The Sunday Newspapers | stone paper shotgun

Sundays are for pre-ordering a Steam Deck and getting really excited about its arrival. Before following along with your delivery, let’s read through this week’s best writing about games (and things related to games).

At Games, Marie Dealessandri wrote about creating games for autistic people. Dealessandri talks to Changingday founders Nick and Alison Lang about creating a virtual reality title made with autistic gamers in mind.

“We have a function where the player has a smartwatch so that if they get overstimulated they can access that smartwatch and it takes them right out of the game and into a nice relaxing space where they can calm down,” says Nick. “And there they will also find an accessibility menu where they can adjust the game, the colors, the sounds. And then they go on the smartwatch, they go right back into the game where they left off. But only when they’re ready to do that. And they dictate the pace of it. It’s up to them, they’re in control of what happens.”

Sherif Saed wrote a post for VG247 about Call Of Duty technology being wasted in Call Of Duty. Warzone 2 Season 2 goes back in time, eliminating radical changes and reverting things to the way they were in Warzone. Saed argues that COD’s ever-evolving technology is tied to a series that refuses to change.

It would be disingenuous to say that Call of Duty hasn’t changed in a decade, what with all iterations of battle royale, Tarkov-lite DMZ mode, open-world co-op, and so on. But the moment you dig in and start playing all of that stuff, you’ll find that all these experimental rays are simply different pockets in which more of the same Call of Duty gameplay exists. It’s like using a pot without washing it, over and over again; sure, you’re cooking a steak right now, but it smells and tastes like caramel orange sauce from your morning pancake.

On Insider, Kieran Press-Reynolds wrote about spending a night on TikTok Live and discovering a strange wasteland. Press-Reynolds enters TikTok’s largely unregulated cesspool and the algorithm serves some interesting subgenres.

Then there was a stream of a man pretending to be a robot. Mechanically waving at the camera, he performed various tasks (such as saying “Daddy”, “Mommy” or slapping himself) depending on the size of the gift. Whoever donated the greatest gift would be subject to a “great punishment”. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but the vagueness of the term felt ominous, inviting you to fill in the gap with your most alarming imaginations. Commentators accused the stream of being a hoax and warned newcomers that he wasn’t actually a real robot. (RPG seemed to be a mainstay of nightly streaming.

For Defector, Soraya Roberts argues that AI art only looks like art if you don’t care. Interesting snippets from people expressing what is missing from an AI’s creative process.

I thought of these photos when I read about The Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy using the ChatGPT bot to AI build a facsimile of a Meloy composition, including strings. The result was “Sailor’s Song”, which, according to the musician, is “what one would think a Decemberists song would sound like if they had read some reviews, looked at some pretty deep Twitter hot takes”. Meloy himself noted that this went beyond repeated or missing bits and errors. “He has data, he has information, but he has no intuition,” he wrote. “A lot of the songwriting, the writing, the creation comes down to the intuition of the creator, the subtle changes that aren’t written down as a rule anywhere – you just know it’s right, that it’s true.”

This week’s song is Moonlight Flight by Makoto Iwabuchi. Here is the Spotify link and the YouTube link. A tranquilizer.

That’s it for this week guys, have a great weekend!

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