Things of note for the week ending Sunday April 2nd, 2023
Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
Welcome to #344 of Five things Friday. Thank you to all of you (literally none of you) that wrote back to tell me I got the number wrong on the last edition. I clocked it after I hit send and then changed the web version but couldn’t amend the email. So if you’re here and wondering what happened to issue #343 well, you’ve already had it – it arrived last week. OK? OK.
What else can I tell you?
It’s been London Games Week this week so a VERY BUSY WEEK INDEED (probably why I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon) and also a VERY ENJOYABLE WEEK AS WELL. More on that and more, below.
Speaking of below, shall we jump right into The Things?
1. OK BUT JUST LOOK AT THESE MANTISES
I mean COME ON.
My Modern Met writes:
Macro photographer Pang Way captures the delicate dance-like movements of a variety of mantis species. From an up-close point of view, he depicts the insects as they balance on their long legs with wings splayed in a fan-like fashion. We’re able to admire all of their incredible characteristics, from the brilliant coloring to the delicate webbing over their wings. It offers a new appreciation for these elegant creatures that live throughout the world.
Uh huh. And they’re WONDERFUL.
2. MAD WOMEN
“Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of WACL, (Women in Advertising and Communications, Leadership) Mad Women (1×60 mins) will, for the first time, explore the role women have played in advertising across the past century.
From the creation of Shake n Vac with its unforgettable jingle and the Levi’s launderette ad with Nick Kamen to the Flake girl in the bath and the bikini-clad women falling over men because of the Lynx effect; this film meets the pioneering women behind some of the UK’s most iconic ads.
Starting in London’s late 70s – in a world evocative of Mad Men – we meet those who broke into the industry and started to break down the stereotypes that had been in place for decades. We’ll discover the ground-breaking adverts they engineered and the battles they had to endure to get them onto our screens.
In a world now unrecognisable from the heady days of Mad Men, we’ll also meet some of the most senior women working in the industry today to find out what’s left in the world of taboo breaking. Is it the role of adverts to reflect trends or to create them and what can we expect next from the current generation of Mad Women?”
3. THIS WEEK IN GAMING
tl;dr: WASD was great.
Thursday was a work day and I didn’t get to play that many games but I DID have the enormous pleasure of giving an updated and super fresh update of the metaverse talk at the excellent London Dev Conference (that was being held in the same building).
After that I did managed a very quick go on the new Cult of the Lamb DLC, ‘Relics of the Old Faith’ – which is more Cult of the Lamb + some new skills and levels. Given Cult is immensely playable, is of course very welcome. And I also managed a handful of rounds on Street Fighter 6 – continuing to be my most anticipated game for 2023 (yes – really). The absolute highlight was scoring a PERFECT! round against my sworn Street Fighter rival (aka Diva ECD, Stuart O’Neill. DONE YA!).
Seeing the team on the ground meeting our friends and clients at Maze Theory, Bandai Namco, Gearbox (hello Have a Nice Death!), Ninja or Die, Super Rare Games, Activision, and more… well, it was just lovely. Follow that by an excellent Diva hosted/sponsored after first day show party, well… it was awesome.
We went back as a fam on the Saturday and the games we tried and enjoyed include:
Heave Ho (riotous four player couch co-op fun)
Road 96 Mile 0 (an skateboard runner with mental levels)
Cult of the Lamb: Relics of the Old Faith (see above!)
Alien Hominid (high energy platforming fun)
Viewfinder (really something quite special)
Street Fighter 6 (IT’S STREET FIGHTER)
Stick it to the Stickman (hilarious mental beat’em up)
Have a Nice Death (gorgeously designed platforming heaven)
We didn’t play any VR unfortunately but I heard v good things about Peaky Blinders (Meta Quest 2) and The Last Worker (PSVR2) more on the latter shortly…
Other gaming-related news/links of note:
The truth about “gaming disorder”.
Last week there was a whole bunch of scaremongering press about ‘hundreds’ of children being treated for gaming disorders. Headlines everywhere. Ex head of comms for Ukie, George Osborn (not that one) breaks it down.
Sad to see but inevitable, really. Post COVID, post Geoff Keighley (moving in on the turf with Summer Games Fest), E3 never really had – or gave itself – a chance to recover. And let’s be honest, if you’re a developer or publisher who has spent the past three years doing controlled streams of your games announcements, why would you go back to a world where you’re breaking the backs of your devs to get a playable/buggy vertical slice of your game ready for an in-person event? That’s not to say that games events are over (obviously not with the success of WASD above and GamesCom last year (265k attendees!), it’s just perhaps the role of these events has changed, irrevocably. And there are those that have recognised this and changed with it and there are those that haven’t. E3 feels like the latter. GI.biz has more.
This, from Heineken, is a great ad. People that play are everyone. People that play are everywhere. The fact this is out NOW and just ‘oh, here’s a covid ad’ makes it just that little bit more special, y’know?
Fortnite now shows you how many people are playing on each island.
This is good/useful data! Basically, with the roll out of UEFN (see last FTOF), this is an important way for Fortnite Creators to see how well their creations are doing – especially up against Epic’s own islands such as BR Solos, Duos etc. Yes, Epic is sharing its own numbers too. Hooray!
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog was a REAL April Fool. Amazing.
Xbox has stopped its £1/$1 Game Pass trial offer which is a shame (I used it a lot in presentations about democratised access to games) but that doesn’t make the service any less compelling – as I’m sure many of you already know.
I’ve run out of space to speak meaningfully about the BAFTAS but I will say ROLLERDROME picking up Best British Game was a high point for me – it’s such a great game. You can watch the full replay of the BAFTAs over on Twitch right now.
What am I playing?
Still plodding through Marvel Suns (made it to Act 3 – wooo!). The game loop is really nice.
I picked up Dead Cells after seeing the Castlevania DLC drop (Castlevania was a huge part of my early video game years on NES and SNES). A great little game that.
Related, I also picked up a Razer Kishi in the Amazon spring sale – and it has become an instant luggage companion. Dead Cells is great on it AND best of all? It’s compatible with Game Pass. Yessssssss.
C-Smash VRS on PSVR2 is excellent.
And last night, after seeing a bunch of folk play it at WASD, I got home and immediately purchased The Last Worker. It’s really nice. Really nice. I’m pretty sure it’s on every/most platforms so go check it out.
4. THE MEH-TAVERSE
Because I am tired. Here are some more links about or relating to dead-trend-walking from 2022: ‘the metaverse’
Wall Street Journal: ‘The Metaverse is quickly turning into the meh-taverse’
Disney announced it was sacking its entire metaverse team. This is really sad and look, while I’m no fan of the rubbish and over-hype around the M word, anyone that crows about how good it is that people are losing their jobs is a dick. End of.
Magnum here with its new ad: ‘Not available in the Metaverse’
I mean broadly, I really like this idea as a concept. Digital/animated character enters the real world via VR headset to experience real life – and the indulgence taste of a Magnum Ice-Cream. Strong Ah-Ha vibes. I get it. THAT SAID, I think the end line ‘not available in the metaverse’ is advertising for advertisers. A trap that could’ve been stepped over so easily. But they couldn’t resist. In doing so, it feels like the ad is about how clever they are vs how incredible it is to taste a Magnum in real life.
But hey, that’s just me.
Apparently the metaverse is not dead (note: it would’ve had to have been alive at some point for that to be true), it’s just going to ‘take a while’ – don’t take that from me though, take it from Meta’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg.
Oh and thank you to the (now seven different) people that have sent me this link: ‘The Future is a Dead Mall’ which basically spends just shy of two hours pulling apart the myth of Decentraland and The Metaverse.
5. ENDING WITH A MEME FOR THE TIMES
THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY.
Starting this section this week with an excellent critical analysis of the Finnish Baby Box’s journey into the liberal welfare state [PDF link] and what that means for progressive public policymaking.
The UK Government has scrapped its NFT plans. Can’t think why.
This is a decent profile of Brie Larson. I am a fan.
I have had to uninstall Marvel Snap (again).
Next: if, like me, you’re still using Twitter AND you use the web interface a fair amount, then this link is worth bookmarking. Only the people you follow, in reverse chronological order. LIKE THE OLD TIMES.
I still love same dot energy.
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
I hope you’ve had a restful weekend and are gearing up for a nice Easter. I’m in Bristol at Diva HQ next week and two four day weeks to cram ten days of work into… so unlikely we’ll see a new edition of FTOF this side of it all.
I tell you what, let’s regroup after Easter and share stories. Deal? Deal.
Much love gang, thanks for reading.
Hit reply and tell me what’s up.
Whatley out x