This week on Spiffing Reads, we start with a look back at when running a games magazine basically meant dicking about.
I used to be an avid games magazine reader. But like most gamers, I now rely on the internet for most gaming news and reviews (I still have a subscription to the excellent Retro Gamer though). Still, I miss the times when magazines ran ridiculous features with only a tenuous link to the games they were meant to be covering, like when Amiga Power hired a BB gatling gun for a feature on DOOM clones. And then there’s this classic tale of an ill-advised sea fishing trip in tentative relation to a certain Sega game.
The helplessness of Clock Tower (Kotaku UK)
I’ve never played the SNES game Clock Tower, but after reading this I’m inspired to give it a go. It sounds wonderfully macabre and quite unlike anything else from that era – an RPG where your only option is to run away.
What happened to gaming’s Waterworld? (Eurogamer)
I remember reading a feature about APB in Edge magazine many years ago, and thinking that it sounded like an amazing concept. It’s heartbreaking to read how the game struggled through years and years of development, never quite finding its feet, and eventually causing the closure of Realtime Worlds. Sad to think it was only live for three short months – a real kick in the teeth for all the people who worked on it, and a reminder that today’s online games necessarily leave little to no legacy when servers shut down.
Another story of a games studio struggling through difficult times, but this one has a happy ending. Australian studio Tantalus weathered the financial storms of 2007-09, and unlike many other Oz devs, survived to tell the tale. And I had no idea that an Australian studio ported both Mass Effect 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess to the Wii U! Good work, people.
My New Thing Is Making Sculptures In No Man’s Sky (Rock Paper Shotgun)
Because why not? I like the idea of spending your entire time in No Man’s Sky just sculpting out a planet full of Barbara Hepworth style sculptures. Or you could just make a wonky Thwomp and the ghosts from Pac-Man, like this guy did.
Feature: A Close Look at New Super Mario Bros. Wii Coin World (Nintendo Life)
I had no idea this existed. In 2011, Nintendo teamed up with Capcom to produce a four-player arcade game that’s part slot machine, part mini-game-a-thon. Weird.
I love it when people get disproportionately serious about games. I’m also a big fan of deep dives into mundane topics. So this article is like manna from heaven – and I learned a thing or two about the practicalities of civilian architecture to boot.
Asperger’s, Obsession and Quitting No Man’s Sky (Let’s Play Video Games)
This was actually written a couple of weeks back, but I only just stumbled across it, so I thought I’d include it here. A touching tale of when otherwise satisfying gameplay loops go wrong.
Spiffing Reads is a regular feature where we pick out the best gaming articles of the week. If you’ve read anything interesting, please let us know in the comments.