At some point in the past ten years I became a fan of board game semi-employment project turned full time job Shut Up & Sit Down, featuring Quinns Quinntington and Matt ‘Jammsponge’ Lees. But if you’ve looked in the secret bonus content of those board games, you may notice an occasionally weirdly young looking face that has gone unaging for the ten years he’s been showing up, and it is that fellow that is Chris Bratt. What’s he do, aside from roll dice in Matt’s living room? Why, he works (worked? I dunno, time, whatever) for Eurogramer, and now he is part of the team over at People Make Games.
People Make Games is a great, informative channel about games that treats them not as commercial products but as human things, made and designed and played by people. It’s, you know, that thing, I do, except they’re focusing on things I can’t do – like interviewing important figures and going to Peter Molyneux’s house without shouting at him about guillotines. And look at that, since the pandemic lockdown, they went and acquired themselves a Quinns of their own!
They’ve done an introductory video on Blaseball, the game of Baseball Without Mercy, Baseball Perfected, Baseball As She Is, And Always Will Be. I’m not an expert in Blaseball, but I have a bunch of friends who are very into it, and I love watching them reacting to the game every weird-ass season. It’s a wild game and a great cultural space and people get to partake of it in a way that only works with the metaphor of real baseball team and support to work with.
I also quite liked this long-form dig into a game made by Halfbrick Studios that sort of had to be scrapped, and the interesting question of whether this is a function of the game, or the culture of the space and the people within it. Like, this whole message of this narrative could be ‘there are some types of games that corrupt the experience of people around them’ like haunted objects, but maybe the ghosts that haunt those games are in us, and the people who aren’t willing to lose when they’re not having fun.
And then there’s what’s probably? the big one this year? As I write this?
Basically, there’s a videogame platform and company that’s bigger than Ubisoft, and its player base are mostly children, as are most of its developers and designers, and that sounds wild but it sounds even wilder when you throw into that the statement ‘and the children aren’t being paid for their work.
Oh and because a few days ago this post needed an update, here’s a followup:
People Make Games is a great channel with some long, slow, thoughtful thinky-ready-processy kind of games talk there, that doesn’t approach things the same way most people in the game space do. I really like their work, so go check them out.