The Sunday Papers is our weekly roundup of great writing about (mostly) videogames from across the web.
Sundays are for putting in your contact lenses on the first try. Before you hold back the blink, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on Bullet Points, Jay Castello wrote about Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’s frictionless environment. A great piece on actually engaging with land, as opposed to finding the perfect angle to view it from. Reminded me a little of the book English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks, another thing I’d recommend everyone gives a read.
But Valhalla’s presentation is closer to how the land has actually been treated. A beautiful backdrop is nice, but the frictionless experience is the most important thing. The real England is a record of that process more than it is anything else. Paved roads, forests forcibly tamed into fields, hedgerows cut into stark squares. Even most of the stone circles are in disrepair because they were ploughed right through in the Middle Ages.Throughout history, the people of England have wanted to smooth out nature’s bristles to better fit their purposes in the same way that Valhalla smooths the player’s interaction with its world.
Christopher Livingston wrote about the next wave of city builders for PC Gamer. A nice round-up for budding city builders who want to construct colonies in less-than boring places.
And if you were looking for an even bigger creature to build a city on, how about a cosmic sea turtle flying through space? If you’ve ever fancied being in charge of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, you should keep an eye on colony builder World Turtles. As the tremendous creature paddles through the inky blackness of space, you’ll work to grow your civilization with peaceful and sustainable technology and live in harmony with the grand space turtle.
For Eurogamer, Chris Tapsell wrote about the new PS Plus setup and its car boot sale approach to catalogue gaming. I’ve only got the Essential tier, but judging by the Extra and Premium tiers, I doubt it’s worth an upgrade for me. I’m fully prepared to sift through a “mound of shovelware” in an antique shop, because that’s what I’m there to do. When I’m sat on the sofa having already paid lots of money for a service, it’s the last thing I want to do because I am grump and impatient. Give me a nice UI and filters – cheers.
That sense of jumble-sale, turn-out-your-pockets, dig out a box from grandad’s attic-style curation is only added to by the Classic Catalogue of PS Plus Premium. Again: some gems! Jumping Flash! Ape Escape! Hotline Miami! But also a bafflingly vast array of licensed film tie-ins: Cars Race-o-Rama, Brave: The Video Game, Tron: Evolution, more. Not satisfied? How about a range of floating, disconnected sequels like, um, Epic Mickey 2, Greg Hastings Paintball 2, Samurai Warriors 4, Ninja Gaiden 3, and several but definitely not all of the Dynasty Warriors games.
Patrick Klepek spoke to Call Of Duty devs about what it’s like to make a game in the wake of a mass shooting, for Vice. A good read on how many devs are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the way their games champion guns.
“That culture, and the people within it,” said the same developer, “are the biggest obstacle I see in passing reasonable gun laws that would respect the second amendment while also reducing the number of mass shootings. How many people who played games I’ve worked on have gone on to be a one issue voter, focused on preventing any and all gun legislation from passing? I don’t know, but it troubles me. I don’t feel guilty because I don’t know that I’ve directly contributed to any of this through my work, but I’m concerned that I’ve been a tiny cog in a larger machine that may have been doing more than I realized.”
Last week we learned that Dragon’s Dogma 2 is officially in development, waheyyy. I really enjoyed my time with the first game, and yet, I often struggle to sum-up exactly why when recommending it to people. Recently, I remembered Matt Lees’ video on what makes Dragon’s Dogma special and I’ll just leave it here for anyone who hasn’t given it a try yet. It’s the sales pitch I’ll keep in my back pocket from now on.
That’s it for now, catch you next week folks!