Weird dinosaurs, haberdashery and second-kills


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.


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.


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.

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