Sundays are for moving forwards a bit, so your backpack doesn't get trapped as tube doors snap shut. Before you shuffle, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The Washington Post, Lewis Gordon wrote about video games' tough choice: nice graphics or sustainability. A piece on the difficulties faced by companies like Unity, who must wrestle with sustainability as everyone chases the next power-hogging CPU.
The sustainability head mentions the fidelity arms race — the idea that the “second you have any energy-saving here, someone's like, ‘Let's make it more photorealistic over there.’ ” Indeed, there are concerns among journalists that graphical fidelity is overtaking energy savings as a priority at a time when precisely the opposite should be happening. If rumors about the new generation of Nvidia graphics cards are accurate, they could gobble up more than 800W — an enormous amount of power, generating lots of heat and requiring more potent cooling solutions.
For IGN, Rebekah Valentine wrote about how a tiny, beloved driving game sparked a decade-long feud. A long read investigation which starts off relatively fine, then quickly devolves into messy disputes and lawsuits.
But the truth is far, far more convoluted than a simple David and Goliath match-up. Over several months of investigation into the two companies’ histories, legal documents, employees, and claims, I’ve uncovered a messy, complex feud over a decade old that involves years of stolen assets, allegations of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties on both sides, expensive cars, game development time bombs, possible shell companies, vanishing game developers, and a number of still-unanswered questions about the history, ownership, and fate of the little off-road driving game.
On The Guardian, Simon Parkin chats with Hideo Kojima about his seven years as an independent game developer. I always find the environment game devs work in super interesting and Hideo Kojima delivers. It's also an interesting look at how he was one of the first to contextualise on-screen fights in games.
I meet Kojima on a wet September afternoon, on one of the top floors of the Shinagawa Season Terrace in central Tokyo – a state-of-the-art skyscraper that boasts its own emergency heliport and internal water reservoir. In the lobby, behind the chopping entrance doors, stands a security robot. It wears a train conductor’s cap on its head, and its face is a TV screen on which animations express synthetic emotions. A trio of spider’s eyes stare unblinkingly from the centre of its gleaming white chest plate, primed to capture footage. It is a fitting receptionist for Kojima Productions, exactly the sort of appealing yet gently threatening anthropomorphic surveillance robot that is often found in Kojima’s science-fiction infused games.
For Kotaku, Levi Winslow wrote about the unsettling power of Dishonored's Dunwall. I'd give everything for Arkane to return to Karnaca in a Dishonored 3 or spin-off or whatever form it might take.
I mean, it’s the bourgeoisie’s fault that Dunwall is decaying. I’m not gonna pretend that it was some thriving city on the cusp of technological innovation or anything, though there were some creative minds toiling away in the town’s recesses. However, it was the active choices of powerful assholes hellbent on commandeering authority purely for narcissistic reasons that pushed the capital city to its demise. The ego is a strong, intimidating aspect of the personality that can lead to some terrifying circumstances if left unchecked. In that way, Dishonored could be viewed as an illustration of what happens when the ego has its way, and that allusion continues to haunt me.
Music this week is Millgrove by Tom Day. Here's the YouTube link and Spotify link. I've always been a big fan of Day's ambient tunes and this is his latest work. He lost his father to cancer in 2018, and - at least to me - there's a sense this track represents finally stepping out of the fog of grief.
That's it for now, catch you next week folks!