Sundays are for from a long vacation and shaking returning off the holiday haze. Before you kick into gear, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).

Over on Hit Points, Nathan Brown contemplates games industry showcases and how many of them are going from bad to worse. A look back at the latest Nintendo Direct and PlayStation State Of Play broadcasts and their entirely formless nature, perhaps indicative of a wider industry trend towards… something? Maybe a lack of creativity, the fallout from the pandemic, or pandering to an audience who’s viewed as having tiny attention spans.

Once again I find myself concerned by the lack of curation on show. A casual viewer of Geoff Keighley’s not-E3 show in June would have come away with the impression that the game industry is obsessed with sci-fi horror. Yesterday’s Direct portrayed us as lovers of farming games, anime RPGs and remasters, to the exclusion of pretty much all else. We are a broader church than this, our tapestry much richer than these supposed showcases increasingly seem to imply. Their continuing failure to reflect it is one of the year’s more worrying trends.

For Outside, Sean Williams wrote about Kurt Steiner, a legendary stone skipper who believes the world should find the sport. A long read with some beautiful passages on stone skipping, Kurt’s belief that it has a greater spiritual purpose, and rivalry. Alice O spotted this one and it’s absolute gold.

Finally, in February, after pursuing Kurt for more than two years, I flew from Europe to Detroit, where border guards had a hard time believing I was the US to interview a stone skipper. Then I showed them a video of Kurt’s magical record throw, and before long a group was gathered around a computer screen, counting the skips and hollering “No fucking way!” before letting me through. From the moment I met Kurt in Erie a day later, it was clear that his hibernation had ended. By 10 pm on our second evening, when he fashioned a can of Monster energy drink into a makeshift bong, we’d spoken for 12 hours straight.

For Vice, Sarah Spitz wrote about the Tamagotchi breeder on her 65th generation of the virtual pet. A quick-ish read on Alicia Kostoglou, a prolific Tamagotchi collector who runs multiple bloodlines of these cute virtual pets and literally has bags filled with Tamagotchis. Woah.

Kostoglou has doubled down on her Tamagotchi breeding in the past three years. She has a whole system now: She meticulously prints out the Tamagotchis’ various family trees, then pastes them in a notebook. As she leafs through the book, she’s transfixed by the game’s endless options. “I try to make unusual hybrids,” she says. “Sometimes I’ve tried to make a character the exact same as its father or mother. That’s impossible, though.” That said, she did manage to collect a bunch of cheat codes that allow her to unlock various coveted objects.

On GlitchOut, Oma Keeling contemplates Disney Dreamlight Valley and why it runs on coal. To cook in Dreamlight Valley requires coal? Why not a renewable energy source eh Disney?

Also why are you off the energy grid even, in terms of every single oven in the game? There certainly seems to be a grid for running all of the electric lights in the buildings and streetlamps, so why no less volatile power options for the cooker in your house in what is apparently a major and upmarket area for living? Is there no gas supply and that would be the only possible way, so instead we chose coal? Who is powering the other grid? Why is renewable energy not even an option?

Music this week is Heroes by The Midnight. Here’s the YouTube link and Spotify link. Synthwave anthem from a band that’s very good at making music to drive to.

That’s it for now, catch you next week folks!


#Sunday #Papers

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