Sundays are for tipping dust from your vacuum into the bin and getting a deep sense of satisfaction from it. Before you pat the drum, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The New York Times, Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno wrote about a video-gaming school that helps dropouts get back in class. Japan's first esports school realises that it's stumbled upon a way to give school absentees purpose. An insight into Japan's often hostile school environments and how there's a space in education for everyone with the right approach.
It was a typical response. Traditional Japanese education puts a premium on cultivating grit — known as gaman. Educational methods often focus on teaching children the value of endurance, dispensing harsh punishments and avoiding anything that looked like coddling. But as Ms. Tsutsumi watched her son sink into depression, she feared what might happen if she tried to force him back to class. She had begun to lose hope when Torahito saw a television ad for the e-sports school. She wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea, but “the most important part was that he wanted to attend,” she said.
Andy Brown wrote a post for NME on a haunted DOOM map inspired by House Of Leaves. A quick post about a map whose layout changes seamlessly as you explore and visit earlier areas. It looks fantastic.
The mod is quickly picking up traction with Doom fans, with many praising the mod’s surreal twists. Speaking on the map’s creation, Veddge said it was designed as a tribute to a deceased friend — but the files attached to the mod, including an unsettling journal and scrapbook, suggest even this is part of the mod’s mystery.
On Unwinnable, Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot wrote about lifelong friends being made in dead and dying games. A look at Dirty Bomb, a game that's long since lost dev support but still has rentable servers. Yes, they might only play host to a few folks, but player count isn't everything. In fact, a much smaller player count has helped forge a much greater sense of community.
“In [the] best cases, 20, 30 people [were] watching either of us,” Kruljac said. “And it was the 20, 30 people you cared about . . . I don’t want to have 1,000 people watching. I just want these 20 or 30 people and [to] chat with them. And you really made a community within a community. That was really, really nice. It was super perfect.”
People Make Games have a new vid out! Quinns is let loose on the world of Microsoft Excel esports. My favourite bit is when Quinns and Chris team up and take on an Excel task, to see how their score compares to the world champion. They truly run the emotional gamut.
Bonus music is ナイロンの糸 by Sakanaction. Any translation help would be good for this one, my phone mentioned something about rice and nylon? Anyway, it's another nice track. Here's the Spotify link and YouTube link.
We haven't talked books in a while hey? I don't read super quickly, which doesn't help. But the two books I've loved so far this year have been Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.
I'd heard lots of things about Lapvona's grimness being manufactured purely for shock value. I couldn't disagree more. I read somewhere that it's written by someone that's smarter than us, and I think that's true. Moshfegh cuts right to the heart of things, yet leaves a lot to unpack.
Slaughterhouse Five is a time-travelling, anti-war treat. Funny, sad, jarring. I can see why it's lauded as a classic. Get it read!
Finally, I won't be about for the next couple of weeks as I'll be on hols, but I'll find a stand-in so the Paps continue in my stead. Take care of yourselves and see you in a bit!