Sundays are for watching another true crime documentary. Before you make up your mind, let’s read this week’s best writing on games (and things related to games).
On The Verge, Josh Dzieza wrote about the weird world of high-speed, semi-automated genre fiction. A fantastic long read about an author’s spiral into AI addiction and its use as a #content tool. Not only is it a “So when is AI going to take over?” piece, he envisions both the simultaneous gain and loss of creativity when using AI as a companion.
Lepp quickly fell into a rhythm with the AI. She sketched the outline of a scene, pressed develop, 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 he started to veer in a direction she didn’t like, she nudged him back, writing a few sentences and letting go again. She found that she no longer needed to work in complete silence and solitude. Even better, she was actually ahead of schedule. Its production had increased by 23.1%.
For Polygon, Mike Mahardy explained why Risk Of Rain 2 is the Super Mario 64 of roguelikes. An interesting take on how Hopoo Games followed up the first RoR, with a bit of wax lyric. Also, RoR 2 is a top notch co-op roguelike and I urge everyone to give it a try.
But recently, with the Survivors of the Void update, I really got into it. And maybe that’s because I’ve spent the interim exhausting myself with so many Spelunky 2 and Rogue Legacy 2 – games that pretty much perfected the art of 2D action platforming – but suddenly Risk of Rain 2’s addition of a z axis clicked. It was fancy three years ago, but now I’m in love with how it simultaneously gives me more control, while giving me so much more to worry about. Plus, I play enough to unlock more characters and marvel at how Hopoo has adapted his skills to work in a much more open space. The Charger is a singular joy – its grappling fist allows me to soar through the air, marveling at the verticality and depth Hopoo squeezed from the first game’s formula, just before I punched a Magma worm in its face. dumb.
On Time, Andrew R. Chow and Chad De Guzman wrote about a crypto game that promised to lift Filipinos out of poverty. A hard read on a play-to-earn blockchain game called Axie Infinity and how it gave so many, many false hopes.
The game first had a huge impact in the Philippines. At one point, gamers made up 40% of the game’s user base. About a quarter of the Southeast Asian nation of 110 million people live below the poverty line and its economy is heavily dependent on of some 2.2 million migrant workers who send money home. But as the pandemic closes borders around the world and cuts jobs, many of those workers have been sent home. As prolonged COVID-19 shutdowns crippled the local economy, many resorted to multiple schemes to make money 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 overnight.
The contents of that vault had taken him nearly 30 years to acquire, some titles that only a handful of people had ever seen. The safe itself which he had bought second-hand from a local estate agent who was going bankrupt. 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 could only claim around $100,000 as the value of the stolen games, because the adjuster would only use comparison prices from other sales. Virtually none of the vault’s games ever went on sale in the decades it collected. The reality had made him choke back tears in the dark.
This week’s music is Make Me Feel by Joey Bada$$. Here is the YouTube link and the Spotify link. From Joey’s new album 2000, a sequel to his excellent 1999 mixtape which he dropped when he was just 17.
That’s all for now, see you next week guys!