Sundays are for trying to remember what Sundays are for, after a long time of Sundays not being for anything at all.
John Lanchester wrote at the London Review Of Books about getting into esports in lieu of any other sport to watch during lockdown. He approaches the subject as an outsider, but with sincere interest:
My problem, though, is that I just don’t get it. By that I mean that a lot of the time I simply don’t understand what I’m watching, even when I’m doing so with someone who explains it as we go along. Esports are complicated, especially MOBAs. I’ve watched xPeke’s famous move – which really is famous, pretty much any League player, and there are currently 115 million of them, knows about it – with someone talking me through what’s happening, and the first moment in the YouTube clip where I understand what I’m seeing is the ending, where his opponent puts his head in his hands and bursts into tears.
Nathalie Lawhead wrote about the beautiful rebellion of video game bugs, and the potential for games to use software's inevitable glitchiness as a more intentional part of the experience. This feels particularly relevant in the week of Flight Simulator's release, when part of the appeal is flying around the world to find all the spots where the generation algorithm has gone wrong.
When I played Off-Peak for the first time, I was REALLY into it. I talked to everyone. I followed every and all dialogue branches through. I explored everything… Right before I reached the end, this was literally moments before the end of the game, and I would pass the narrative finish line to get the end of the story… I turned a corner and fell through the floor.
I looked up and watched as the world slowly shrank away from me, falling indefinitely. It felt so intentional. Almost like a plug was pulled. It was like a weird special ending just for me, by the game. It rebelled against the heavily authored experience that it is, to give me this alternate ending.
For Fanbyte, Jay Castello spoke to the developers of Fall Guys about their vision for the game, and their careful efforts to position it as a jolly game show-like experience.
“The best thing is if you grab them back it turns into a hug. So that’s very heartwarming,” adds Jackson. That ties into the game’s overall dedication to goofiness. Unlike the often muddy and wet courses of similar TV shows, Fall Guys is colorful and — some pink slime excepted — clean. Jackson says the overall design was prompted by wondering what a civilization would look like if their entire culture was based around this kind of show. “So this is like the most expensive version of that that’s ever existed… If these companies had infinite resources and money, what would these levels look like?”
PC Gamer's Rachel Watts looked at the best huggers in Spiritfarer, which contains several wholesome GIFs.
This is videogames adjacent, but relevant. NPR wrote about the differing ecosystems of Spotify and Bandcamp, and spoke to the co-founder of Bandcamp about why "his company does business the way they do".
Spotify is now worth an estimated $54 billion on the stock market, despite having never shown an annual profit. Bandcamp is privately owned, has been in the black since 2012, and continues to grow... slowly. You might be tempted to say that one is a 21st-century business, and the other belongs to an earlier age. But neither could exist at any other time.
When I last wrote the Sunday Papers, I was listening mainly to a mixture of jazz, '90s hip hop, and Japanese guitar bands. Good news! Nothing has changed. Music this week is Japanese band Necry Talkie, whose every song sounds like the intro to an anime.