Spiffing Reads: Black Mirror, VR Harassment and Antisocial Karen

This week on Spiffing Reads, we start off with more analysis of the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer – but this time from a perspective of just making stuff up.


Nintendo Switch’s best, most revealing meme is antisocial ‘Karen’ (Polygon)

This genuinely made me laugh out loud. In the Nintendo Switch trailer, one Internet wag dubbed the bob-haired lady who brings a Switch to a neighbour’s party as ‘Karen’, and since then a whole meme community has sprung up around her. “Oh shit, Karen brought her stupid Nintendo thing to the party again. We’re DRINKING, Karen. We’re having CONVERSATIONS.”


Has a Black Mirror episode predicted the future of video games? (The Guardian)

I’ve never actually seen an episode of Black Mirror. Charlie Brooker’s opus sounds utterly fascinating, but even the very idea of some of the episodes just creeps me out. In the latest, a future AR game taps into the player’s darkest fears to present them with things they find utterly terrifying – but interestingly, a few games have already explored similar ideas. This lengthy article explores how games have tried to get to know their players, and there are some fascinating details that I had no idea about. It also made me even more determined to seek out the underrated Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Wii.


My Summer Car is the most hardcore driving game yet (Eurogamer)

There seems to be a thriving market for hardcore, off-kilter drive ’em ups these days. After Spintires – a hugely popular game about driving old Russian trucks through mud very, very slowly – comes a game about constructing an old banger from spare parts and driving it through the Finnish countryside while drinking beer and flipping the bird at other drivers. I’m not sure it’s the kind of game I’d personally want to play, but I’m very glad that it exists in the world.


VR Developers Add “Superpower” to Their Game to Fight Harassment (Kotaku UK)

This is something I hadn’t really considered until now – ‘online harassment’ can reach a whole new level in connected VR worlds. This is the story of how one woman had her first experience of VR totally ruined by someone who ‘groped’ her. Obviously the groping was only with virtual hands, but I can imagine how uncomfortable the experience must have been, especially as there is no way to physically defend yourself – apart from taking the VR headset off. I suspect this story is just the beginning, especially if social media moves into VR, as Facebook envisages…


Review code, the ‘media’, YouTubers and all that shite (Tired Old Hack)

The story that Bethesda plans to hold back review code for games journalists until the very last minute was everywhere this week. As many have already pointed out, that restriction doesn’t seem to apply to YouTube ‘influencers’, who are receiving review code weeks in advance of release. This is an interesting take on the issue by industry veteran Chris Scullion, formerly of CVG.

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.