The Best of the Rest - What I Read This Week #1
When I was a kid, if you wanted to use the internet you had to go to your rich friend’s house. Reading about games with any regularity meant buying magazines. The best part was the demo disc which would come on the front. Each one was packed with tasty slices of games that developers hoped you would buy. Jokes on them, though, we had no money because we spent it all on magazines.
These days, the internet is everywhere. It’s in your pocket, on your computer, and your Mum has some in the freezer in case you get surprise visitors on Sunday. There are hundreds of places to read about games for free, and even hundreds of free games. It’s a lot to deal with so sometimes you can miss some interesting writing about games. That’s why I’ll be running through some articles that I enjoyed this week, and where you can find them.
Over on Game Watcher, Chris J Capel has a chat with MachinesGames’ Senior Games Designer Arcade Berg about the upcoming Wolfenstein 2. In the process Arcade let slip his thoughts on why there just aren’t as many single player FPS games as there used to be. The whole thing is worth a read.
Personal standpoint? A lot of it is probably money. A good solid multiplayer game will yield great revenue, and people will tell their friends to get a game to play it with them. A multiplayer game on console will require people to keep the disc, whereas a single-player game some people will return it or trade it once they’ve finished with it, and of course developers and publishers don’t see any money from trade-ins. That’s not the consumer’s fault, but there are a lot of aspects like that that get accounted for business-wise.
Know Your Role
Waypoint ran an interesting article by Merritt K about people who roleplay in PUBG. I like reading about players putting their own story and lore in place for games that don’t have them. It is always fascinating to read about the tiny details people think about that so many others just don’t worry themselves with, especially in games that lack any system to support such thoughts.
Take Dorcas, a Latin-American woman in her 40s. “She’s an ordinary housewife who’s fighting at the battlegrounds to get money for her family… not especially athletic, trained with weapons or anything like that,” according to her player, Yenien.
“It wouldn’t make sense for her to be a marine or something,” they add, “as I can barely shoot someone with a shotgun, and spend most of the game cowering in a bathroom not knowing what to do.” So, Dorcas was shaped by Yenien’s playstyle, but she’s since become more of a character rather than simply a narrative justification, as Yenien finds themselves making decisions based on what Dorcas might do rather than what might be most expedient for them as the player to win.
Shadow of Mozû
PC Gamer have an excellent article by Tim Clark about a particular Orc in Shadow of War which caused him some issues. It’s a fun read that shows how the Nemesis system can spin out some truly great stories if you are willing to embrace it as a player.
Let me begin by warning that for the rest of the piece I will be relaxing our usual rules regarding bad language. I am doing so to tell you that Mozû the Blight is a motherfucker. I first meet this orc captain, and absolute scumbag, as part of the Arena quest in Minas Ithril. Mozû is the final opponent, and from his dialogue I think he’s actually an undefeated nemesis enemy imported from my Shadow of Mordor save file, which would at least explain his insane smorgasboard of resistances and abilities. These are what makes Mozû such an asshole to fight.
I love fighting games, and watching high level play of fighting games, even though I lack any real skill at them. I was a demon at Tekken 3 and Soul Calibre in college, but those days are long behind me and dim has dulled both my mind and my reflexes. At Kotaku, Ian Walker runs through some of the specific words and phrases that you might hear in the world of fighting games. There are not too many times in your life that you run into the term “sex kick”, I hope.
R. Kelly – A perfect round.
Ending a match without taking any damage can be a great feeling, but being on the other side is one of the most humiliating experiences in a fighting game player’s life. Seeing your opponent close out a game with a full, yellow health bar is demoralizing, and that specific color is how R. Kelly’s infamous escapades from the 2000s became tied to fighting games.
It also doesn’t help that many games denote a player’s perfect victory with a ‘P’ symbol. Did you just lose a game without damaging the opponent? Well, you just got P’d on, friend.
Finally, an oldy but a goody. Nearly two years ago Gita Jackson wrote an article for Paste about the fashion of Assassin’s Creed. I love stuff like this simply because it is not a side of gaming I tend to think about too much. I like when people who notice stuff like this talk about it, and I love when games willingly embrace the kind of mistakes that would have a movie director screaming.
My knowledge of historical costuming is about as much as anyone else who has watched the BBC miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice a bunch of times and has idly thought about how one would construct the costumes from various videogames. But I do know this—Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is set in 1868 and the quality of leather that character wears would be atrociously expensive. On top of that, it’s a frock coat, so it’s a lot of leather. On top of that, it’s fucking quilted, which would likely have to have been hand stitched, if quilting leather was even a thing they did in 1868. The trailer for this game goes out of its way to establish that the character wearing this jacket is working class. That jacket, the least conspicuous jacket a poor assassin could possibly wear, likely would have cost more than his entire family for several generations back.
Video for the week is “The Smash Brothers” documentary, about the early Smash scene. Check out EastPointPictures loving history of competitive Smash and how it came to be what it is today. Link below to the version with remastered audio, because I am nice like that. It is nine episodes long in total, so you might want to make up some popcorn.