Merry Christmas, everyone, and welcome to the final edition of the No Time To Play newsletter. I hope it makes your day.
To get the bad out of the way, let's start with a couple of PC Gamer headlines from around mid-December:
Past the clickbait title, the article makes some good points. But also, dunno. You mean setting and mood can make a game genre as much as mechanics? Who’d have thought. And yes, when people say they want something new, they usually mean more of the same. Also, sci-fi is often just fantasy with shiny space-age trappings, and not in the sense Star Wars is, but in the way it looks back at a mythical past, despite the appearances. The way the future used to look like. Speaking of which: you do realize that games where you have to replay many times until you learn to line everything up perfectly have existed since, oh, I dunno, Infocom’s Deadline (1982) and Suspended (1983), right?
Moving on, we have a whole bunch of game retrospectives:
- for one, HG101 hits the nail on the head: "If you’ve heard of Umurangi Generation, it’s probably because of game critics calling it one of the most important games of the time, an angry, spiteful game pissed about the state of the world." Yes, thank you. That's exactly how I heard of it, and it's always fun to know more;
- and just on Christmas Eve, Kotaku looks back at 50 Years of Traveling The Oregon Trail; I'm still reading this one, so not much to say about it;
- but as of the day before, the 50 Years of Text Games series nears conclusion, with 2019 and AI Dungeon: that absurdly expensive Markov chain some people were daft enough to hail as the future of computing. Still a good story, of course.
In fact, it made me laugh. Poor critics, fearing they suddenly became obsolete. No, really? Oops! Welcome to postmodernism 2.0, everyone. Not that there was any chance of it happening. Let alone for authors. But we should have asked all those questions of ownership long ago.
Last but not least, we have a list of Top Advice for D&D DMs that works just as well for writing. In fact, some of it is stuff I've been telling people for years.
And that's it! Really. See you once more before New Year's Eve, when we say our good byes and talk about the future. Happy Holidays!