The Sunday Papers | Rock Paper Shotgun

Sundays are for searching for book recommendations. Let’s browse as we also peruse the week’s best writing about games and game-related things.

For The Verge, Mia Sato wrote about the perfect webpage. Here’s how Google shaped/sterilised the internet so every webpage has to conform to its measures.

But many websites just do what they think Google wants or what’s being recommended by SEO experts, even if there’s no guarantee it will work. Google is both overbearing with manuals and withholding of clear answers. Give too much away, and everyone could game the system. In that void, creators and website operators throw things at the wall to see what sticks. And once they start designing their page for Google, it’s easy for their content to be fashioned for Google, too.

Over on PC Gamer, Tim Clark and Morgan Park (a pleasant rhyming duo) had a conversation about live service games and their insultingly expensive cosmetics. The discussion touches on whether these prices are fine because the people buying these cosmetics think they’re fine. I mean, so long as they aren’t pay-to-win I don’t really care. Sure, it would be nice if they were cheaper! But hey, if I can enjoy the game just fine without a gun shaped like a dragon, eh.

Tim: The obvious question whenever this stuff comes up is “why does anyone pay these idiotic prices?” We’ve already established that I am that idiot, and honestly I have nothing but respect for people like Phil Savage on our team who’s played Destiny 2 for as long as I have but never bought a single thing from Eververse. The brutal reality is that publishers are charging these prices not only because they can, but because—ludicrous though it may seem—the data will be telling them that this is the exact amount to charge to make the most money. And whether we like it or very much do not, that’s capitalism, baby.

Jay Castello’s article for Unwinnable contemplates the ocean as a socially constructed space. Castello explores how we make the ocean our own in Raft, like filling it with loads of pirates and chucking spears at fish poorly.

In Raft, of course, the question of where you learned to build the raft and all the associated survival gear is elided. But the sociality of the seascape is nonetheless front and center, particularly playing in a group. There’s always more than one thing you could be doing in Raft; building new bits of the boat, looking for and exploring islands, hooking flotsam, processing materials, farming and cooking and so on.

For The Guardian, Dominik Diamond wrote about unearthing YouTube premium’s video games… and wishing he’d never looked. I honestly had no idea YouTube premium offered games, which was probably for the best going by Diamond’s words.

But playing these are like picking your nose: they provide a moment of tactile happiness but deep down you know you shouldn’t be doing it. There is nothing that makes me want to play these over offerings on Apple Arcade, and that’s what they must do to make even a casual gamer switch. Maybe they would appeal to a gamer so casual they don’t bother to get dressed or have a shower, and just lie there in pyjamas covered in beans from last night’s dinner.

I’m really enjoying Second Wind’s Design Delve series. Nothing more on that. Cheers!

Music this week is “yes, and?” by Ariana Grande. Here’s the YouTube link and Spotify link. Ariana does it again, banger.

Have a lovely weekend all!

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