What I’ve Read This Week (May 24 2021 to May 30 2021)

Patrick Klepek writes a piece about a game studio building games for Roblox. Roblox has seen a recent surge in news coverage lately due to them being brought up in the Apple vs Fortnite trial. This piece Patrick looks at how organized and long term content creation for a system like Roblox works and how it does seem possible to build a game studio out of that. Roblox is one of those things that is massively popular but rarely gets talked about in the mainstream games press so it was cool to get this insight into that world.

Most people have probably heard of Roblox, or its recent blockbuster public stock offering. Through Roblox, Adopt Me is now big enough—and importantly, sustainable enough—that its developers have grown in ambition and want to be a multi-game studio within Roblox. The studio’s new name is Uplift Games, a place aiming to offer health insurance but without crunch, moving from its two-person origins to more than 100 developers by the end of 2022.

Stephen Hero writes a essay about how utopian space colonization visions often gloss over or do not talk about the inequalities and violence inherent to the capitalist systems that built these so called ‘utopias’. In this case this essay looks at Gerrard O’Neil’s work in comparison to Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket.

In addition to satisfying audience expectations, the climax of War in the Pocket does crucial thematic labor. It reveals that despite idealistic visions, colonization entails conflict, coercion, and class stratification. O’Neill doesn’t argue for a radical overhaul of the system—he doesn’t even attempt to imagine a post-scarcity or emancipated future. What he proposes is capitalism in space, with all the structural oppression that entails. He stresses that the only way these colonies could be built is through economic and national self-interest, no different than today.

Most glaringly, O’Neill fails to address the violence and exploitation that such a massive undertaking would require. He argues that the frontier people of the future would generate wealth by mining the natural resources of the moon and supplying the Earth with energy captured from the sun. However, he doesn’t consider the brutal competition that would result from this “exponential growth.” Both
national and corporate bodies would use military force to protect their investments and make the workforce more malleable to their demands. Imagining otherwise is folly.

J. Cole writes an essay about setting goals and climbing mountains. With the recent release of J. Cole’s album The Off-Season reading this essay puts much of the album in the context.

Four years have passed. In that time I’ve been blessed with two sons, learned the delicate art of balance between parenthood and career, had the pleasure of working with a ton of talented artists as a featured rapper, spent 10 magical days recording a Dreamville album in Atlanta, and put a lot of time and energy into sharpening my sword and growing as an artist. The fire that was once dying out has returned, and for that I’m grateful. On my career bucket list, there remain a few more items to check off before I give myself permission to enter whatever the next chapter of my life may be. However, as I approach the summit of this mountain, I still find myself staring at that other one in the distance, wondering if I can climb. At 35 years old, I know that sounds crazy when said out loud, but I believe all of the best dreams do.

Salman Rushdie writes an essay about the wondrous nature of the worlds in fiction and how the books we truly love make us who we are.

I believe that the books and stories we fall in love with make us who we are, or, not to claim too much, the beloved tale becomes a part of the way in which we understand things and make judgments and choices in our daily lives. A book may cease to speak to us as we grow older, and our feeling for it will fade. Or we may suddenly, as our lives shape and hopefully increase our understanding, be able to appreciate a book we dismissed earlier; we may suddenly be able to hear its music, to be enraptured by its song.

That is all from me this week, see y’all next week!