Sundays are for nearly having a heart attack when the toaster pops. Before you jolt awake, let's read this week's best writing about games.
The folks over at ChaoyangTrap wrote about the popularity of Steam in China and how it's the only platform which hasn't been hit by Chinese censors.
Chen Guanpeng’s game Booth is a perfect example of the kind of fascinating and idiosyncratic games that have been able to emerge in this market. Set in a dystopian world grappling with dire food scarcity, the game casts the player as a food inspector stuck in an isolated booth, checking food products being imported along a conveyor belt into their country. Your only escape from the daily grind of work is the relationships you can form with the three different girls who deliver meals to you, but you later discover that even your personal interactions with them are being used as a method of control and surveillance by your government. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s a truly interesting one with a compelling story invested with player choice.
For Fanbyte, Jocelyn Monahan wrote about the growth of Final Fantasy XIV roleplaying venues.
To Chihaya, who runs a tavern called the Inkwell, regulars are the part that’s “worth the effort to keep going.” Like the Gin Ironic, the Inkwell is a comfy spot with its own set of quirks: they regularly host a fight night and have a bartender with an unfortunate tendency to set things on fire. Talon feels similarly; regulars are what keep them open every single evening. While both players acutely feel the stress of running a venue ⁠— as Talon says, it’s “mentally taxing”⁠ — it’s the persistent communities they’ve built that keep them going.
For Real Life Mag, Tony Tulathimutte wrote about how Clash Rules Everything Around Them.
So the most interesting thing about Clash isn’t how it’s an allegory for late capitalism. (Isn’t everything? Isn’t that the point?) It’s that Clash makes especially clear how everything is interchangeable under such a system. Time is life is work is death is money is property is time. Technology fuzzes the distinction between real and virtual. Like almost every game with a death mechanic, the true currency of Clash isn’t virtual gold but actual time. Dying in a game forces you to waste your time trying again, “spending” part of your limited lifespan on a failed effort. Money can help you enjoy your time in the game more, but there’s no changing that every session brings you five minutes, a hundred thousand coins, and dozens of deaths closer to your death.
For The Art Newspaper, José da Silva wrote about how museums are stepping up exhibition design.
Will Guthrie, the lead architect for the show, explains that each gallery for the exhibition was designed to be a different size—”we had points of compression and decompression”—and offer a distinctive environment to reflect the shifts in Lange’s body of work and the narrative of her life. For example, the first room reflected Lange’s early life and was painted a dark green, with domestic details like skirting boards, and a cut-out into the next gallery mimicking a window on the outside world. The latter was inspired by a story Lange told—her “epiphany”, Guthrie calls it—when she was running a photography studio in San Francisco. Looking out of the window, she saw an unemployed man as the Great Depression began to show on the streets of the city. She grabbed her camera and took to the street to photograph him, thus beginning her remarkable career.
To round things off, People Make Games spoke to those who worked on the Mass Effect 3 endings which drew huge backlash at the time.
Music this week is Major Happy by Fred V & Grafix. Here's the YouTube link and Spotify link. Psyching myself up for Forza Horizon 5's Hospital Records radio station with this DnB delight. I dare you to read the YouTube comments while it's playing and not shed a tear, good luck.
That's me. Have a solid Sunday everyone!