Sundays are for sinking some time into a new book. Before you turn the page, let's read this week's best writing about games.
For IGN, Matt Kim spoke to dozens of Asian American game developers about Asian American representation in life and games. I'm half Japanese, and this whole piece resonated with me, but especially a certain bit which mentions Katamari Damacy and how it's unapologetically Japanese without it being about a samurai or a ninja.
“With things like Overwatch and a lot of cast games, when you do get Asian representation, it’s pretty nuanced to the point where people of that community can tell that that accent is regional, which I think is excellent,” says Hazelton. “But for single-player games, you still don’t really see [that]. You have to go, again, to cast games or indie games.” Even in those more positive examples, some Asian cultures are simply never represented. As Hazelton points out, “I’ve never played a game with any Filipino characters.”
For the Guardian, Keza MacDonald and Keith Stuart ask: could 2021 be the worst year ever for video games?
There would usually be at least some firm release dates to look forward to, but those too are thin on the ground. Game development is a collaborative process that takes years and is extremely sensitive to disruption, so the effects of the pandemic are only just starting to be seen. A lot of the games we were looking forward to are going to be significantly delayed. Will 2021 be the worst year for games in recent memory?
Over on Eurogamer, Martin Robinson wrote about how he fell in love with a hardcore accounting sim. I can't say I fell in love with Atelier Ryza 2, but this piece reminded me of how I never understood its complicated menus and systems but enjoyed the game anyway.
A-Train feels like the kind of game that exists regardless of the player, a petri dish you're invited to prod and poke at yet one that will carry on without your input. It's a living, breathing thing - and even if I don't understand so many of its systems, I've got faith that after 36 years doing its thing Artdink has them refined and realistic, so I can just let them churn away and do their thing as I nose around the virtual world I'm tending. What a world it is, too - the iconic isometric view is retained, though with a flick of the stick you can use a free cam, or even head down to ground level and hitch a ride on one of your trains, seeing towns, cities and the fields in-between roll by.
For Kotaku, Nathan Grayson highlighted Twitch's latest sensation, which is a camera trained on a stop sign which no-one stops at.
Most drivers just pass right on by, despite how precariously close they come to getting into wrecks with other drivers. It’s an entirely unnecessary game of chicken that makes for weirdly riveting viewing, especially with chat yelling out every stop and non-stop its collective Eye of Sauron sees, doling out nicknames to cars, making memes, and establishing an ever-expanding lexicon of terms like “rollers” and “zoomers.” It’s like watching a gigantic esports event, only it’s cars passing by some rando’s front yard.
Music this week was recommended to me by resident RPS staffer, and Warzone compatriot, James Law. It's Denise Chaila's - Chaila. I like the vibes, which are good.
Archipel's interview with former GhostWire: Tokyo director Ikumi Nakamura is well worth a watch. We covered it here on RPS, but I've also stuck the video below:
That's me off. Have a solid Sunday everyone!