Sundays are for wedging a sliver of grass between your thumbs and blowing on it so it makes a funny noise. Before you puff those cheeks, let's read this week's best writing about games.
For The Verge Diego Arguello wrote about the challenges of testing music and fitness games.
For many testers, one of the things that made these challenging conditions more tolerable was the camaraderie that emerged from working with a small team on intense projects. “I have this really strong positive memory from close to the end of Dance Central’s production,” Sandel says, “trying to record the filter data for individual moves over and over because the first scoring system was a mess. We were up late and kind of delirious, fueling ourselves on stress and whiskey. We crunched a lot for the first game and I definitely sort of fell for the exhilaration of it, which was helped by how personable and fun to be around the team members were. Thankfully, crunch eased up a bit on subsequent projects, but we did still crunch.”
Over on Reuters, Brenda Goh wrote about children in China being restricted to just three hours of online gaming per week.
China has forbidden under-18s from playing video games for more than three hours a week, a stringent social intervention that it said was needed to pull the plug on a growing addiction to what it once described as "spiritual opium".
For Polygon, Cameron Kunzelman wrote about the emotional rollercoaster of retro gaming magazine collecting.
I’m not alone in my desire to reconstruct some kind of past out of these magazines. I asked Jess Morrisette, another aficionado who has recently been digging through older game magazines and posting interesting pieces on Twitter, why he was so interested in them. Via direct message, he told me, “If you want to appreciate how people understood the games industry — and how the industry understood itself — in decades past, old gaming magazines are a valuable starting point. Those moments when things feel especially puzzling by today’s standards — how did that feature get published, or why did they think that ad was a great idea? — can offer real insight into how gaming culture has evolved.” It’s precisely this understanding of how things got from there to here that I was chasing in my own collecting. I wanted to know how our culture had changed or, as Morrisette put it to me, “how it has failed to change with the times.”
For Eurogamer, Aoife Wilson put together a big breakdown of some new Elden Ring footage she saw a few days ago.
Then, the player brings up a map interface - a brand new feature for Elden Ring. It's beautifully illustrated and coloured in a sort of classic RPG map design. There are no words on it, just the outlines of the terrain and any places of interest drawn on from a top-down perspective. It's massive, and interestingly, there's a prompt at the bottom of the screen that says you can press in the right thumbstick to "show subterranean labyrinth" - suggesting there may be multiple map layers.
Over on The Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood reviewed Kanye West's latest album Donda.
Kanye West, like so many of the dubious Trump-era thinkers he’s aligned himself with during the last half-decade, likes to suggest that he’s just asking questions. Questions about freedom. Questions about celebrity. Questions about race and gender and redemption that other people are too scared to ask in a woke America. But if that was ever true, it isn’t really anymore.
That's me. Have a solid Sunday everyone!