Sundays are for watching yet another true crime documentary. Before you come to an opinion, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The Verge, Josh Dzieza wrote about the strange world of high-speed semi-automated genre fiction. A fantastic long read on an author’s spiral into AI reliance and its use as a #content tool. Not only is it a, “So, when are the AI going to take over?” piece, it contemplates both the simultaneous gain and loss of creativity when using AI as a companion.
Lepp soon fell into a rhythm with the AI. She would sketch an outline of a scene, press expand, and let the program do the writing. She would then edit the output, paste it back into Sudowrite, and prompt the AI to continue. If it started to veer in a direction she didn’t like, she nudged it back by writing a few sentences and setting it loose again. She found that she no longer needed to work in complete silence and solitude. Even better, she was actually ahead of schedule. Her production had increased 23.1 percent.
For Polygon, Mike Mahardy wrote about why Risk Of Rain 2 is the Super Mario 64 of roguelikes. An interesting take on how Hopoo Games followed up on the first RoR, with a bit of the ‘ol wax-lyrical thrown in. Also, RoR 2 is a top-tier co-op roguelike and I’d urge everyone to give it a go.
But recently, with the Survivors of the Void update, I truly dove in. And maybe it’s because I spent the interim wearing myself out with so much Spelunky 2 and Rogue Legacy 2 — games that all but perfected the art of 2D action-platforming — but suddenly, Risk of Rain 2’s addition of a z-axis clicked. It felt gimmicky three years ago, but now I’m enamored by how it simultaneously grants me more control, while also giving me so much more to worry about. What’s more, I’m playing enough to unlock more characters and marvel at how Hopoo has adapted their skills to work in so much more open space. The Loader is a singular joy — its Grapple Fist lets me soar through the air, marveling at the verticality and depth that Hopoo has squeezed out of the first game’s formula, right before I punch a Magma Worm in its stupid face.
On Time, Andrew R. Chow and Chad De Guzman wrote about a crypto game that promised to lift Filipinos out of poverty. A tough read about a play-to-earn game blockchain called Axie Infinity and how it gave many, many people false hope.
The game initially made a huge impact in the Philippines. At one point, players there made up 40% of the game’s user base. Roughly a quarter of the Southeast Asian nation of 110 million people lives below the poverty line, and its economy is heavily dependent on some 2.2 million migrant workers who send money back home. But as the pandemic shut borders across the globe and slashed jobs, many of these workers were sent home. As prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns crippled the local economy, many resorted to multiple money-making schemes to make ends meet.
Justin Heckert wrote about the heist of a rare video game collection for Vanity Fair. The story of Jason Brassard’s collection of super rare games potentially worth millions, and how they were stolen in one night.
The contents of that safe had taken him nearly 30 years to acquire, a few titles only a handful of people had ever seen. The safe itself he’d bought secondhand from a local real estate agent who was going out of business. Inside the safe, he had 120 games on three shelves, along with $19,000 in silver coins and bars and $10,000 in cash. He would only be able to claim around $100,000 as the value of the stolen games, because the insurance adjuster would only use comparison prices from other sales. Hardly any of the games in the safe ever came up for sale in the decades he’d been collecting. The reality had him choking out tears into the dark.
Music this week is Make Me Feel by Joey Bada$$. Here’s the YouTube link and Spotify link. From Joey’s new album 2000, a follow up to his excellent 1999 mixtape which he dropped when he was only 17 years old.
That’s it for now, catch you next week folks!