February 22, 2024

The Sunday Newspapers | Rock and paper shotgun

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Sunday is for strutting around in your bathrobe. Let’s dance as we read the best writing of the week about gaming and gaming-related things.

Chris Tapsell wrote about it for Eurogamer The derivative nature of Palworld. A few nice observations that kind of got to the heart of what I couldn’t quite put my finger on: that it makes you feel like a “Mark.” I found that too Xwitter thread from Arkane Lyons studio head Dinga Bakaba an interesting counter-argument.

If you’re not on board yet and wondering what you’re missing, relax. Palworld is large and controversial; It’s also complete nonsense. It’s primitive and derivative, a game that at first glance seems almost entirely fake – a game quickly contrived for a three-second appearance on a teenager’s PC monitor in the background of a mid-budget TV drama. A one-handed game played with an N64 controller by Tony Soprano – although honestly I think even he deserved better.

Over on his own website, Matthew Ball wrote about it the difficult situation of gambling in 2024. It’s a pretty extensive read with a business focus, just so you’re clear. But for those of us who want to get an overview of all the recent layoffs, it’s well worth reading.

Unfortunately, the number of AAA console/PC games and average playtime or purchases per user have not grown nearly enough to cover these cost increases on average. In many cases, even the best-performing titles struggle to fit the bill. The first Spider-Man title sold over 22 million copies, while Miles Morales sold 10-15 million copies. Early sales declines suggest Spider-Man 2 may be underperforming its two predecessors. And according to some reports, Insomniac has been considering splitting Spider-Man 3 into two $50 installments to cover its $385 million budget. There are twice as many active Xboxes today as there were at the height of the first Halo, but that doesn’t come close to making up for the 33x increase in cost.

Merritt K’s article for The Guardian chronicles the sweaty, sociable beginnings of gaming. The closest I’ve ever come to LAN parties was gathering around a table with a few friends and playing Runescape/League Of Legends on our laptops.

I didn’t care. Or maybe I associated the constant motion of smashing, running, grabbing a weapon, being smashed with the smell of socks and man sweat. I had discovered a different, kinetic side to gaming that lured me away from the sophisticated twists and turns of first-person adventure games and fragmented computer records. I dreamed of blocky pixels racing by in a whirlwind as I turned around and around.

Yussef Cole wrote about it for Bullet Points RoboCop: Rogue City evokes nostalgia for plastic toys. An interesting article about how childhood memories can influence your perception of video game revivals.

Playing games like Rogue City means pitting action figures against each other and reliving the lost years of innocent, reckless gaming. We naturally want to believe that we are doing something completely different; adult, more mature. That’s why Rogue City goes to such lengths to cloak itself in the cloak of gravitas, paying lip service to societal concerns through bloodless cutscenes and occasional UI pop-ups that remind you that “your actions will have political repercussions.”

Admittedly I haven’t seen People Make Games’ latest video yet, but I know it’s going to be a great watch. This time they uncover Jubensha, a real-life crime game that has taken China by storm. It seems to have some similarities to LARPs and tabletop role-playing games.


The murder game revolution that has swept China


People Make Games’ latest release focuses on a murder game revolution that has swept China.

This week’s music is “Feedback” by Amtrac. Here is the YouTube link And Spotify link. Amtrac is back with another song aimed at anyone driving at night or sipping a cocktail on a sun lounger. He somehow responds equally to both times of the day.

Have a nice Weekend!

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