The Sunday Papers | Rock Paper Shotgun

Sundays are for watching yet another episode of Catfish. Let’s feign surprise as we read the week’s best writing about games and game-related things.

For Eurogamer, Ed Nightingale wrote about what the ultimate character creator might look like. Nightingale talks to devs about their approach to character creation, its challenges, innovations, and what its future might hold.

She also has a more philosophical take on diversity. “The future needs to be that broader representation is a given, not a nice-to-have,” she tells me. “When it comes down to it, the more available options in a character creator and the more different-looking characters that appear in a game world, the more people who can see themselves in that world and want to engage with it. That means more people playing and enjoying games, which is something that everyone in the industry should be striving for.”

Over on Aftermath, Luke Plunkett highlighted an incredibly rare Sega AI console. It’s main hook was to bring people into the “world of artificial intelligence”, and as much as I dislike the idea, I do think it looks very cool. Here’s the full breakdown on the console, from SMS Power.

The Sega AI Computer was released back in 1986, and as the site says, was “one of Sega’s least well known and rarest systems”. Primarily intended for use as an educational device–its marketing and limited releases were focused on schoolkids–its main hook was that it was going to be able to bring users “into the world of artificial intelligence”.

Bijan Stephen’s article for You’ve Run Out Of Complimentary Articles looks at Apple Vision Pro as the tyranny of the future. Stephens argues that Apple’s new headset replicates everything you can already do and is therefore, pretty boring actually.

But I think that’s the whole problem, and part of why the Vision Pro already feels somewhat dated: we’ve seen this before. It’s from a future that’s been exhaustively imagined; the ideas in the device are all over sci-fi and cyberpunk. The Vision Pro feels like an artifact from a future that no longer obtains — a piece from the feverish daydreams of the ’80s, from the flying car/hoverboard future. Not the one we’ve got.

For The Guardian, Tom Regan spoke to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 devs about making their game during wartime. Incredible to hear from the devs how they’ve turned their office into a refuge of sorts, and how development has been somewhat of an escape for them.

It may be hard to understand why these developers would continue coding a video game in a war zone, but for many, Stalker 2 is their life’s work. After leaving Uzhgorod for a temporary refuge in Budapest, the departing GSC staff settled in Prague in March 2022. Like with many creative companies, the Kyiv office had become a home away from home for many of its employees. So attention was paid to ensuring the new Prague HQ sported familiar branding and ambience, in an attempt to provide some semblance of normality and respite from the horrors of war.

For Crikey, Cam Wilson wrote about how a pay-to-use toilet gag revealed Google Maps could be used to track people. “I thought it would be really funny if a stranger came over asking to do a poo,” explained Will. They never did, and about a year ago Will moved out”. Exceptional.

But looking at the app’s listing for the “business”, Will spotted something that he didn’t find as funny. Like many other businesses, Google Maps showed a “Popular times” graph depicting how popular the location is using information provided by Google users who’ve agreed to let the app access their geolocation data. 9AM on Thursday was a busy time for Big Dumpers, according to Google Maps, but completely empty later in the day.

Music this week is “Too Deep For The Intro” by J Cole. Here’s the YouTube link and… there’s no Spotify link sadly. Easy to see how many saw him as a talent from the get-go.

Have a lovely weekend all!


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