Sundays are for raising a cold glass, hearing a thump, and realising that your coaster had stuck to its bottom. Before you pick it up, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The New Yorker, Simon Parkin wrote about how Battle Royale took over video games. Parkin looks at the Japanese novel that spawned a video game phenomenon, all the way from its beginnings in an Arma 2 mod, to titans like Call Of Duty.
In order to introduce bullet drop-off over long distances, they rewrote the game’s ballistics system, and in the process realized that the series had sped up over the years, with characters running at about fifty miles per hour. In Warzone, this made it nearly impossible to hit a moving target at range. The animators installed a line of L.E.D. lights in the studio, which would trigger in sequence to show the speed at which characters ran; after attempting to race the lights, they reduced the top speed by twenty per cent, causing some on the team to balk. “One designer said to me, ‘Congratulations, you have ruined this game,’ ” Infinity Ward’s studio head, Patrick Kelly, told me.
Tom Phillips wrote a news post on how the history of Cyprus is a problem in Pokémon Go for Eurogamer. An eye-opening look at how many players in Cyprus' Buffer Zone area are robbed of a game that's built around community. It was also a snappy history lesson for folks - like me - who weren't all that aware of the country's past.
History lesson aside, the country remains divided by a United Nations Buffer Zone, a red ribbon on maps that cuts across the middle of the country. The internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus lies to the north, while in the south sits the island's larger Greek Cypriot-dominated region. Between the two sits the Buffer Zone - an area which on paper sounds like a hazard, but in reality is home to 10,000 people - where Pokémon cannot spawn naturally.
On The Verge, Mia Sato and James Vincent ventured into CNET's AI-powered SEO money machine. Morale is low at the company and their use of AI-generated words is kept largely under wraps. Not to mention that it's steering 'content' towards a farming model, where a click and a quick flash of an advert is good enough.
On CNET senior editor Rae Hodge’s last day, she sent a goodbye email to hundreds of her co-workers imploring them to look more skeptically at their AI co-workers. Her email began with a screenshot of a ChatGPT-generated resignation letter. “I am writing this letter using AI-generated content,” the note reads. “While I may not have personally composed these words, I hope they convey the sincere appreciation I have for my colleagues and the work we have done together.”
For Unwinnable, Madison Butler compares The Case Of The Golden Idol with Return Of The Obra Dinn's storytelling and player presence. Butler argues that the games' differences, not their similarities, are what make them stand out in the mystery genre.
The Case of the Golden Idol, on the other hand, is entirely linear. As the plot progresses and Edmund Cloudsley and his associates use the idol to gain popularity and influence, the tension of the game hinges on whether anyone will be able to prevent them from rising to power and usurping the English monarchy. The answer is yes, thanks in large part to Edmund’s hubris. In the end, neither the idol nor his wealth can save him and the rebellion is destroyed along with the idol. To observe Edmund's downfall provides a catharsis different from Return of the Obra Dinn's satisfaction of a job done. The record of events in The Case of the Golden Idol serve as something of cautionary tale rather than a ledger of balances paid and owed.
That's it for this week folks, have a great weekend!