Boing Boing 

Leigh Alexander

Leigh Alexander is editor in chief of Offworld. She's also author of Breathing Machine and Clipping Through, ebooks on games, tech and identity, and recently published MONA, an illustrated moral horror short.

You are Bigfoot, so don't let anybody film you

30611-shot1-1440382611.PNG-eq-900-500.jpg

All we know of the mythical Bigfoot is a famously-indistinct strolling blur, and as such the legend of the sasquatch remains. In Found Bigfootage, you play as that strolling blur, making sure invasive camera-wielders get anough footage to leave you alone, but that none of it is clear.

Developer BluShine made the "reverse stealth game" in just 48 hours—I love how even with so little time, the developer managed to get the twangly, remote-forest aesthetics any sasquatch-hunter could hope for. Found Bigfootage was made for Ludum Dare 33, whose "You are the Monster" theme has been interpreted in all kinds of ways: You can work for a form letter company, weigh human life as a refugee smuggler, or generally be a misanthrope.

Equip all children with scissors, reject capitalism?

scissors2

I am an arbitrary silhouette on a wanly-lit hillside. To my right waits a horde of lamp-eyed children. Before me, helicopters drop giant pairs of scissors at ruthless angles. I go and get the scissors and bring them to the kids as instructed, but I'm not sure if I've passed the scissors on or stabbed someone.

Every so often, an enormous fist hovers over me. When it strikes I can see the faint outline of my ribcage flash before my eyes.

Mortimer's Bakery developed Run With Scissors (free to play in browser here or here) for the ongoing and broad Fuck Capitalism Jam. Screenshots promise I might eventually get to "comply or haggle" with needful individuals, but I don't know: I cannot survive the fist for long enough. Maybe you can.

scissors

Can working on violent video games mess you up?

halo3_gross

In commercial games, we celebrate beautiful game art, but how often do we think about what it takes to make the really gruesome stuff? Apparently, to create Halo 3's Flood-infested "Cortana" level, artist Vic De Leon immersed himself in images from colonoscopies, and pictures of tumors and lesions, until he'd get nauseated:

"They’d come up when I was least expecting it. Something would just pop into my head -- an image or something -- and for a while there I felt...I wouldn’t say traumatized, but haunted, like when you’re a kid and you see something really disgusting or gory or scary in a movie,” says DeLeon. “I started associating that level with feeling disgusting. Once it was built it took months and months of polishing, and in those months I couldn’t wait to work on something else. The level was so disgusting, and what I thought was neat at first really came to bear down on me."

At Gamasutra, Alex Wawro speaks to game artists and animators who spend their careers elbow-deep in grotesque reference materials, creating the lifelike gore and impact that some players might experience only fleetingly, but that the artist often spends months getting close to. Steve Bowler, an animator on the famously-gory Mortal Kombat series, had this to say:
“The guys I always feel the worst for are the cinematic artists, because they have to make sure that like, each bone is cracking in a realistic way,” he says. “Even the audio guys probably have a bit of like, PTSD, because they have to spent all this time carefully picking out and putting in all these gory, juicy, crunchy, eviscerating sound effects.”

The full article is a really interesting read on a question most people wouldn't think to ask.

Smash the city in this riotous 'slam-em-up'

Jane Friedhoff describes Slam City Oracles as a "rambunctious, riot grrrl, Katamari-meets-Grand Theft Auto physics game"—you grab a pal and slam into as many objects as you can in two minutes. As hard as you can, so that you can send things flying as fast as they go.

The bright, poppy art is by Friedhoff's fellow New Yorker Jenny Jiao Hsia, and the soundtrack is by Scully, a women-fronted rock band from Brooklyn. Originally commissioned for 2014's No Quarter exhibit and recently shown at The Museum Of The Moving Image's Well Played series, the game is out today for free or pay-what-you-want.

This radiant moshpit from an all-girl team feels especially subversive because you're smashing cuteness—the visual and physical comparison to Katamari Damacy and other justly-loved (but slightly twee) indie darlings makes you feel like you're part of a girl squad rocking up to clear out all the plaid-shirt beardos, or something.

Mobile game of the week: Sage Solitaire

Zach Gage is consistently one of the most elegant designers of our time. This week, we can say he's done a meaningful refresh on computer Solitaire (one of the most-played video games of all time, thanks to the iconic Windows bundle), and not really be exaggerating.

Recently-released iOS game Sage Solitaire is part Solitaire, part poker, in its way: You have 3 rows of 3 cards each (so nine piles) to clear from top to bottom, and you do this by building "hands", like pairs or straight flushes. When you're stuck you can use a limited "trash" ability to remove a card, and you may get extra points for using a certain suit.

Even its aesthetic decisions are subtle but bold: Gone are the traditional red and black suits, in favor of a fresh four-color scheme that helps in suit-matching and hand-building. I never really understood til now why I had so much trouble "reading" poker hands and whether or not I "had anything"; Sage Solitaire's system of rows and hues very gently makes it all easier to manage, clear and clean.

The basic game is free on the App Store, with a fuller, ad-free version available for purchase. Currently there is no official Android version, so beware of malicious imitators on the Google Play store.

SageSolitaire

Monday reflection: Do-it-yourselfing, monsters and sad subways

mariomaker Our Monday reflection is a regular weekly item here on Offworld, a special satellite transmission designed to highlight our favorite Offworld stories, wonderful trends, and the stories from elsewhere in the galaxy that got us talking. Sign up here to receive this digest each week via email—it's a great way to avoid missing anything.

Latest Features

A few years ago Anna Anthropy wrote a revolutionary book: Rise of the Videogame Zinesters documented the groundswell of free, cheap and easy-to-learn game-making tools, and how they were enabling new creators, particularly women and marginalized folks, to participate for the first time. She made the point ahead of its time, but since writing her book, she says the landscape has shifted—many of the tools she once celebrated have evolved away from their entry-level audience.

In her latest Offworld feature, Anna looks at what WarioWare D.I.Y. did correctly to teach and reward entry-level game makers and designers—with Nintendo's new Super MarioMaker about to inherit the mantle, her design study is an interesting look at what truly democratic software looks like.

Previously at Offworld Anna has looked at what games must learn from children's books, and has written about her personal (occasionally-scary) experience of Nintendo Style Savvy: Trendsetters.

Offworld Games

We were given an amazing compliment to our curatorial skills last week by Wired, who called us one of 20 must-follow feeds in entertainment. The only other games-related shoutout on the list is Double Fine's Tim Schafer (a giant among men, it's true), and we're one of only two websites—the rest are comics to read, Instagram feeds and Tumblrs to follow.

We're proud that every day we put forward a new and unusual face of the video game industry—Offworld is run by two women, our contributors are mostly women, the games we put forward are strange and easy to play and often free, and in this way we want to bring you not only the coolest and most creative games, but to offer you a fresh breed of game culture. You might not be the lanyard-wearing, model weapon-toting type, but we won't let that scare you, your friends, your family, your girlfriend, your Mom, or anyone else away from the wonderful world of play and creation.

metro2

Last week was the latest Ludum Dare competition, and the theme was "You are the Monster." It's amazing to see what game developers find monstrous: Passengers is about the complex and often grotesque machinery fueling Europe's ongoing refugee crisis; Unsolicited is about working at a form letter company (it's by Papers, Please's Lucas Pope, naturally). We also dug Everyday Misanthrope, a game where it's fun to be a jerk to others.

Our Mobile Game of the Week last week was Pac Man 256, and everyone is convinced that Pac Man looks like a dong in the screenshot. Finally, we loved Subway Adventure, a new game from the prolific and brilliant Increpare that's about wandering the "Dream World of Sadness Metro".

Transmissions from Elsewhere

My colleague Jordan Erica Webber wrote a piece that's part humorous, part sincere, about what we can learn about managing our life from The Sims.

At Kotaku, there's an interview with storied designer Harvey Smith of Arkane Studios about challenging the traditional tendency of commercial games to celebrate players' doing just whatever they feel like:

"Because people are not used to video game characters being mean to them, or telling them you’re not a hero, you’re a bad guy. Everybody just wants to be told in a video game that you’re great, no matter what you do. If you slaughter everybody—you killed the maids, you killed the old people, you killed the beggars—you’re great, here’s a medal, you’re a hero.

We decided that sounds psychotic. It doesn’t match our values, it doesn’t match the way the world works, it doesn’t match the way any other fiction—imagine a novel where a guy wakes up in the morning, kills everybody in the house, goes down the street, kills everybody on the way to work, kills everybody in the office, and then at the very end of the novel, there is a scene where he is given a medal and made some sort of hero and anointed in some way. It doesn’t make any sense."

Not games

edith-head-23.nocrop.w1800.h1330.2x

After going most of my life with basically zero interest in cinema, I've been suddenly watching beautiful old films from the 1950s and 1960s. Whereas I'm used to using Netflix et al to zone out, lots of these timeless films (particularly the Alfred Hitchcock ones) encourage mindful watching, like noticing The Birds' gently-repeating lovebird color palette of red and green following Tippi Hedren around everywhere. From how excited everyone gets whenever I bring this stuff up I'm guessing this is what my friends did at college?

As I've been doing this I've gotten into the costume design work of Edith Head, who was apparently totally amazing. A good deal of the pleasure for me in watching these films is how finely everything is made. How I covet all those tailored lines! Breaks your heart!

Anyway, just look at this gallery of 30 Edith Head costumes and sigh along. Wow.

That's all for this week's reflection—remember to subscribe to get it to your inbox, and to share your favorite article with a friend to join the OFFWORLD POPULIST GAMES REVOLUTION.

Solve Jimi Hendrix's murder in a game where everyone is Jimi Hendrix

jimi1

You are Jimi Hendrix, a detective. Officer Jimi Hendrix has called you to the scene of the crime. The victim? Jimi Hendrix.

The Jimi Hendrix Case, free to download, is a classic-style point and click mystery with absolutely beautiful pixel art, made for a monthly adventure game jam (I think the jam theme was actually "Hendrix"). The fact that literally every person in the game world is Jimi Hendrix allows fun things to happen with the classic format—at one point the game quizzes you to remember the victim and suspects, and of course, all the answers are Jimi Hendrix.

QKdsFDi

Looking into this game a little bit, I learned there are actually lots of conspiracy theories about whether the real Jimi Hendrix was murdered. I don't know enough about them to know if there's anything for Hendrix fans in the game related to those theories, but the game is made with lots of love and doesn't take a lot of your time.

I found out about this one from my colleague Laura Kate Dale, who wrote a short review at Destructoid, and who also wrote the great article about VR that we blogged about earlier today.

The unique complications of playing VR games as a trans person

original-2

Over at Kotaku, my colleague Laura Kate Dale has a heartfelt and interesting piece on various experiences she's had with VR games, and how being trans has added a unique layer to how she interacts with these games.

For example, she shares how a game called Pixel Rift, where the player starts out as a girl child, made her smile, creating "a window into a childhood I never got to experience properly." But for Laura, other VR games, which often place the player into the experience of other bodies, were more conflicting:

Girl Body is simple. Stand in front of a mirror, look at a woman who moves her head as you do. Inhabit a female body. It was hardly complicated, but it left me with a lot of complicated feelings.

First, there were phantom limb sensations. It's one thing to know your body isn't what you hope it one day will become, but it's something different to have your eyes and your sense of touch lying to each other: to look at yourself and see a body you'd be happy with, but then run your hands across yourself and have things not feel the way they look. It was distressing. I found myself feeling in many ways worse about my actual appearance; I'd seen the end goal and been reminded that what I was seeing wasn't my reality. That really hurt. For the next few days, I felt incredibly self-conscious about aspects of my appearance I had previously been able to ignore on a daily basis.

I've heard VR users often say that inhabiting other bodies and other spaces is uniquely liberating, but Laura's piece sheds light on the fact that embodiment may be complicated for some. She ultimately suggests that VR games could be an important starting point for young people to experiment with other forms of expression, safely and privately:

Many of the early experiences that played a vital part in coming to terms with my own identity were terrifying, and felt filled with risks. Virtual Reality provides a space to experiment with some of those aspects of identity in a much more private manner. That added sense of safety, security and cohesiveness made it a therapeutic way to explore my own sense of dysphoria.

Read Laura's full piece at Kotaku.

Play it now: Jack MacQwerty

mcqwerty

Home row on the raaaange... ha ha, I totally made that up myself! Jack MacQwerty is a cute game where you shoot cowboy duelists by typing their names. It's made more interesting by the fact you have to keep an eye on your ammo (and type "reload", of course), and avoid killing hostages, who jog past you with names like INNOCENT and DONOTKILL.

Play Jack MacQwerty, by Kromah, for free in your browser at GameJolt. At Offworld we love typing games almost as much as we love games about plants growing. If that's you, too, try Secret of Qwerty and Monologue

Sign, seal, and deliver mind-numbing form letters in this fun game

unsolicited1

When Lucas Pope made Papers, Please, which I think is one of the best games of my lifetime, he showed that bureaucracy can be darkly funny, even as it inexorably squeezes the life out of a person, a system.

You don't think games about signing and stamping and shuffling and checking numbers can be engaging, and yet there's something mysteriously compelling about the simple, repetitive tasks. With the brand-new jam game Unsolicited, Pope delivers a little game about sending out form letters for timeshares, charities, sweepstakes, bill collectors and more, and again he manages to unearth the secret glee we all conceal at being an agent of performance. It's fun and you can't help it and what is wrong with the human brain?

unsolicited2

It's the way Pope makes everything feel touchable, the rustling of colorful paper sheets, the scratch of pen on paper, that keeps me glued to Unsolicited. Against a time limit, you have to fill in the correct fields across an increasing variety of notices. Other people's names blur rudely together; their chance to win, their dream vacation, their kind donation becomes a jumble of statistics, backdropped by color-popped stationery logos and exhortations to prioritize client care from your employer.

Unsolicited was made for the recent Ludum Dare 33 weekend game jam, whose theme was "You are the Monster". We're seeing all kinds of clever stuff coming out of the jam: games about everything from the European refugee crisis to everyday misanthropy.

Pope is currently working on Return of the Obra Dinn, a sort of mystery-exploration game about a shipwreck.

Why Cities: Skylines has become the new darling of the city-building genre

There's a beautiful article in the New Yorker about the popular new city-building game Cities: Skylines—I admire any reference to Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities" made in a conversation about video games, so good work, Simon Parkin.

Part of the fun in city-building is when you, an ordinary idle player of games, come up on the same kind of compromises, of infrastructural impossibilities, that plague real-world cities, and you sometimes realize the problems of your physical world are more complicated than they seem. Apparently part of the popularity of Cities: Skylines is that it's suited to the streaming world, and people like to watch others build:

Although Cities: Skylines builds on the template of Wright’s concept, it adds numerous features of its own, including a realistic traffic system that accommodates genuine transportation-planning strategies.

skylines

The game has also, according to its designer, Karoliina Korppoo, benefitted from timing; game streaming, whereby a player broadcasts her activity online and comments on it, has become wildly popular. “Skylines is an excellent game to stream,” Korppoo said. “It’s slow-paced, allowing time to explain your plans while creating weird and wonderful things. This was not something we planned—it just happened naturally.”

In Calvino's book, Marco Polo describes 55 cities to Kublai Khan, and because they don't speak the same language, the descriptions are abstract, image-rich. It's almost a video game-like book, in that the prose encourages you to build the described places in your head. I don't know if this is open to interpretation or not, but when I read it with a friend we thought the story was just 55 ways of describing Venice, the city of Venice through 55 different perspectives. That would be especially relevant to the game cities we build in our imagination, where if we all tried to build, say, London, one would never be quite the same as another.

You can buy Cities: Skylines in either a "standard" or "deluxe" edition on digital storefronts. And if you like Simon Parkin's writing, as we do, he also has a new book out you might be interested in.

Become a pharmaceutical industry monster in this striking new simulation game

Big Pharma, out today on PC, Mac and Linux, is a fascinating look at the complicated and often dark world of drug development. Right now there's a counter on the game's official website (it counts profits made, comas caused, patents infringed and clinical trials buried) that starkly illustrates the factors that come into play when profit and competition is involved in the business of curing disease.

Last year I interviewed Tim Wicksteed of Big Pharma developer Twice Circled about how his quest to just make an engaging "tycoon"-genre simulation game quickly veered into the realm of moral nuance. He wanted the game to pose the question of "are the goals of running a profitable business ethically compatible with the goal of making people healthy?":

"Life-saving drugs are shunned in favor of ones which treat (but importantly do not cure) chronic illnesses; companies are incentivized to simply copy their competitors and tweak the formulas rather than create new cures; and treatments for rich Westerners are prioritized over those sorely needed by the poorest communities around the world."

"These last ones are some of my favorites because they sound horrific but strangely understandable," he continues. "If you think about these companies on a human scale, you can imagine the people working for them, under intense pressure from their boss to hit their targets, and when you put yourself in their shoes can you really, I mean really say you would do things differently? That's the question Big Pharma asks of its players."

You can buy Big Pharma for $19.95 from the team's digital storefront.

You must hear this rapturous, pastoral and unique game score

everybodys-gone-to-the-rapture-screen-06-ps4-us-14apr15

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a mysterious, beautiful game about a post-apocalyptic English countryside. Wan steel and lemon skies and vivid, ruddy sunsets spread out over fields dotted with native plants, and players slowly, gently explore the resonances of those who have vanished to piece together its abstract story.

It's the latest game from Brighton, UK-based The Chinese Room, a studio run by a husband-and-wife team who, before they started making games, collaborated on projects like interactive "sound walks" and the Second Life debut of the Royal Opera House. Director Jessica Curry composed Everybody's Gone to the Rapture's delicate, unique soundtrack, and her music and sound design is essential to the experience of the game, synchronizing with procedural audio and ambient sound developed by the team's Adam Hay.

When I talked to The Chinese Room last year, Curry told me about some of the inspirations for the music she composed for the game:

"We don't just want to use traditional game aesthetics 'because it's a game,'" Curry explains. "And that's not saying we consider other art forms 'more highly,' but people who play games also all watch films, read books, listen to music, and we think it's important something doesn't just look and sound like a game for the sake of it. For me, the music isn't going to sound like other game soundtracks -- I really wanted a classic English pastoral sound, not from a 'game genre.'"

The Rapture soundtrack thrives on its own as atmospheric, listenable music. This week, the original classical score was likely to have hit number one on the UK official charts—but were removed for being an OST. It shows some conservative misunderstanding and prejudice on the part of the organization, as there have been movie tune compilations (including a Complete Harry Potter Film Music compilation) on the chart already. Before the removal, Curry was apparently the only woman composer in the top 50.

ev

We salute the multi-talented Jessica Curry for her work, and agree with her that music created for visual media should be considered as classical music. Such compositions make classical music accessible to audiences that might not otherwise have a chance to appreciate it—the harmony of sound and experience created by Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, which you can download on a PlayStation 4, is an experience you mustn't miss if you have access to the platform.

Get the soundtrack on Amazon or iTunes, or search for it on Spotify. Finally, read more about the development of this score at the Guardian.

Read a cool new book on our strange, deep relations with video games

cool

My friend Simon Parkin has been working long and hard on Death by Video Game, an amazing book of journalism on some of our stranger obsessions with the form. I've been really enjoying it so far and do recommend—it's a candid and humane look at what video games mean to people, with all the attendant beauty and weirdness that suggests.

I think it's a great read for serious fans of games, but also for people who don't really play them—it tackles, through its storytelling, the questions everyone always asks, like "are games too violent" or "are they our fantasies", and offers complicated answers. Read an excerpt of the book here.

Death by Video Game: Tales of obsession from the virtual frontline is now available.

Mavis Beacon taught you typing. Who was she really?

mavis1

Mavis Beacon, the typing software tutor whose beaming but strict oversight was the scourge of many sixth-graders' "free" period in the computer room, was not actually a real person, but rather emblematic of an age where the anthromorphization of programs was believed to better engage users with them.

VICE has a piece on anthropomorphic software that includes a history of the fictional Mavis Beacon, who was modeled on a woman who worked at the Saks Fifth Avenue perfume counter:

Abrams described Renee L'Esperance as a "stunning Haitian woman," with "three-inch fingernails." Crane instantly wanted to put her face on the box for his typing software. They got to talking, and despite the concerns Abrams voiced ("She's never been near a keyboard!"), they soon made a deal. Abrams told us they paid D'esprance a flat fee, bought her a conservative outfit that befitted a typist, and rented a business square in Century City on a Sunday, in order to take the cover photo. As for her long fingernails, Crane said "Don't worry. We won't show her hands," according to Abrams.

The article is an interesting look back on how software gets personified, and how the subjects of those personas often end up returning to "a quiet life back in the Caribbean."

Do you like fun typing games? So do I. Try Secret of Qwerty, or Monologue.

Passengers is a game about the human cost of Europe's migrant crisis

passengers1

The ongoing European Migrant Crisis sees death tolls rise as refugees take expensive and often extremely-dangerous trips with smugglers, often to be displaced again or even arrested when they arrive. The European Union is struggling with the ethical responsibility to assist people who've endured desperate and life-threatening circumstances for a chance at a better—while some countries believe in developing a unified continental plan to assist in the crisis, there are also fears that placing asylum-seekers would lead to more risk of life and resource strain. Some countries are building fences.

Creator Francois "Nerial" Alliot and collaborator Arnaud De Bock felt the human lives of the migrants themselves could too easily be lost in the ethical debates about asylum and human smuggling. In their new game Passengers, you play a smuggler bringing people to Europe. You can select what kind of watercraft you pilot and what kind of bribes you accept, and how many people to bring on board—these factors affect your own profits and level of risk. On your journey many of your passengers will die, you'll attract the attention of the coast guard, run out of water, or worse.

31242-shot1-1440421740

The most impactful part of the game is when you choose who to take on board. Each asylum-seeker comes to you with a name, a history, perhaps a family, and an amount they can afford to pay, which you can negotiate. You find yourself in the position of judge—who deserves another chance? Who might be too fragile for the trip and should leave room for someone else? Should you take a high number of people, even if it makes the trip more dangerous?

Would you take a drug dealer, a criminal, a benefits-seeker? What if he was more polite and appreciative to you than the sullen man who won't look you in the eye and doesn't seem grateful for your risk? Would you try to negotiate a higher fee from a woman and child if they seemed healthy, if you knew they probably had money?

Ultimately do your own feelings make a difference to the fate of your passengers, who will often die at sea?

31242-shot1-1440421740

It does remind of the constant calculations of what "life is worth" that often come with these incredibly complicated but heartbreaking situations. The free little game was made in a weekend for the Ludum Dare 33 jam, the theme of which was "You Are The Monster." It's a PICO-8 game—Passengers co-creator Arnaud De Bock kindly sent us the fanzine about the elegantly-constrained digital console last week.

Weird dinosaurs, haberdashery and second-kills

anatomic1 Our Monday reflection is a regular weekly item here on Offworld, a special satellite transmission designed to highlight our favorite Offworld stories, wonderful trends, and the stories from elsewhere in the galaxy that got us talking. Sign up here to receive this digest each week via email—it's a great way to avoid missing anything.

Latest Features

Daniel Starkey previously wrote for Offworld about an American Indian pen and paper roleplaying game, and last week he re-joined us with something more serious: The story of how as a poor child, software piracy offered him a way out of the cultural desert and into experiences he wouldn't have been able to have otherwise. Although obviously nobody endorses pirating games, for some people it's that or nothing—the piece provoked a lot of discussion, but as far as I'm concerned, if you think a poor child should never have gotten to play Deus Ex we probably can't hang out.

counterstrike

Games are apparently impacting Chinese culture in a big way, and Christina Xu came to Offworld to teach us Chinese phrases taken from the games world (can't handle a cute pop singer? your "blood trough is running empty"). It's really really interesting! Special thanks to Laura Hudson for working with last week's feature writers to bring these pieces to us.

Offworld Games

I love the work of Nathalie Lawhead, and her jittery, sentient Anatomically Incorrect Dinosaurs is part grotesque archaeology sim, part funny narrative experience. You absolutely gotta try it. My other favorite of last week was Sophie Houlden's Dusk Child, a mysterious and sharply-designed PICO-8 game. If you're new to PICO-8, we also covered a cool new fanzine devoted to the web-based microconsole, and it has some great contributors. You can download a digital version for free.

anatomic3

Laura enjoyed Regency Love, a Jane Austen-style dating sim with tea and haberdashery and other Jane Austen stuff. The creators reportedly were playing Dragon Age games and wondered what it would be like to replace everyone with Mr. Darcy and all of those guys. I don't know actually, I'm not a big Jane Austen fan (although Regency Solitaire has been one of my favorite games of the year).

Transmissions from elsewhere

In the wonderful ZEAL zine, Robert Yang (you may remember we loved his dick pic game, Cobra Club and his car sex game, Stick Shift) writes about getting gay married, Ovid, bodies, keyframe animation and ragdoll physics. It's a great piece on body performances in games and the tech we use to create them, viewed through a wider social lens.

Not games

The new Destroyer record is streaming on most music sites. I was crying about something over the weekend, so I put it on, pulled the duvet over my head and had a good satisfying mope to the violins on the opening track. THEN SUDDENLY there's all these saxophones on track two, and my goddamn mope was ruined, but that's okay, because the record is really good.

That's all we have for this week's reflection; of course, that's not everything we did in the last week, just the things I'm still thinking lots about. As always, go to Offworld directly to see the gentle, loving face of the modern games space, with no gunmetal gray, no DLC, no bros, no energy drinks and nothing but cool weird things made by cool weird people and you belong.

Sign up to our newsletter here to receive this round-up by email every Monday. It's the best way not to miss things!