The Sunday Papers | Rock Paper Shotgun

Sundays are for finishing up Godzilla Minus One now its on Netflix. I’m not shilling Netflix here, but I am happy to shill Godzilla. Before I shout “It’s Godzilla! That’s Godzilla! It’s him!” every time Godzilla is on screen, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things!)

For Places Journal, Shannon Mattern wrote about ‘Cardboard Media And The Geographic Imagination’.

Nieland describes the “visual idiom” of CCA publications as “free of topographic detail, in keeping with [the] modernist grammar” of Bayer’s atlas, an abstract design language that concealed the violence of colonial extraction and uneven development. Exceptions prove the rule. In ads that show the slash pines grown in the southern United States, we are reminded that kraft pulp processes use tremendous amounts of water and release toxins. And as Robin Lynch notes, in some of the United Nations ads, we see landscapes ripe for extraction — lands that were in fact deforested by the CCA, which cut down tropical rainforests in South America to grow pine and eucalyptus for paperboard. (Similar colonial operations are hiding today behind the flatness and false cheer of Amazon’s smarrow.)

An “optimistic industry pulsecheck” is how Brendy described this PC Gamer piece when he Slacked it to me. And who doesn’t need one of those right now?

To be played forever, these giant games must be continuously replenished with engaging new stuff and operate an always-evolving (usually competitive) multiplayer mode, things that need tremendous resources to sustain. By comparison, the small games with “forever replayability” tend to rely on systems-led design, the roguelike form, or things like procedural level generation, like Spelunky 2’s 99-level Cosmic Ocean finale. Because small studios have this upfront infinite-replayability-without-infinite-content challenge, I think it leads many of them to cook up weirder, captivating ideas like Phasmophobia’s security camera booth, Balatro’s satisfying exponential jackpots, or Content Warning’s use of an open-source screen recorder to stitch video clips together into real, sharable webm files.

Chris Person got nostalgic about Mario doing crowd work at E3 for Aftermath

In 2013, I was waiting in line before a Nintendo keynote presentation with all of my gear. It was a loose queue of journalists and guests waiting to be seated. What followed was one of the weirdest 10-20 minutes of my entire career: Above the waiting area, hovering like Big Brother, was the smiling face of Mario projected on a screen. It did not seem pre-recorded but rendered live, with its mouth movements connected to what sounded like Charles Martinet doing crowd work with every journalist there.

“Oh hello, it’s-a me Mario,” the voice boomed. He started calling out individual journalists by name, like they were his colleagues. “Oh look it’s-a Michael McWhertor from Po-ly-gon,” he said, firing off a list of whoever was there to the crowd’s amusement and confusion. It was surreal, and baffling. The appeal of Mario is his brevity, but Martinent was a ham and loved to riff. His take on the character came from him rambling Italian-sounding gibberish into a mic. In effect, Martinet’s role as Mario began with riffing for a system like this.

Good video essayist Renegade Cut has been making more video game content recently. I especially liked this recent one on replacing game soundtracks with your own. MertKayKay’s essay on Silent Hill 2 & ‘The Male Loneliness Epidemic’ has been out a while now, but we’re moving closer to remake month every day.

Music this week is this inexplicable mix of Godzilla lo-fi. Have a great weekend!

By admin

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