Spiffing Reads: ARMS, Nintendo Labo and the future of loot boxes

This week on Spiffing Reads, we kick off with a welcome return for Nintendo Power.

Nintendo Power Podcast

This is a little old news, but still worth mentioning. Nintendo of America launched an official podcast using the Nintendo Power branding at the end of last year, which is great news for those of us who are still fans of the defunct magazine. The first episode gets the podcast off to a great start, and it features an interesting interview with the the producer and director of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’m definitely looking forward to more episodes. Professor GreilMercs

Memorable Games of 2017 – ARMS (NintendoLife)

NintendoLife ran a series of features of “Memorable Games of 2017”, and I was glad to see the Switch game ARMS make the cut. The more I play ARMS, the more I appreciate its depth and the more I enjoy it, a sentiment that seems to be shared by many of the people who have commented on the post. The writer also discusses how the game is easier for casual video gamers to pick up and play than a game like Smash Bros., which is something I’ll keep in mind next time I have non-gamer friends over. P.G.M.

Regulators eye game monetisation in 2018 (GamesIndustry.biz)

Another fantastic article from Rob Fahey, who for my money is one of the best writers in the business. He argues that publishers are sleepwalking into a disaster, blithely ignoring the gathering forces that are seeking an end to exploitative practices such as loot boxes. But if the EU or China suddenly outlaws loot boxes, this could massively affect publishers’ plans. Lucius P. Merriweather

The minds behind Uncharted and Firewatch talk candidly about surviving in the games industry (Polygon)

Polygon has been running a series of articles in which various people in the games industry look back over 2017, and this one is undoubtedly the highlight. Industry veteran Amy Hennig, the brains behind the Uncharted series, and Sean Hanaman, creator of Firewatch, discuss a range of topics, from ageing in the games industry to how the Switch has changed the market. It was particularly interesting to see the gap between Hennig’s experience of working on a multi-million dollar game for years at a time, where the huge costs could potentially sink the studio if the game doesn’t sell, compared with Hanaman’s ability to be much more nimble with development, scrapping concepts that don’t work and trying new ones at relatively little cost. L.P.M.

Switch’s eccentric new hardware is a link to Nintendo’s past in the most exciting way (Eurogamer)

A great little article from Martin Robinson that puts Nintendo Labo into the context of Nintendo’s history. The idea of cardboard toys that you slot your Switch into might seem bizarre, but it makes perfect sense when you consider that Nintendo once manufactured cardboard toys – and the new product line is the perfect encapsulation of Nintendo designer Gunpei Yokoi’s famous philosophy of ‘lateral thinking with withered technology’. L.P.M.

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.

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