The Sunday Papers | Rock Paper Shotgun

Sundays are for rolling a critical success. Before you reach toss the dice, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).

For The Map is Mostly Water, Simon Sarris wrote about reading well. Many great takes and lots of advice on how to read good words. Sarris’ take on fiction vs non-fiction is the equivalent of a chef kiss.

If you read what is excellent you will not suddenly become excellent, but a life that is sown with stories is one better positioned to think and dream. The more stories, the more likely one is to understand and identify all the influences that act upon oneself in life.

Mikhail Klimentov argues that nobody’s a critic for ReaderGrev. Klimentov examines MovieTok creators who don’t consider themselves critics because they’re not a fan of them, and how the line between opinion-haver and criticism can “blur if you’re not paying attention”.

Some critics have art history degrees. Others play in local bands. Some dream of becoming artists in their own right. Others still have never picked up an instrument or a camera or a paintbrush or Unity or whatever. But while these things can alter the scope or cut or persuasiveness of a critic’s work, the qualifications for the role are 1) you have experienced the thing you’re talking about and 2) you can talk about it. This is perhaps the greatest point of similarity between critics and the pointedly-not-critics on TikTok.

Hilver did the numbers on what makes wholesome games wholesome for Unwinnable. Hilver analyses this year’s Wholesome Direct and comes away with an interesting set of data. Are wholesome games predictable? Also, I wouldn’t go into this thinking it’s some properly scientific study, of course it isn’t. Just go along with it!

Campfires were a popular object which is in keeping with the prevalence of woodlands and the idea of coziness. Lighthouses and windmills were an interesting set of objects; both are tall structures that help add flavour and interest to the background. To my understanding, lighthouses are no longer critical infrastructure for seafaring but are evocative and link well to the coastal environments common to these games. The use of windmills correlated to games set in time periods where windmills were still regularly used although there were instances of modern power generating windmills. Windmills also serve a function of conveying the motion of the wind and adding movement to a static scene.

Over on Insert Credit, Brandon Sheffield wrote about an IGN video titled “Baldur’s Gate 3 is causing some developers to panic”. Sheffield, a retired journalist, dismantles the video in question by asking actual questions.

In the abstract, here’s part of the answer: Games release in imperfect states because devs either run out of money or shareholders of their parent company mandate that a game must come out in a certain window (which devs have no control over). They run out of money trying to make the best game possible in the least amount of time. Devs rarely control their own budget and they are trying to make as much cool stuff as they can with the time they are allotted.


Here’s a great interview with Baldur’s Gate 3’s lead writer – and former RPSer – Adam Smith. They tackle what makes a good RPG romance, what Adam’s playing, and a lot more.

Music this week is Running by Falden. Here’s
the Spotify link and YouTube link. Infinity Pool house.

That’s it for this week folks, take care of yourselves and see you next week!


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