The Sunday Papers
Sundays are for buying your books from an independent book shop. Before you support local business, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The Washington Post, Aidan Moher looks at how the greatest Japanese RPGs of the '90s came to the West. Moher talks to Western localisers about how the industry went from "afterthought" to "cottage industry".
“During the dark ages [of localization],” Smith said, “I’m picturing a guy alone in a room, just cranking out words. No matter how good a writer you are, you’re not going to produce your best material under those circumstances.” With a string of Western hits on their hands, Square was beginning to recognize the value of high-quality localizations, leading to newfound collaboration between the Japanese creators and Western localizers. “Suddenly you’re giving people more time, and eventually paying people better.” Funny enough, Smith said, localizers started turning in better work when they weren’t starving and exhausted.
Diego Nicolás Argüello wrote a post for The Verge on Dwarf Fortress breaking a 16-year-old tradition by hiring another programmer. It covers ho Putnam joined the Dwarf Fortress team and her experiences tackling the game's code, among many other insights.
Putnam says that it’s common for open-source projects to opt for using a standardized code format. Even if that’s not the case for Dwarf Fortress, she still finds it easy enough. “It’s just one guy’s code. It’s very consistent. People ask me how bad the code is, and I don’t know what they mean by this,” she laughs. Algorithmically, the game is “pretty well optimized” and she doesn’t seem to think there are big changes that could be done. “Dwarf Fortress just does more calculations than the vast majority of games. It’s a miracle that it runs better than The Sims 3.”
On Uppercut Crit, Camille Butera wrote about communities of food in Citizen Sleeper. Butera contemplates how the game treats food as more than just stuff that sustains us physically, but also as a way of sharing joy with others.
Completing the quest requires visiting one of the last unlockable areas: it is a quest that hung over me as I played the game the first time— a quest which might not further the plot, but which hung there in my task list, a small reminder of coming together that I left unfulfilled. And when I finished it, bringing the mushrooms that he needed, which my Sleeper had grown with their own hands, there was a sense of satisfaction. After all, I had brought joy to this character. And in return, I got to witness a moment of closeness, a bonding over food that left both parties satisfied— for the food seller, an awakening of old memories, for the Sleeper, a growth of new things. The Sleeper becomes important in this space, a person who could create, who belonged to the ecosystem of this space, both ecologically and socially.
For Newsweek, Alice Gibbs wrote about a bloke who argued that his wife didn't respect him as a pilot. Except that he hadn't ever flown a plane - incredible.
Some commenters likened it to other professions and hobbies. One Reddit user wrote: "I have a 590-day Duolingo streak, so I call myself an interpreter for the UN," while another posted: "A flying license involving a certain quantity of real flight hours, not simulation. If that were the case, every GTA fan would be a driving champion."
Music this week is Amtrac's album Extra Time. Here's the Spotify link and YouTube link. An album that's specifically tuned for riding a hover-cycle through a Cyberpunk city at night.
That's it for this week folks, have a great weekend!