Sundays are for doing some guided meditation to wind down. Before you take a deep breath, let's read this week's best writing about games.
For The Verge, Darmon Richter wrote about how S.T.A.L.K.E.R. inspired a wave of real-world Chernobyl tourists. Let me tell you, I won't be visiting anytime soon.
However, not all S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fans are looking for that group tour experience. Stepan (who, for privacy, prefers not to use his full name) is one of a growing number of young Ukrainians who visit the Chernobyl Zone illegally. Many call themselves “stalkers.” On his trips, Stepan carries food and water, a first-aid kit, and a cheap radiation meter he purchased online. He says it takes him three days to hike from the Zone’s perimeter fence to Pripyat, a journey that mirrors the player’s progress through the game world of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. Just like Yemelianenko, Stepan’s interest in the real Zone started with the game.
Over on the Guardian, Lucy Campbell takes a look at the rise of gaming parents and grandparents. I couldn't help but smile after I'd read this one. Also, I'd like to formally invite John Reed to carry our Warzone squad - we desperately need it.
John Reed, 74, agrees, having found his skills as a chess player highly transferable to his new addiction, Call of Duty: Warzone solos. He’s so far gained five outright victories in the first-person shooter game. “It’s gained me enormous kudos with my grandsons,” Reed says. “And it’s nice to think that all these highly rated players are being taken out by a grandpa in his dressing gown.”
Another one from the Guardian, this time by Tola Onanuga who uncovers video games' Black pioneers. It's criminal that there's been such a lack of recognition for these Black innovators.
A third black innovator from the early days of the video games industry is Muriel Tramis, who is considered to be the first black female video game designer. She lives in France but grew up on the Caribbean island of Martinique, in the Lesser Antilles, and began her career as an engineer, programming military drones. She first made her mark on video games while working at French developer Coktel Vision, which she joined in 1986.
On Eurogamer, Chris Bratt examined the External Development Summit's panel which was entitled "Let's Talk About Crunch". Turns out they completely missed this point. This is an excellent - if unfortunate - follow up to People Make Games' "How Game Publishers Buy Crunch Overseas" video. Bratt is one half of PMG, and each video they make is a banger, so do give them a glance if you have the chance (jingle unintentional).
But in terms of solutions, the panel struggled to land on anything tangible. Some spoke of the importance of putting your foot down, or preparing ahead of time, but I don't know how useful platitudes like that are going to be for a newly-graduated and overworked concept artist from Kuala Lumpur, or a 3D Modeller in Jakarta who's not leaving the office until 3am in the morning.
Music this week is Black Country, New Road's "Track X". A quick glance at their page says this is post-punk, jazz-infused stuff. I'm glad they've put these details up, as I have a hard time describing their sound. I haven't heard something so unique in a long time. Another one of their tracks "Sunglasses", takes the experimental one step further.
That's me. Have a solid Sunday everyone!