as a very sensible approach, if that’s the case. It makes him a criminal at best, a terrorist at worst, but more importantly doesn’t really gel with what we know about the game so far.

At Zam, which continues to produce fine features every week, Eron Rauch writes about the hidden worlds of esports stages. Which seems to have as much in common with TV game show set design as with regular sports.

Trying to make live events as exciting as the in-game action is a big problem for the production companies and broadcasters trying to grow video games as sports. Watching someone huddled over a computer in a locked pod is not very interesting from the third balcony cheap seats. Even if you have platinum-tier-VIP-front-row access, no matter how many speakers pump out seat-rattling explosions and regardless of the number of swirling laser lights, staring at someone clicking quickly in a plexiglass box is not particularly compelling.

The long road Iceland had to walk in order to beat England at the Euros. Or I suppose the long road they had to walk to qualify, and they beat England mainly just by turning up.

Music this week is Wurp by Birthday Sex.

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