Sundays are for digesting the turkey and/or nut roast. Before you lay back, let's read this week's best writing about games.
Over on Eurogamer, Christian Donlan wrote about the return of Brewster in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the bird who defies so much video game logic. A really interesting look at seemingly meaningless interactions in games.
Testify. I was excited for Brewster not just because he is an old pal, and not just because his coffee shop is a perfect videogame location - the wooden bar, the sense of polished surfaces, the feathered tiles and lovely hanging lights. Not even because when Brewster returns so does his languorous, melancholy soundtrack. No, I was excited for Brewster because he breaks so much of what I think has been established as video game logic by this point. You pay for an interaction with Brewster which, on the surface at least, appears to be largely meaningless.
For Jalopnik, Adam Ismail wrote about Racing Lagoon, a game previously inaccessible to Western players for 22 years, until a group of fans fixed that. Not only an interesting look at a forgotten Square Enix racing game, but also at the challenges surrounding localisation.
"What makes Racing Lagoon is the sum of its parts," Hilltop said. "Sure, games like Midnight Club have a story and cutscenes, and others have an open world, and others have some of the customization features. But there's nothing that has the whole package like Racing Lagoon. [Square] really put their full effort behind all of these different aspects, nothing is just thrown in as an aside. Even today it just feels good to win a close race and be rewarded with taking your opponent's entire engine."
For Rolling Stone, Alexander Darwin wrote about the lost diary of Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain posted anonymously in a martial arts forum as he trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They are funny and eye-opening accounts of his battle against sweaty combatants, as well as addiction.
After 45 minutes of sprawls and burpies, it's time for live rolling. Someone puts on Rupert Holmes' "Piña Colada Song" and right away the 270 lb former wrestler who just got dumped by his girlfriend, angrily passes my guard, slaps me into side control and sinks his weight into my jaw. He's wearing a new but filthy Atama gi. It feels like a cheese grater against my cheek as he grinds away at me. I can hear my teeth making terrible sounds and am pretty sure my crowns are going to explode any second. Jabba The Wrestler has been eating at Subway. I can smell rancid, sour, pre-sliced onions on his breath, which, sadly does little to mask the horrifying miasma of swamp ass rising from his sweaty thighs. As my teeth give way, the music changes to Don Mclean's "American Pie". I pray for death but I'm already dead.
For The Washington Post, Nathan Grayson wrote about how Twitch stars and McDonald's teamed up and entered the metaverse together. A look into the future?
That IRL event showed the limits of the friendly intimacy livestreams project, the feeling that serves as the foundation of streamers' appeal compared to more traditional, cordoned-off stars. After a certain point, stardom is stardom, no matter how chill and accessible you make yourself seem. If enough eyeballs follow your every move and enough hands want to reach out and touch you, you necessarily become something else — something removed from the general populace, if only for your own safety and sanity. It seems that even a virtual space, free from the confines of the physical world, does not entirely change that. No human being can be everywhere at once. But a brand, in some sense, can be — at the cost of authentic, face-to-face humanity.
Music this week is Frappe Snowland from Mario Kart 64 by Kenta Nagata. Here's the YouTube link. A nostalgic winter ride.
And have Sherbet Land from Mario Kart: Double Dash for good measure, composed by Nagata and Shinobu Tanaka. Here's the Youtube link. An updated, but equally nostalgic winter ride.
Lastly, I'd just like to say thanks. Thanks for reading these Paps, for commenting nice things, for discussing stuff, for simply turning up to RPS and clicking on words. A bonus thank you for reading any of my nonsense. I hope you have a merry Christmas, a great New Year, and stay safe out there.
See you in 2022 folks, take it easy!