Sundays are for walking past a pack of teenagers playing football and being mortified when their ball comes bounding towards you. Before you awkwardly prepare to kick it back, let's read this week's best writing about games.
For Pioneer Works, Everest Pipkin wrote about beauty and solace in the abandoned worlds of Roblox. Shout-out to commenter Ben King for the find.
Alone, I can be interested in the material of the ground, the paucity of construction, how little is needed to make a place that is yours, and by how quickly these worlds are built, explored, and then forgotten. How even the most hastily made place still waits there, sleeping. These worlds say so much about the default capacities and tools of the Roblox editor—the assets that get reused over and over again; the kinds of spaces that are valuable or loved; what is needed, and what meets that need.
Over on Unwinnable, Ben Sailer wrote about the role-playing television future of tomorrow, yesterday.
The one pop culture gem that almost made this media desert worthwhile was the pseudo-VR children’s adventure game show Knightmare, which ran from 1987 to 1994. Combining green screen technology and real-world roleplaying elements to create elaborate dungeons that contestants would navigate, the show seemed so far ahead of its time that it felt like the future of entertainment. Instead, its ideas have languished in obscurity ever since its final season concluded, leaving millions of viewers (or at least myself and some people on the official fan site) wondering why.
For Eurogamer, Martin Robinson had a quick look at A Little Golf Journey, and how it strips back all the stress of the sport. I worked on a golf course one summer and easily my favourite part of the job was driving a refreshments buggy around. Seems like this game may come close to capturing that lazy summer feeling.
"We really wanted to capture the sensibilities that you have when you're playing a triple-A game," says Goatley of A Little Golf Journey. "If you play Assassin's Creed and you're climbing a wall or whatever, you're not having to exactly map out where the hands and your feet are - you just point in the direction and you move, and you feel like you're climbing that wall, you feel like you're an expert at it, even though you're just you're just walking upwards, essentially. And we kind of wanted to do something similar with golf, where we really just take out a lot of the stress."
For RPS, head honcho Katharine previewed Eastward, which has her stoked for its September release.
Retro RPG Eastward has been on my most anticipated games list for actual years. When I first saw it at EGX back in 2019, I quickly fell in love with its characterful pixel art and nifty pair of protagonists - miner and frying pan extraordinaire John and his mysterious ward Sam - and couldn't wait to see what post-apocalyptic wonders lay beyond the mutated forests and run-down hub town I saw in that first demo. This week, I got to see a glimpse of its Quake City dungeon, a toxic wasteland you'll be picking through around ten hours into the game. With carnivorous plants, pesky crows and lots of poison-spewing hogs to contend with, Eastward has a surprising amount of bite hidden beneath its charming visuals, and I'm now more excited than ever to play it in full when it comes out next month.
Many of you probably already listen to The Back Page podcast, but if you don't, I'd highly recommend it. I really enjoyed their "Games We've Been Playing in 2021" episode. Here's the Apple Podcasts link, and here's the Spotify one if you'd prefer.
Music this week is Rainy Night In Georgia by Brook Benton. Here's the Youtube link and the Spotify one. I first heard this song in a taxi from Lisbon airport to our Airbnb, having just arrived on its sunny shores. Our driver had Smooth FM on, arm lolling out the window, and this song blasting - it was magic.
That's me. Have a solid Sunday everyone!