Sundays are for opening the window a crack. Before you erase the stuffiness, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The New Yorker, Simon Parkin spoke to FromSoftware director Hidetaka Miyazaki about how he sees death as a feature, not a bug. Some great insights from Miyazaki on his relationship with death, and great insights into how he works behind the scenes.
When I asked whether his family had played his games, he laughed and pointed out that his daughter was three. “Not quite old enough,” he said. But there was another reason: Miyazaki worried that his work, behind its abstractions, contained something too personal to reveal. Total control, it seems, risked total exposure. “I don’t want to let my family play my games, because I feel like they’d see a bad part of me, something that’s almost unsavory,” he said. “I don’t know. I’d feel embarrassed. So I say: no Dark Souls in the house.”
Over on The Verge, Alexis Ong wrote about cooking at the end of the world in Final Fantasy XIV. A neat piece on how other games should start treating foods less like throwable consumables.
What FFXIV’s Culinarian quest does is give us a well-crafted glimpse of the emotional and psychological journey to reach that nightmare, albeit with an unsurprisingly sentimental conclusion. Cast out by Galveroche, a furious Debroye decides to make her own version of panaloaf, which she names Mervynbread. The ruling body of Sharlayan, the Forum, will choose between panaloaf and Mervynbread as the official ration of the exodus. Naturally, while Galveroche’s panaloaf meets the Forum’s baseline requirements, nobody can imagine being forced to eat it for an indefinite period of time. Mervynbread, with its “frivolous” concessions to taste and aroma, isn’t just about giving people necessary calories and nutrients, but reminding them of the possibilities of pleasure and a future worth living.
Over on Hit Points, Nathan Brown wrote about Gran Turismo 7 being the dad-game of the generation so far. I know, I know, a PS5 game. But I think it's an interesting read on how it differs dramatically from the Forza Horizon series.
It’s a fine palate cleanser between Elden Ring sessions, then, and a striking counterpoint to Forza Horizon 5 as well. Forza wants to hook you in, and so builds its extravagant opening set-piece around an array of glossy, expensive cars, then plasters its map with icons, ensuring you are never more than two turns away from a dopamine top-up. GT7 makes you do laps in a wee Hyundai with a top speed of 70mph, and if you win it’ll give you a Nissan that can do 75. Above all, Forza seems a bit needy, oddly desperate to make you happy. Gran Turismo 7 assumes you already are.
Over on The Face, Edwin Evans-Thirwell wrote about Elden Ring and its pickle fetish. A fun look at the relentless horniness of the player messages in FromSoft's latest game.
It began as I entered the opening cave area, with a terse instruction to “try pickle”. Later messages went into more specifics. “Offer but hole, seek pickle.” “Try pickle then seed.” “If only I had a giant… pickle.”
That's me folks, until next time!