Sundays are for turning on the extractor hood before jumping in the shower. Before we hear the low rumble, let’s read this week’s best writing on games (and things related to games).
On Vice, Renata Price wrote that Overwatch 2 wasn’t a very good sport. Echoes a sentiment I’ve always had about Overwatch’s visibility in general. I had a lot of fun playing the game back then, but it’s an awful, messy watch – especially if you’re new to this.
With all of these frustrations in mind, it’s worth considering what professional Overwatch actually looks like to a new viewer, i.e., a chaotic mess. Overwatch is a fast and fun game, with a significant amount of verticality and intricate map design. This makes it fun to play, but extremely difficult to follow as a sport. When three separate fights take place at one time, each relying on understanding different angles that are only readable by an audience from a first-person perspective (which itself is extremely disorienting), the game loses all cohesion as a visual experience.
For Eurogamer, Alan Wen has written about the emergence of Indonesian indies. Really nice to hear how experience transfer or outsourcing assistance can help create new talent and celebrate Indonesian culture.
It’s telling that Asian developers can feel like they have to guess whether representing themselves authentically will alienate a Western audience when there is little talk of Western developers drawing inspiration from Asian cultures, as with games like Ghost of Tsushima and Sifu. Still, we can also see that the past few years have seen a healthy appetite for more diverse games, with publishers like Nintendo also making a conscious effort to promote developers around the world in its digital storefronts.
For Inverse, Willa Rowe wrote about the worst gaming trend that’s more boring than you think. Reaffirms what I imagine many of us think. With game studios being bought out by big corporations and taking less risk, that’s wrong. Long live the live service model.
For Square Enix, the problems do not come from Western studios; the real problem is focusing on money rather than creativity. Balan Wonderworld, developed by a Japanese studio, was universally slammed by critics. Creator Yuji Naka says it’s Square Enix’s fault. In a Twitter thread, Naka says he knew the game wasn’t ready for release, but the publisher pushed for its release anyway.
On GameSpot, Saniya Ahmed explained why video games are lagging in South Asian representation. Ahmed talks to South Asian developers about the barriers to authentic South Asian representation in games. One point that I found particularly interesting – among literally the whole article – was Chandana Ekanayake’s observation of South Asian characters in AAA games limited to PVP games, for example, Symmetra in Overwatch. Symmetra’s story is not included in the game in any meaningful way at all.
Jayanth added: “There is little precedent for the characters, stories, design thinking and development of South Asian games – especially when money, publishers and corporate interests are involved – in a downpouring space. at risk. A huge hurdle facing the industry is a deeply ingrained notion that white gamers – who are still seen as the target audience – will be reluctant to inhabit a racialized protagonist.” She added: “Another obstacle is the overwhelming whiteness of the game industry, especially in key decision-making positions. In my opinion, the industry, its processes and its fundamental ideas of what makes a protagonist interesting and what who constitutes the agency will have to be transformed for us in order to design truthful and interesting South Asian protagonists.”
On Into The Spine, Ryan Easby wrote about heartbreak, friendship, and Final Fantasy XV. A touching tribute to a friend.
The game may have flaws, does God have flaws, but it’s a damn true representation of the friendship and bond you share with your loved ones, regardless of what’s going on between you, thanks to the shared context and experience.
I finally started watching Better Call Saul. It is very good! That’s all I have to say, really.
This week’s music is the latest album from Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers. Here is the YouTube link and the Spotify link. After five long years, he’s back! Definitely worth the wait. Kendrick understands albums more than many artists.
Bonus track for you: Lighting Aisle by Kinnship. Here is the YouTube link and the Spotify link. He also just released a new album called Intenserenity and it’s a great album to relax.
That’s all for now, see you next week guys!