Sundays are for getting your radiator fixed because it sounds like a trumpet. Before you make the call, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).
Over on The Verge, Adi Robertson wrote about how DeviantArt is navigating the AI art minefield. I see this as a compliment to the Waxy article by Andy Baio I linked to a couple of weeks ago. While DeviantArt has tried to mitigate problems of consent, there’s always going to be issues until proper regulation is in place.
If an artist is fine with being copied, DeviantArt will nudge users to credit them. When you post a DreamUp image through DeviantArt’s site, the interface asks if you’re working in the style of a specific artist and asks for a name (or multiple names) if so. Acknowledgment is required, and if someone flags a DreamUp work as improperly tagged, DeviantArt can see what prompt the creator used and make a judgment call. Works that omit credit, or works that intentionally evade a filter with tactics like misspellings of a name, can be taken down.
For Hit Points, Nathan Brown contemplates God Of War: Ragnarök’s high gloss, old-fashioned finish. While I enjoyed the God Of War (2018) and look forward to playing Ragnarök, I do agree with Brown’s thoughts on the biggest game of the season sticking to the script.
But after a few hours in Ragnarök’s company I have come to reassess that comparison. It is not that this game specifically is like a Marvel movie; rather, it is that Sony’s first-party output in general is a sort of videogame version of the MCU. God Of War, Uncharted, The Last Of Us, Horizon: these games form, in their way, a sort of connected mechanical universe. The connective tissue, while not as blandly overt as in the Ubisoft open-worlders of years past, becomes more visible with each new game that features it, and it is rather losing its appeal. Ah, a climbing section, is it? A sort-of-hidden path containing… yes, crafting materials, of course. But how are we to traverse this high wall? It is taller than both of us combined! The bigger of us could give the smaller a boost, you say? Capital idea!
On Polygon, Oli Welsh wrote about someone who made a World Of Warcraft GeoGuessr. A neat shout-out to a WoW version of a web game where you try and guess your location through a 360-degree Google Street View-like snapshot. That’s Stormwind, not Cambridge.
When it comes to the entirety of World of Warcraft, there’s a lot to test your knowledge on, and only the most ardent WoW player will get everything. (Personally, I had the Explorer achievement for uncovering every area on the map once — but that was many expansions ago.) On my first go, spanning every map to date, I got stumped by a couple of newer locations and got some of my spooky woods mixed up. (WoW has a lot of spooky woods.) On my second go, I limited the choices to my old stomping ground of Kalimdor — the first character I rolled was a Troll, so Durotar and the Barrens on this continent will always feel like home — and I absolutely killed it. There’s no mistaking the Spanish moss-draped trees of Dustwallow Marsh or the sunny dales and towering mesas of Mulgore if, in a funny way, it feels like you grew up there.
On Unwinnable, Steven Nguyen Scaife wrote about friction in Scorn being less tolerable because of its polish. An interesting read on expectations differing for games with low-poly presentations.
But shouldn’t friction be the point of a survival horror game, much less one set in an alien world that has no dialogue and no friends to explain how anything works? Horror derives from uncertainty, desperation, and discomfort, few of which are synonymous with the kind of big-budget games we present as the face of the medium. If anything, Scorn doesn’t go nearly as far as it could have; it still leads us on a linear path with lights to mark the way and white outlines to denote interactive objects.
Music this week is Heard Me Right by Amtrac. Here’s the Spotify link. No YouTube link unfortunately, as it’s too fresh a tune.
That’s it for now, catch you next week folks!
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