Sundays are for making Christmas-themed baked goods, but I haven't decided what yet. Some sort of spiced cookie? That's what I'm thinking, if I can get the ingredients I need from the local shop. Quick, here's some not-Christmas themed articles about videogames to read while I think about what shapes to cut the cookies into.
Steven Messner at PC Gamer wrote about what it's like to become a YouTube gaming celebrity at 80 years old. It's not all good.
One morning in September of last year, Shirley Curry woke up to a terrible surprise. Her email inbox had been flooded with 11,000 emails from strangers commenting on the first episode of her Skyrim let's play. While millions might dream of one day becoming an overnight celebrity on YouTube, Shirley found it terrifying. "I just sat there and cried," she tells me. "It scared the puddin' out of me. I didn't know what to do."
I am always ready to read about someone's love for Burnout Paradise, the best racing game ever made. This time it was Christian Donlan's turn to sing the praises of its long arcing corners and smashable scenery and, well, everything.
Rather than zero in on the car, forever hurtling around a corner, forever poised between control and chaos, forever edging into the wrong lane where beautiful catastrophe awaits, Paradise pulled back to examine the world outside the car, the world rushing by regardless. What if that world was all connected? What if all the roads had permanent locations within the same space, and could be navigated as you saw fit? What - and this is blasphemy - what if you got rid of those glowing chevrons which fenced the courses off so that you didn't really have to worry too much about where you were going in the first place? These chevrons, I always think of them as the gutter guards they put up at bowling alleys when little kids are learning to play. They seemed like an essential part of what Burnout was: streamlined, pared down, relentless. Then, Paradise took them away. Suddenly, all of the races you were entered into were taking place in a wider somewhere. Suddenly, you couldn't just focus on the rival you were planning on barging into the spars of a concrete underpass, but you also had to leave a little bit of attention free for where the finish line was and which cross streets you were going to need to use to get there.
I'm always fascinated by people who hunt for easter eggs, shortcuts or urban legends in videogames, so I enjoyed this Ars Technica article by Richard Moss about the people doing just that in Grand Theft Auto V. I did not notice any of the environment details they have but I open they find an answer one day - just to know that there is an answer. Already some of the things they've found are incredible. This is just the start:
Just below the peak of Mount Chiliad, a huge mountain in the far north of San Andreas, a mysterious mural sits high atop a cliff face. It looks like a map of the mountain's interior—a network of tunnels that connect five small chambers and three large ones with what appear to be a UFO, an egg, and a jetpack within them. Whether it's actually a map isn't clear. Nearby, painted on the bottom edge of a lookout platform, are the words "come back when your journey is complete." And beneath that, painted on the ground, there's a red eye.
I'm not going to read this because I've yet to play the game and I don't want the spoilers, be they for plot or mechanics, but I bet this Waypoint article by Patrick Klepek about the making of one of Titanfall 2's missions is good.
Maybe there will be another Titanfall game, maybe not, but it's abundantly clear that Titanfall 2 is worth a closer examination. No level underscores the game's narrative and mechanical surprises better than the "Effect And Cause" mission halfway through the game. To learn more about how it came together, and how its origin stretches back years, I spoke with the chief architect behind this time-bending mission, senior designer Jake Keating.
At PC Gamer, Chris Livingston ranked Planet Coaster's mascots from worst to best.
While I know our boy James would rate Chief Beef #1, I’m not entirely sold on the concept of a high-ranking police hamburger. Yes, Chief Beef is an incredible name, and it's most of the reason why he's one of the better mascots. Thing is, while he has risen through the ranks of law enforcement to become chief, an impressive feat, I feel he lacks any real authority, possibly due to his rather uninspired hat and the fact that he carries a gold spatula that may as well be a magic wand. Come on, Beef, are you a cop or Harry Potter? He's also a walking advertisement for hamburgers, and I don't think that's befitting for an officer of the law.
I’m not saying I don’t like Chief Beef: I do. I just don’t respect him.
I have been looking at Steam stats this week. I like David Klemke's breakdown of trending games gleaned from a large sampling of Steam's user base.
This is old but new to me and very funny.
Music this week is the new Childish Gambino album, which I have not listened to yet.