The Sunday Papers | Rock Paper Shotgun

Sundays are for seeing lots of pals you’ve not seen in a while. Before you travel over, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).

For The Ringer, Lewis Morgan wrote about the subversive genius of Far Cry 2. Super ineteresting insights from Far Cry 2’s creative director Clint Hocking (and plenty more) on its development, as well as takes on the way blockbuster game development is going. “Potentially unmanageable”, being one of them.

What’s striking about Far Cry 2’s development story, as Hocking tells it, is how quickly the fundamentals of the game coalesced. Africa wasn’t chosen as the game’s setting because the team necessarily wanted to make grand proclamations about colonialism and interventionist foreign policy (other options included the Appalachian Mountains and central China). Rather, they were searching for what Hocking calls an “iconic” setting, something as evocative as the original’s box art, which depicted palm trees, a sandy shore, and blue water. As for mechanics, the “first play” (an internal vertical slice) delivered to Ubisoft executives at Christmas 2006 already contained a working “buddy system,” a handful of missions, jamming weapons, a wound animation, and the player suffering from the debilitating effects of malaria.

Patrick Klepek wrote about how parents are navigating the FNAF movie taking over the world for Crossplay. There ain’t now way you’d get me watching this film, mainly because I think I would piss myself.

“With our youngest son we’ve dealt with lots of sleep trouble over fears centered around this stuff, all based on stuff he’s learned about from his friends,” said Mark. “We’ve dealt with weeks where he’s having frequent nightmares, afraid to sleep in his bedroom, etc., all based around the characters from [properties] like these. I don’t know why some creators are so obsessed with this shit, and I’d never be one to try to tell people what they can and can’t make. But life as a parent would certainly be a bit easier if this stuff wasn’t so present everywhere in our culture. We’ve even seen Poppy’s Playtime crap at Target.”

Gab Hernandez wrote about how playable deaths shatter the illusion of choice, for Uppercut. Hernandez shares a morbid fascination with inevitable deaths in games and how certain games handle the swipe of the scythe.

And therein lies the crux of why playable deaths are so effective. It’s not just about the helplessness. After all, traditional game over screens already leave the player helpless, removing their control over the game. The trick that playable deaths pull is making the player think they might not die.

Nicholas O’Brien wrote about Bitsy, the samll game revolution. Celebrating Bitsy, a platform that lets people build small, but no less impactful, games.

Games that utilize the engine best focus on intimate moments of contemplation, quietness and repose. Far from the bombast of their AAA cousins (a shorthand term for mainstream game studios with multimillion dollar budgets and vast labour pools at their disposal, like Call of Duty), Bitsy games celebrate silence – both literally (since the tool doesn’t support audio without a plug-in) and figuratively: there is a hushed tone about Bitsy games, a whisper in the ear, pillow talk murmurs, airy soliloquies. For jam #77 the community chose ‘museum’: a fitting prompt for this year’s celebration. Like previous jams, contributions for this iteration are equally heartfelt and vulnerable. Fishhooks by Ellis Devereux, is one such contribution where you play as a deep sea diver exploring the depths of their own memories.

I watched Killers Of The Flower Moon the other day. I thought it was good! If perhaps, a story too big to be told in three and a half hours (yes, really).

Music this week is a Steal The Show by Lauv (from the Disney Pixar film Elemental). Here’s
the YouTube link and Spotify link. I also watched Elemental recently and I think it’s really lovely. Might be up there in one of my fave films I’ve seen this year, to be honest. The marketing did it dirty.

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

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