The Sunday Papers
Sundays are for getting your glasses frames rejigged so they actually fit your face! Before you pop them on, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on Unwinnable, Ben Thorp wrote about how the future will forget us. Thorp examines Season and Pentiment, and how art fails to capture our messy present.
The Greyhands, to the game’s credit, aren’t positioned as villains either. They may even be right. The world of Season is littered with dark purple flowers that regurgitate audio clips of old memories, a neat purple rippling filter like a boozy dream playing across the screen when you get close to them. In one of my favorite segments of the game you stumble across a field of purple flowers marked with signs warning you that you will be overwhelmed if you enter. Estelle, impervious, bikes through the field where memories crash over you like the sound of a crowded room. In the center of that field is the massive stone head of some ancient void god that if you pray to it will remove a single memory. I prayed and Season’s protagonist forgot her name. To me, the game was saying something about that crammed, unreadable journal in my backpack: be more selective, not everything can be saved.
Oli Welsh wrote a post for Polygon on a cursed piece of modern art inspired by a World Of Warcraft bug. I've linked a piece to the bug in question before, but this is still an interesting look at how it - and other bugs from other games - have inspired actual bits of art.
In other pieces, Rosenblum has found himself returning to other figures from online and gaming culture, like Hatsune Miku and the Orks from Games Workshop’s tabletop Warhammer games. He was interested in Hatsune Miku because she’s basically a vehicle for fan-created art, and the community has agency over her; and in the Orks he saw a symbol of “this amorphous and, like, ever-powerful version of the working class that no force can really come up against. That seemed like something that was really beautiful to me.” Another piece, Vitalik’s Sword, has a unique NFT on an SD card sealed within a giant sword, modeled on a two-handed sword that might have belonged to a WoW character created by Vitalik Buterin, creator of the Ethereum cryptocurrency. (Buterin says he created Ethereum after his favorite WoW character was nerfed in a patch.) Another, Infinite Squalor, is an overwhelming, horrifying wall of images culled from the Neckbeard Nests subreddit.
On The Guardian, Dom Peppiatt spoke to composer Takeshi Furukawa about creating The Last Guardian's soundtrack. Always interesting to hear how a game's scored and Peppiatt draws out some fascinating answers from Furukawa.
Furukawa tells me that the “harmonic language of the score” is heavily inspired by French impressionism, making liberal use of sevenths and extensions in the chords to achieve the quietly affecting music that falls into the foreground during battle sequences and story moments. “This results in the colours of the score feeling muted and softer like watercolours,” says Furukawa. “In contrast, I visualise triadic harmonies as being brighter and vivid, like bold oil paintings.”
Over on EDGE Online, Caelyn Ellis wrote about how King's Field kickstarted FromSoftware's ascent, And how King's Field's influence can still be felt throughout FromSoft's Soulsy catalogue.
King’s Field established another cycle for FromSoftware. Thanks partly to the studio’s low profile, the game did not arrive to any great fanfare, a factor in initially poor sales. It took word of mouth for the game to find its audience and eventually become commercially successful enough to warrant a sequel. While it’s hard to imagine the same situation occurring again today, following the enormous success of Elden Ring, there were echoes in the release of Demon’s Souls. The PS3 game’s quality wasn’t universally acknowledged on its release, its reputation growing more widely over time to the extent that the 2020 remake became a focal point for the launch of a new PlayStation era.
Music this week is Try My Best by Anna Of The North. Here's the Spotify link and YouTube link. Channeling summery vibes with a catchy pop number.
Thanks to everyone who popped some language learning tips, big or small, into the comments. They were all brilliant. I am now trying to get some semblance of a routine together!
That's it for this week folks, take care of yourselves and see you next week!