Sundays are for using those three-step curry kits and feeling like a gourmet chef. Before you add the herbs, let's read this week's best writing about games.
Over on Medium, David R. Howard wrote about the super flat design of Michiko Sakurai. At once a celebration of Sakurai's UI design across Super Smash Bros, and a proper art lesson.
Explorations of the tension between 2D and 3D can be felt most prominently in Super Smash Bros. Melee. The various food items which fighters can consume to heal damage are actually photographed pictures of food, and when pausing and rotating the camera they eerily billboard through the stillness, spinning to always face the camera. Contrarily there are trophies of 2D sprites like Birdo from Super Mario Bros. 2 which simply blink in and out of existence when turned. Then there’s the ability to shift the entire menu to view it from a different angle by tilting the GameCube controller’s C-Stick, revealing its paper-like flatness. But the most explicit example has to be the final unlockable character, Mr. Game & Watch.
For Vice, Joel Golby wrote about how he can't enjoy the new Grand Theft Auto because he's old now. A really fun nostalgia trip and an exploration into how time shifts your perspective on things.
The best game I ever played – a world I used to be able to crawl into and live inside for days – is just a load of grey triangles and some 69 jokes. Playing San Andreas now is like reading a masterpiece written in Olde English – clearly still one of the highest forms of art ever made, but in a format that makes experiencing it as much decoding and suffering as it is understanding.
For CBC, Jonathan Ore wrote about how tabletop game Warhammer 40,000 was once a sanctuary during his high school years, but has more recently been embraced by white supremacists. An interesting insight into the political history of Warhammer and it's growing number of inclusive communities.
Warhammer 40K takes that political satire and stretches it to galaxy-wide stakes. Mankind survives as a fascist Imperium, with its leader, the Emperor, worshipped as a god. He’s the commander of legions of superhuman Space Marines. Oh, and he’s been dead for 10,000 years.
For ArtReview, Lewis Gordon wrote about how Battlefield 2042 is killing the planet. A cool take on the weightlessness of the game's weather systems.
So the climate war in Battlefield 2042 is undeniably playful, but it takes place within a machine-like structure. The game could, theoretically, never end, because Battlefield 2042 starts a fresh map mere seconds after you’ve finished another. This means that there is never any pause – no quiet moment to reflect on the virtual bodies left to smoulder in the desert, or the climate crisis within which this symbolic violence takes place. Crucially, it lacks a negative image of the kind Anselm Kiefer and John Nash’s conflict-focused paintings offer. War is full of everything – pain, suffering, violence, noise – but their pictures of its aftermath are desolate and empty. Where is that feeling in Battlefield 2042?
That's me. Have a solid Sunday everyone!