The Sunday Papers


Sundays are for finally feeling human again. Before you inhale through both nostrils, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).

For Into The Spine, Yussef Cole wrote about being a freelancer in Armored Core VI. Not the cheeriest contemplation on the parallels between being a freelancer in FromSoft’s mech-world and our real one, but hey, some gloominess couldn’t hurt. Although I’d argue that ‘success’ is relative and there’s always more to one’s identity than the work they do.

In Armored Core VI, everyone is your competition, everyone is your enemy. Even those pilots you fight alongside in one mission will inevitably end up as your adversaries in the next. Allies and enemies alike, they’ll all wind up at the end of your gun’s barrel, whether as virtual avatars in your training simulations, there to hone your skills against, or as living, breathing combatants in the real world, come between you and the goals your mercilessly drive toward. You study their builds, their choice of armaments, their strategic approaches. Do they hold some advantage that I am not seeing? Does their laser shotgun counter my burst rifle? Do their tetrapod legs give them a height advantage over my tank treads? Do they have some secret knowledge that makes them more valuable, more worthwhile as pilots?

Cameron Kunzelman wrote about Myst’s unforgettable world for Paste. Kunzelman returns to Myst’s world 30-years on and finds it’s not worth dwelling on what it did well technically, but moreso its general energy.

Overwhelmingly, these things are not told to us through dialogue. While there is some light exposition, it is through an absolute feeling of abandonment that all of this is communicated to players. Journals and diaries are left in key places, each filling in the histories of the family and Myst Island itself, and using those personal narratives, the player gathers clues to solve the puzzles that they find on the island and in the Ages that they can unlock. Everywhere they find nothing—each place lacks human beings, and is nearly devoid of animal life, but retaining an absolutely haunting sense of human habitation.

Nathan Brown contemplates the big Microsoft leak, for Hit Points. Brown’s overriding reaction is one of sympathy, which even he finds surprising!

To state the blindingly obvious, Microsoft — or whichever legal firm it has been paying thousands of dollars an hour to inadvertently leak its entire business plan — is staring down the barrel of a decade-long marketing nightmare. How on Earth is team Xbox supposed to get its audience excited about what it has coming down the pipe? Even if we take Spencer at his word, and accept that these are old plans that have changed over time — and ignore the uncomfortable questions that would raise about why they were submitted to the FTC in the first place — he and his team still have to navigate the audience’s assumption that, when an E3 or similar rolls around, Xbox will have nothing to show them that they do not already know about. Surprise and delight, so often trotted out to describe the relationship between the game biz and its consumers, are now firmly off the table.

Our very own James Archer wrote about the triumphs and failures of accessible gaming hardware. A brilliant longread on how custom and adaptive controllers serve players with disabilities, and how certain factors like cost and bad attitudes make up a number of barriers that still need clearing.

“So I can’t use a traditional PlayStation controller to go play the new God of War, right? One of my best friends in the world helped write the damn thing. And I would love to be able to go play it. [God of War Ragnarök writer] Alanah Pearce is one of my best friends, and I’d love to go play the game she helped write, that’d be awesome. But I can’t, because I can’t go play easily on PlayStation, I have to wait until things are on the computer. So there are barriers, like the fact that, you know, PlayStation would rather release things on the console and not allow it to come to PC at the same time, where I would be happy to give them their $80.”

Music this week is Just Listen by Flo Blue. Here’s
the Spotify link and YouTube link. Jazzy.

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That’s it for this week folks, take care of yourselves and see you next week!

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