The Sunday Papers | Rock Paper Shotgun

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Sundays are for emerging from isolation, bleary-eyed and excited to breathe fresh air. Before stretch those legs, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things).

Over on Vulture, Reeves Wiedeman wrote about the arrest of Filippo Bernardini, who allegedly conducted a dastardly scheme that’s bewildered the book publishing industry for years. I’m afraid this story doesn’t have an ending, but it does make it all the more intriguing. (It follows on from a fascinating dive into the case Wideman and Lila Shapiro made before Barnardini was identified.)

Bernardini, who works in the foreign-rights department of the British arm of Simon & Schuster, is accused of impersonating hundreds of his colleagues — editors, agents, literary scouts — by creating fake email accounts in order to dupe others into sharing book manuscripts before they have been published. The thief had gone after hundreds of books, from titles by big-name authors (Margaret Atwood, Anthony Doerr, Jennifer Egan) to books by debut novelists most readers had never heard of. And no one could figure out why they were doing it at all.

Over on Medium, Michael M wrote a memoir about being in the best band you’ve never heard of. But really, it’s a fun post on his long lost tour manager Gary and an excuse to reminisce.

In the tiny, cramped sensory overloaded kiosks in Harajuku, full of tiny, kawaii stationery, Gary had found an 6-inch shatter-proof ruler that featured anime figures having some sort of characteristically overzealous fight on it. He’d carry it around and place it against his forehead when he passed a reflective surface so he could measure the exact amount his hair had tried to escape from his head since he’d last checked.

For PC Gamer, Tyler Colp wrote about how The Pope started 2022 with a hit song from Undertale. It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s not the first time The Pope has been exposed to Undertale. Surely he’ll pick it up now?

For some reason, the Pope has now heard one of the most iconic videogame songs of the 2010s, as sighted by Kotaku. Yesterday, during a weekly general audience, the speakers in the Vatican blasted Undertale’s “Megalovania” as circus performers juggled and unicycled in front of His Holiness. There’s video proof too, in case you, like me, couldn’t believe this actually happened.

For n8pf, Nate Pfeiffer wrote a quick post about the surprising origins of Animal Crossing’s furniture designs. It’s not like a massive in-depth analysis or exclusive insight into development, sure, but it’s still a fun, quick-fire look at some of the game’s real life design inspirations.

But as I looked through more and more items, I realized something: Many of them are real, or are at least largely derivative of existing designs, some truly iconic, others requiring a bit more searching. I saw a real opportunity here to bring some new insight both to Animal Crossing fans and product design enthusiasts. This, of course, was also an excuse for me to spend hours setting up adorable showroom vignettes in the game and excuse it as content for the blog.

For The Guardian, Dominik Diamond wrote about how, as a parent obsessed with his kid’s safety, he may have discovered the video game from hell. A really interesting parental angle on What Remains Of Edith Finch.

You can’t do anything to save the characters in Edith Finch; you just have to watch their individual tragedies. That’s kind of the point of the story, but for me this is as frustrating as watching Titanic. Actually, it’s worse, because you are not just watching them die, you are unwillingly steering them towards their demise. I have spent 23 years as a parent trying not to get my kids killed. I really don’t want to play a game where I can’t save them.

Music this week is Pretty by Astrid S and Dagny. Here’s the YouTube link and Spotify link. Sometimes all you need is a pop jam.

That’s me folks, until next time!

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