Sundays are for training for an off-road 10k that’s scarily close. Before you sweat profusely, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on Eurogamer, Tom Phillips wrote about the joy of Toads, and the fight for East Sussex’s World Championships. The most interesting thing to me is how the warped and scarred tables can make toading more challenging.
As a beginner, simply landing your toads – weighty, warm-in-the-hand brass coins – on top of the table is a solid achievement. Thrown underhand from two metres away, each toad that lands on the table’s lead top is worth one point. But it must land square on top – if it slides off or hits the table’s wooden back then it is “dead” and worth nothing. Get your toad in the table’s hole and you earn two points – and you also get to go collect your toad from the small drawer in the table underneath. Opening this drawer is a little ritual whose novelty is still yet to wear off (and you always collect your own toads, wherever on the floor they’ve normally rolled off to).
For Polygon, Nicole Clark wrote about Marie Kondo’ing her entire internet presence, one account at a time. Brilliant read about re-organising your internet shelves and rediscovering old interests.
Over time, the process morphed into more of a meditative ritual. I’d excavate habits of my past life, then observe with a kind of detached amusement. I came face to face with every random account I thought I’d eventually use, from DePop to Glassdoor. I used to have a Skillshare account (I used to want to learn skills!) and a General Assembly account from when I lived in the Bay Area and had flirted with the idea of working in tech. My Neopets had been starving for 15 years. I’d sold so much furniture on Craigslist. I had a very strong Pinterest phase, in 2016, that involved dyeing my hair blue.
For Uppercut Crit, Jenny Zheng wrote about how students are making games based off the weird game ideas twitter bot. Cool to see how a twitter bot is used as an educational device. Students are challenged to think outside of the box and just chuck stuff at a programming wall to see what sticks.
Morrow herself made a game based on a Weird Game Idea Bot prompt too. Inspired by “cookie clicker-like game about nefarious demigods,” Blood Broker asks players to manage human sacrifices to the gods. The gods prefer only willing sacrifices, however, so it’s your job to convince people to offer themselves up. Too many unwilling sacrifices will anger the gods, as well as cause a decrease in morale among the rest of the population. Frenetic and fast-paced, Blood Broker is like a middle management job, albeit one that’s a little more violent than the typical desk gig. When I play it, it’s a surprisingly therapeutic and soothing experience; the colors, the shaking graphics, and time limits press the right little serotonin buttons in my head. Both conceptual and absurd, Blood Broker feels like a technicolor trance.
Over on Vice, Nathan Grayson wrote about entertainment meeting trauma on Twitch, as streamers cover the Depp v. Heard trial. A good read on how motivations and histories run wild here, many with bias, some in bad faith. Something unsettling about the whole affair, to be honest.
The trial itself hasn’t been devoid of entertainment value. On YouTube, the case has been presented in a way that frequently focuses on Depp and Heard’s faces, emphasizing conflict and reactions over the substance of arguments. The case itself, meanwhile, has swerved in comedic directions, such as when a doorman vaped during his otherwise serious testimony, causing Depp and the jury to laugh. And of course, the trial ultimately centers around two celebrities. It’s not a normal court case.
Ron Lieber looked at the tale of a crypto executive who wasn’t who he said he was for The New York Times. Basically some dude lying about his entire job history to get a crypto job, then being found out by a journalist who did some basic fact checking. Good work all round.
But the fault isn’t his alone. Stopping to ask questions is a good way to get left out of the bro-ish backslapping — one podcaster referred to Mr. Hannum as an O.G., or original gangster — that we see across the worlds of business, politics and digital culture. There’s a nasty price to seeing only what we want to see: Slowly and then all at once, lying in public has come to feel like a reasonable strategy for getting or staying ahead. We need a little less mythmaking and a lot more fact-checking.
Saw this House Of The Dragon teaser pop up the other day. Sure, Game Of Thrones didn’t end in the best way, but it’s not stopping me from getting excited.
That’s it for now, catch you next week folks!