The Sunday Papers | Rock Paper Shotgun

Sundays are for counting down the days to the new Doom reveal, unless its happened already? In which case, wow, bold of Hugo Martin to cast himself as the Doom Slayer, but I like the moxy. Before I barge into the comments uninvited and argue with no-one in particular that Doom Eternal’s lateral expansion of its gameplay loop was ultimately a fantastic choice for the long-term health of the series, you swine, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things!)

For cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer, Kerry Brunskill wrote a fantastic piece titled “Graph paper mapping my way through a 37-year-old RPG reminded me how rarely I give games 100% of my attention, and how much more fun I have when I do.” It’s part of their Pasokon Retro series of looks at early Japanese PC games, which I’ve just discovered, and will now devour.

The intent of these modern tools is to be helpful, flexible, convenient. But all too often the reality is I end up thoughtlessly sanding games down into smooth, efficient, samey experiences. I don’t invest myself as fully as these games deserve. And when that happens, I miss out on the chance to make an adventure of my own, to take my route through a game and come away from a game with a personal story to tell instead of a tidy checklist of completed tasks, the same as everyone else’s.

Aftermath published an excerpt of Katherine Cross’s upcoming book Log Off: Why Posting And Politics (Almost) Never Mix. I agree, which is why I only ever used to post about wanting a Rock n’ Roll Racing remake – the lack of which I hold to be the one true failure of democracy.

This all matters for a few reasons. First and foremost, one of the ugliest side effects of terminal COVID-posting that proliferated amongst the Extremely Online was a deepening mistrust of their fellow human being; every time they fell for outrage-bait about some wanker being a dick about not wearing a mask, their inevitable response was, “I don’t trust people anymore!” This is a neat fit for conservatives, whose entire movement is built on a notion of Original Sin, developed through two centuries of monarchism, fascism, nativism, and lesser varieties of know-nothingism, that treats strangers as essentially threats. But for anyone to the left of Mussolini, such contempt for your fellow human being, such unwillingness to reach out to one’s neighbour for fear they’ll be like That Bitch from Panera Bread I Saw on TikTok, is extraordinarily dangerous—and fatal to realizing the ideals we share, which are necessarily collective.

For ‘ROCKPAPERSHOTGUN’ dot com, Sin Vega wrote about how Bellwright is secretly a lesson in good management. Is this breaking the Sunday Papers rules? Wait, hang on: I make the rules now! And I say it’s a beautiful and incredibly good bit of writing that you should read once normally and once again through this link.

What I didn’t appreciate is that it’s about management above all. I don’t mean “you’ll be in menus a lot”. It’s about why management exists: not for its own sake, but to serve an end. That end could be selling goods, or maintaining and distributing student records to where they’re needed. Or providing countless people with endless entertainment, interesting critique, and thoughtful reflections of a kind most can barely even imitate let alone match. Perhaps introducing obscure and underlit games in a brutally hard industry to an audience that will enjoy life a little more for having found them; an audience whose other options are too often cynical, rote, or plain uninterested in any greater significance or purpose to the work. Or liberating the land by killing all the baddies, sure.

Brian Crecente catalogued what looks like every handheld gaming device ever made, many of which he owns, for Pad and Pixel.

Music this week is Monopoly by Homeboy Sandman. Please let me know if you can name any other rap songs about board games. Not even as a metaphor. It’s literally just about Monopoly. Have a great weekend!

By admin

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