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Etcetera #40: Licence Fees, Pandemic Drinking, Permalancers

Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane
Hello. I can particularly recommend ‘Down and Out in Habersham’ particularly if you are one of the many people—myself included—whose alcohol intake changed (he said euphemistically) during the pandemic.
Also: Good news for Super Nintendo fans with a couple of great documentaries. Bad news for superfans of Nintendo with a story about how contractors are treated.
See you next time.

The BBC commissions a study to show what life without the BBC would be like
See also: I’ve included several links and written several notes about the BBC here before, issue #35 in particular. Tribune’s How To Save The BBC covers a good amount of ground if you’re not familiar with the broader issues.
Down and Out in Habersham
See also: Tom Usher’s You and I Get Tanked Differently, the primary text on British drinking habits.
Inside the Growing Discontent Behind Nintendo’s Fun Facade
See also: Nintendo of America (NOA) undertakes some hardware and software development, as well as localisation work, but it is primarily a marketing and customer service company. Parent company Nintendo of Japan (NCL) is no stranger to troubling issues that are sadly commonplace in software development, such as ‘crunch’, compulsory overtime in the final stages of a project. Gabe Durham’s book on Majora’s Mask for the Boss Fight Books series recalls some notable examples:
Today, “crunch” in the video game industry is more commonly recognized as exploitation, leaving developers burned out and often undercompensated from overly demanding workweeks. In 2000, weary developers had to smuggle their complaints into the game itself. Leung pointed out that “the game is filled with little winks” about the developers’ busyness. The carpenters in Clock Town, for instance, who are building a tower for the Carnival of Time, “constantly wonder if they’ll ever finish the job on time, and their musings are actually thinly-veiled reflections revealing the programmers’ anxiety to finish developing the game according to schedule.”
How imagination and technology are combining to bring comics to people with visual disabilities
Etc.
The Story of Super Mario World | Gaming Historian
The Story of Super Mario World | Gaming Historian
  • Zion Grassl assembles a host of fans of the Earthbound/Mother games to discuss why they are so important, and what (if anything) will become of the series (61 mins):
The MOTHER We Share - Our EarthBound Story
The MOTHER We Share - Our EarthBound Story
In rotation
🎮 I’m nearing 100% in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, my surprise game of the year so far. Endlessly charming. I’m also on the cusp of finishing Ocarina of Time. I didn’t play it enough to beat it in 1998 so I was surprised when I got to the Shadow Temple, Hyrule’s literal torture dungeon.
📖 I’ve started Chuck Klosterman’s The Nineties. It covers ground that we’ve trodden here many times before—nostalgia, marketing generations, high/low culture…. so far, quite interesting, if not exactly vital stuff.
🎧 Revisiting Pavement’s Terror Twilight has been illuminating. The recent reissue restores producer Nigel Godrich’s preferred running order, bumping the most accessible songs to the second half of the record. I can see why the band pushed back on this. I like ‘Platform Blues’ and ‘The Hexx’ well enough, but it would have been a very bold choice to have them open an expensively recorded album that was meant to push them into the major leagues (no pun intended). I see it now more of a Stephen Malkmus solo record. It remains contradictory—frustrating, even—but it occupies a warm place in my heart.
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Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane @coldbrain

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