Sundays are for blending coffee beans in your flat and being acutely aware that it's very, very loud. Before you spin the blades, let's read this week's best writing about games.
For Kotaku, Ash Parish says "Sorry, your cis white woman protagonist isn't progressive". Hear hear.
It sucks when games forget about you. It also sucks to be constantly told to wait your turn. Almost five years after its launch, Overwatch—a game in which its colorful, disabled, and queer characters are a large part of its appeal—still doesn’t have a playable Black woman. (Sojourn’s coming, I know. But Overwatch 2 still doesn’t have a release date, and we’ve been waiting almost five years now.) Yesterday, the Overwatch League announced an MMA-themed skin that features cornrows for one of its female characters. After seeing the skin, I joked that cornrows—a style worn and popularized by Black women—got added to the game before there was even a Black woman to wear them.
Over on Eurogamer, Lu-Hai Liang takes a look at how Animal Crossing became a place of protest in China and Hong Kong.
According to the researcher, Hong Kong's protests were a seminal moment in videogame protests because of the way it pervaded so many parts of the culture. Theses include esports, most notably in the incident of a livestream of a Hearthstone tournament; games such as Pokemon Go, Animal Crossing, and GTA V; and locally developed titles Liberate Hong Kong and Revolution in our Times.
For Vice, Dia Lacina wrote a quick post about how they thought auto-battle was the best version of combat in NieR Replicant. I've never given it a go myself, but this has convinced me to give it a shot.
But in addition to accomplishing defensive and combo maneuvers that I simply can't—the Auto-Battle AI can (and will) make use of the full range of Grimoire Weiss's dark magic—and it's smart about it. Not just smart, it's sick as fuck. And it never needs to pull up a menu to change abilities, the combat just flows like an unbroken river. And rather than having to micromanage every single action, I was able to step back and play fight choreographer to an extremely cool AMV of my own making.
On Polygon, Simone de Rochefort asks the Neopets devs what the future of their game holds. It's a follow up to Nicole Carpenter's piece I linked a little while ago, about how Neopets is reckoning with black market pet trading.
Which isn’t to say the relationship between the Neopets Team and the players has been an easy one. The 2007 conversion is perhaps just the most dramatic example of players’ wants and developers’ needs clashing. This renewed outcry over unconverted pets comes at a time when The Neopets Team’s efforts were focused on revamping the site for mobile, and trying to eliminate its reliance on Flash. Flash support ended at the end of 2020, and by July platforms like Windows 10 will completely remove it. And yet, bopping around the Neopets website, one still bumps into plenty of dead Flash-based features that are on TNT’s endless to-do list.
Music this week is Leaving Laurel's "Winter in the Woods". One half of this band, Pierce Fulton, passed away recently having struggled with his mental health. He was an immensely talented producer and I'll really miss his music. A reminder to check in with your friends and loved ones, like, properly check in with them.
That's me. Have a solid Sunday everyone!