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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for finally figuring out how much money your pals owe you, after recoiling from the task for the past six months. Never buy Edinburgh Fringe tickets for your friends, kids. Here's the best writing about videogames from the past week.

For PC Gamer, Chris Livingston convinced Santa from Sim 4 to move into his horrible raccoon house. I'm a bit late to the party on this one but it's marvelous and goes places.

The only time Santa and Chris seem to get along is when they're trying to score with each other, so I continue down that path. I admit it's a little odd, playing as Santa and trying to bang myself, but even after getting undressed and into bed we only wind up bickering. We try going on a date that evening to smooth things over, but all of the smelly raccoons show up at the restaurant with us. Santa and Chris have an argument in the parking lot — I think I can guess the topic — and Chris storms off.

For GamesRadar, Alex Wiltshire (sometimes of this parish) spoke to the Disco Elysium developers about how their game came to be. Lots of nice nuggets in here, especially those that reveal how improbable success seemed to be.

"I had never dreamt of making a video game before, because I couldn't get one piece of it into something that small and concentrated," says Kurvitz. "But then I suddenly saw the ghetto part of Revachol from up on high, and I realised that it would be perfect for an isometric game." Kurvitz told Kender he needed to discuss the idea with Rostov. "I remember going to the door to let him in," Rostov says. "He looked me dead in the eye and said, 'My friend, we failed at so many things. Let us also fail at making a video game.'"

For Vice, Lewis Gordon reviewed Wattam. There is a lot of talk about environmentalism but little talk about how you turn your friends into barbecued meat.

More often than not, Wattam centers on communal solutions. Just after the game’s theatrical opening, the mayor becomes upset but his tears are far from useless. I’m able to use them to water the soil. Out of his sadness sprouts a flower and before long, I’m forming a friendship circle involving two more flowers, the mayor, a giant rock, and a disembodied nose. As we spin faster and faster around a pine cone called Valerie, a gigantic pink tree grows from the center. Everyone is smiling and laughing. A few minutes later, I’m controlling the pastel-colored shrub, sucking up my friends and turning them into food which falls from my leaves onto the game’s soft grass. Some turn into fruit as you might expect while others turn into barbecued meat.

The staff of Sidequest shoehorned philosophy into goosecourse, which of course I'm going to link here aren't I.

Why are we so obsessed with the Goose? Because unlike us, he is truly free. There is no punishment, no discipline, for a being of pure anarchy. No gods, no masters, no police, no Panopticon—the Goose is our refuge from surveillance, an outlet for the pandemonium we might cause in retaliation to our oppression if, only if, being watched didn’t cause us to self-regulate.

For The Washington Post, Elise Favis looked into VR tech that's helping train surgeons. It turns out they really desperately alarmingly need it??

Because of surgery’s unpredictable nature, and since the bulk of its training relies on hands-on experience, Barad says that the only time he’d undergone a “technical assessment” was when he was asked to play the board game Operation during his residency interview. Part of the problem, Barad said, is that there are no “scalable, low cost ways” to easily measure surgical skill. Osso VR offers a solution: It has built-in analytics that objectively measure your surgical performance.

Denholm Aspy's Aeon article about lucid dreaming has got me hankering to try it again. The effort it takes seems ludicrously well-compensated by accessing your own fantasy wonderland. I haven't tried the technique he describes here, and it's supposedly the most reliable one.

It takes a bit of practice, but if you’re lucky you might even have a lucid dream using MILD on your first night. If you do become aware that you’re dreaming, it’s important to stay calm, since intense emotions can trigger a premature awakening. And if the dream starts to fade or seems unstable, you can try rubbing your hands together vigorously from within the dream. It sounds strange, but this strategy works by flooding the brain with sensations from within the dream, which decreases the chance of becoming aware of your sleeping physical body, and waking up.

Find your name in pi!

Music this week is Grace and Gasoline by Anna Tivel.

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Matt Cox


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