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The Sunday Papers

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A plain white mug of black tea or coffee, next to a broadsheet paper on a table, in black and white. It's the header for Sunday Papers!
Image credit: RPS

Sundays are for crossing your fingers in hope of weather that's as lovely as last weekend's (our children are really going to hate us -ed.). Or not caring, because your main plan is to sit indoors watching Olivia Colman do Oscar-worthy things. Or because you're busy reading the best writing about videogames from the past week.

On PC Gamer, I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Donnelly's tale of how a drug deal wound up with him awaiting an ambulance, and his eventual arrest, at the bottom of the Vinewood Hills sign. I'll never have the patience to explore a GTA role-playing server for myself, but as long as Donnelly keeps doing his thing I don't think I'll need to.

I made unscrupulous deals with Italian American mobsters who smoked fat cigars and wore sunglasses at night and told me in no uncertain terms that they couldn't fucking stand my Scottish accent. I slung crooked cops a few quid to look the other way. I grew and harvested my own dope. “Don't get high on your supply”, Frank Lopez famously said in Brian De Palma's iconic 1983 gangster flick Scarface. I got high on my own supply. I got in deep. Real deep.

Cass Marshall wrote an ode to her cowboy horse for Polygon. It is a good ode, and a gooder horse.

Not only does he work as a barrier, but I utilize Hayseed as a weapon of war. I have specialized my character to take all perks related to horseback damage. That is largely redundant, because I just charge at people and trample them under Hayseed’s big powerful hooves.

Despite all of this, Hayseed is a friend. Look at those placid, beautiful eyes. Hayseed is just a large lad who doesn’t know any better, and he must be protected.

Avelene Perry is absolutely right that the Lord of The Rings videogames don't give a damn about important themes from the books. The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King game was still fab though.

Please don’t think I’m a purist because I’m about to dunk on every single Lord of the Rings game ever made. The Peter Jackson movies fucking rule, and they handle some things — Boromir’s entire character, for example — in more compelling ways than the books. Also, that song in the animated Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings, the one about Frodo having nine fingers? That’s a bop. Anyway.

On CNN (CNN!) Elissa Strauss wrote about playing Minecraft with her kid. It's the kind of article that I'm sure must have been written a thousand times already, but this one is very good. Wholesome mother-son bonding aside, I liked seeing someone who never plays games try to explain them. Plus it's nice seeing a mainstream American news outlet do some positive vidgam coverage.

On our first night, he adroitly knocked off a few creepers and then got stuck in a mine. We tried knocking through the wall, and knocking, and knocking, until the idea of being trapped in this mine forever overwhelmed us and, together, we decided to call it.

"Next time, let's do creative mode," my son said. In this mode, there are more opportunities to figure things out and, as I understand it, no chance one might, say, get chased by a creeper into a dark pit and wither for eternity. This led me to my second discovery, which is that my son was more interested in learning how things work than achieving any particular goal.

I thought I could go a week without linking to something by Cecilia D'Anastasio, but I can't not include her article for Kotaku about ways in which the internet enables abuse.

There have been abuses of power so long as there has been power, and as apps like Twitch give more people opportunities to amass power, that means the way abuse looks is changing. Cheung didn’t have a cult of personality; he had a platform spread across several channels including Twitch, Discord, Twitter and World of Warcraft sites. His relevance, and the relationships built on it in part, were fragmented across the online world. That’s what made policing it, or even noticing commonalities, so difficult. Yet sometimes, even when behavior — whether it’s plainly illegal or part of a pattern of creepiness — is reported to the relevant parties, there are few if any repercussions.

On The Verge, Casey Newton's investigation into how Facebook (or Cognizant, the company they contract) treats its moderators is another long and difficult read - but everyone should be aware of what's raised here. Content moderators have to see horrifying images, which means every reasonable expense should be spent on caring for their mental health. The reality is appalling.

It’s a place where, in stark contrast to the perks lavished on Facebook employees, team leaders micromanage content moderators’ every bathroom and prayer break; where employees, desperate for a dopamine rush amid the misery, have been found having sex inside stairwells and a room reserved for lactating mothers; where people develop severe anxiety while still in training, and continue to struggle with trauma symptoms long after they leave; and where the counseling that Cognizant offers them ends the moment they quit — or are simply let go.

Hamish Black's vid on Resident Evil's Mr X is a great dive into the man behind the menace. Or more specifically, how realising that it's ok to tactically take a punch if you need to squeeze by him can undercut that menace. I had the same thought, almost spun it into an article, and now regret not doing that.

I have watched 6 minutes of NoClip's documentary about Supergiant dealing with the demands of an early access development cycle and I'm already too stressed to watch the rest.

Fortunately, music this week is Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch.

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