Sundays are for saying, "Yeah, just here's fine mate". Before you get out, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The New Yorker, Will Sloan wrote about the cartoon mystery that stumped the internet. An elf-like man pictured in the back of a family photo simply can't be identified... or can it?
There is something about the cartoon that is specific enough to make virtually everyone who sees it believe that they recognize it, but vague enough that nobody actually can. It definitely looks like it was animated in the late eighties or early nineties. It doesn’t look like Disney. It looks like it could be the work of Don Bluth, the one-time Disney animator who went on to direct “An American Tail” and “A Troll in Central Park,” except that those movies have been watched and rewatched by millions of people, and even their minor characters would surely be instantly recognizable to many. The photo’s Canadian origin suggests that the image could be a product of the Canuck animation studio Nelvana, which helped create such Saturday morning slot-fillers as “Rock & Rule” and “Star Wars: Droids.” I’ve seen dozens upon dozens of people suggesting that it might come from a mid-eighties series called “The Littles.” This seemed possible to me, but, just as I was about to binge every episode of “The Littles” at double speed, someone pointed out that the Littles had five fingers on each of their hands, whereas the character in question has only four. Please, stop suggesting “The Littles.”
For Unwinnable, Edward Smith wrote about wanting to walk along the rail lines in Grand Theft Auto. A neat piece on wishing a video game world could stretch on forever when you were a kid and the irony of those thoughts when presented with expansive open world games nowadays. I wrote something along these lines last year.
And I used to want to walk on the rail lines because it was like there was this whole world going on elsewhere and being seven or whatever I’d imagine there was some way you could kind of break through the surface level and access it and if I walked on the rail lines they’d eventually go to some like hidden area where all the other characters were and you could somehow get into this bigger world that was always implied.
On Kotaku, Ashley Bardhan explains why Bloodborne will always be her game of the year. Bardhan contemplates her connection to Bloodborne's doll and why she routinely returns to a game that wounds her.
I could tell before she said anything. I’m used to dolls watching me, giving off that milk glass glow, a certain satin womanhood. They freak me out. Bloodborne, FromSoftware’s role-playing game battered with decay and perverted blood, knows that. A realistic doll is a silver hairbrush with burnt horsehair bristles, a medium-evil interpretation of what girls want. It fits comfortably in the game’s scary palm. But Bloodborne settles into discomfort without endorsing it, and that’s why, no matter how hard I try to branch out, Bloodborne is my perpetual game of the year.
For CNET, Erin Carson wrote about how The Lord Of The Rings used AI to change big-screen battles forever. A long-ish read with some cool insights into the core of visual effects and the various tricks they use to outwit us.
Once, Marshall had to fill 90,000-ish seats in Wembley Stadium, and did it with flesh-colored digital grass blowing in the wind because so little sharp detail was needed. "A human very quickly just becomes this fleshy face color, a band of hair color, a band of color for the shirt, and a band of color for the lower 60% of pants," he says.
Music this week is Kingslayer (feat. BABYMETAL) by Bring Me The Horizon. Here's the YouTube link and Spotify link. Something a bit different - and a lot heavier - than my usual picks. It manages to fuse metal with Japanese idol metal to create something I'd imagine would make a perfect backing track to a Yakuza boss fight or a shonen anime showdown.
That's it for now, catch you next week folks!