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The Sunday Papers

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A plain white mug of black tea or coffee, next to a broadsheet paper on a table, in black and white. It's the header for Sunday Papers!
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Sunday’s are for being mildly optimistic about the future for a few short hours. Before something bad happens, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things!)

For The Baffler, Noah Caldwell-Gervais wrote about games that employ repetition, both cynically and transformatively.

This is just the era we live in, our own stagnant age in the Lands Between. With Disney and its subsidiaries sucking all of the air out of the room to repackage the same concept over and over, Hollywood has reached the stale conclusion that the same story can be told repetitively. The embrace of AI across multiple mediums just intensifies this dilution of what feels meaningful. The worst games have always felt like an uncritical amalgamation of what’s familiar and proven, and AI is a tool designed to manufacture nothing but the obvious and average. Books with no point and nothing to say because they have no lived experience behind them; music that sounds familiar but says nothing because the AI that made it has never experienced emotion; animation that is detailed but stilted and lifeless because all the AI knows how to do is copy the humans who have gotten it right. It is a crushing tidal wave of cheap slop, a response to the hunger for more content that makes content both infinite and empty, starving even as it feeds. The incentive to do something new, or take a risk, or ever definitively say “This experience is over now” is vanishingly small against the profits that come from cyclically remonetizing what is already familiar.

Ed Zitron wrote about shareholder supremacy, nihilistic capitalism, and the legacy of Jack Welch. It’s a massive read, but well worth it if, like me, you lack the words and historical context to articulate why these things make you angry. I’m still going to refuse to elaborate on my “men in suits bad” stance, though, because it annoys people.

The unique problem that Sundar Pichai and the rest of the rot barons currently face is that there aren’t any hyper-growth markets left, and they’ve been desperately adapting to that reality since 2015. So many promises — augmented reality, home robotics, autonomous cars, and even then, artificial intelligence writ large — never quite materialized into viable business units, making big tech that little bit more desperate. I have repeatedly and substantively proven that both Meta and Google made their products worse in pursuit of growth, and they’ve done so by following a roadmap drawn by Jack Welch, a sociopathic scumbag that realized that he could turn General Electric into a shambling monstrosity of a company that could shapeshift into whatever the street needed.

And I believe that this same financial nihilism is what empowers people like Mira Murati and Sam Altman, but also millions more middle managers and absentee CEOs like the kinds I’ve been writing about for the last three years. Our economy is run by people that have never built anything, running companies that they contort to make a number go up for shareholders they rarely meet — people like David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Brothers Discovery who intentionally chose to not release Coyote Vs. Acme, a fully-produced and ready-to-debut movie featuring Warner Brothers’ core brands, choosing instead to save money on its tax bill….

And where do you think David Zaslav gets his fucking management philosophy from? Huh? Can you guess? Can you guess who it might be?

For The Guardian, Julian Benson simulated a year in the UK under each party in Democracy 4.

At the start of each party’s term in parliament, I mirror the manifesto costings in tax cuts and spending increases as closely as possible. For the Conservative party, that means cutting national insurance contributions and civil service headcount across the state sector; for Labour, I implement tax policies that target the same people affected by the closure of non-dom loopholes and VAT on private schools; and for the Liberal Democrats, a major tax on banks, corporations, technology companies and the aviation industry coupled with massive investment in state health and welfare services.

All the parties rely on £5bn or more raised from cracking down on tax avoidance. While that seems like a policy that would hit onlynthe very wealthy, in reality, according to the IFS, it would hit taxpayers at every level. I recreated this with a tax that hit the Everybody demographic, and I can tell you, they weren’t thrilled about it

Second Wind’s Sebastian ‘Frost’ Ruiz’s Cold Takes are always great, and this one was pleasingly inside-baseball. Here’s the last two minutes or so of Kerrang! TV. I agree with maybe a third of this review of Shadow Of The Erdtree, but god is it cathartic. Music this week is One More Day Won’t Hurt by Soft Play. Have a great weekend!

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