Come to the Edge

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
And he pushed,
And they flew.

– Christopher Logue

In Praise of Food Dad, Nigel Slater →

Ruby Tandoh gets it. Nigel Slater’s Real Food completely changed my relationship to cooking and I have a special place in my heart for his writing.

How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content

Okay look, this video kind of goes a little “maybe the real books we read were the friends we made along the way” at the end, but it’s got a wonderful (if slightly obvious/well-trod) set of central messages: make time for more reading and you’ll read more; there’s no ‘canon’, just read widely; enjoy it.

But the thing that really blew my mind was how these enormous, gorgeous book stores are thriving in the 21st Century. Ateneo Gran Splendid was only opened in the year 2000. And the thing I noticed was how they aren’t just places to buy books - they have cafes and bars and patisseries to help you enjoy your time in the space, not just get in and get out as fast as you can.

5 Star Phonies →

In the past few years, I’ve basically given up trusting Amazon reviews. If I’m in the market to buy something, I’ll look for reviews by actual people I trust. thewirecutter hasn’t been 100% successful for me1, but it’s still a lot better than trusting Amazon.


  1. a few people in my office bought their top recommendation for exercise headphones and we saw 100% failure rate within a couple of uses, and saw plenty of people in the comments section reporting the same thing.

How Animators Created the Spider-Verse

There are so many great things in this video. My favourite is the tiny detail about how the characters are animated on every second frame (animated on 2s), and how they used this in the forest scene where Miles and Peter are swinging through the trees but they’re both animated on different 2s to indicate how their personalities aren’t in sync yet.

Norway's Underwater Restaurant →

Instant addition to my bucket list - an underwater restaurant that could double as the lair of a Bond villain:

“If the weather is bad, it’s very rough. It’s a great experience, and to sit here and be safe, allowing the nature so close into you. It’s a very romantic and nice experience.”

(Although can you imagine how sick you’d be if you booked this restaurant and didn’t get a table right by the window?)

Carly Rae Jepsen Rpg →

A higher number means you’re better at LASERS (technology; science; cold rationality; calm, precise action; mechanisms). A low number means you’re better at FEELINGS (intuition; diplomacy; seduction; wild, passionate action; convincing).

This sounds perfect. I can’t wait to try it out.

Best Games I Played in 2018

Previously: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

It’s probably obvious but still worth mentioning that this entire list is based on an extremely incomplete sampling. I had very little free time in 2018, so I had to be ruthless with the games I played. For example, I slowly made my way through 2017’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins somewhere around the middle of the year. And I loved it so much. It probably would have been in my list of favourite games of 2017. But am I in a hurry to drop another 60 hours on Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey now? Am I fuck.

Anyway, here we go.

Minit

Minit

My son – my second child – was born in March, which meant that my free time in 2018 was more precious than ever before. Thank fuck, then, for a game like Minit, which respects the player’s time. I was able to dip in and play this in tiny drops.

Florence

Florence

It’s pretty rare to see a video game even try to tackle the subject of interpersonal relationships, and it’s even rarer to see one incorporate the subject into the mechanics of the game.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

Is this a bit of a cheat because it’s a remaster of an old game? I don’t care. I played through this all over again on the Switch and I loved it all over again.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

This is everything I wanted from a sequel to one of my favourite games of all time: a giant cowboy sandbox, with sliiiightly wonky controls that make everything just that little bit more interesting.

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Marvel's Spider-Man

For a while there towards the end of the year, this game was very much my happy place. It still is. When I want to relax and shut out the world for a while, I’ll fire up Spider-Man and just swing around the city. Maybe not coincidentally, this is the first game on the PS4 that I’ve platinumed.

Gorogoa

Gorogoa

I still don’t understand how a human mind could have created something like this.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn

When I was 12 or 13, I got a Panasonic 3DO for Christmas along with a copy of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel. And while the 3DO isn’t the best console in the world and this Sherlock Holmes game is definitely not the best game in the world, they both have a really special place in my heart. When I think back to my time spent playing that game and the way it had my dumb little 12-year old brain cracking its mysteries, I’m reminded of all the things around the game. Like I remember that Christmas being the last one where everyone I knew and loved was happy. Like, genuinely, sincerely happy. And so it’s a very warm game for me.

It’s a strange comparison, I know, but Return of the Obra Dinn gave me those same feelings and the whole time I was playing it, I was brought right back to that Christmas, on that couch in my Ma’s front room. Which is pretty spectacular when you consider it’s basically just a giant logic puzzle

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect

Every year, it feels like there’s one game that stands out for me because of the way it helps me tackle whatever anxiety or depression or other emotional issues I might be going through at the time. This year, it’s Tetris Effect. A real joy of a game that will be unfairly overlooked because it’s “just _Tetris_”.

Subnautica

Subnautica

With games like Minecraft, the most entertaining and the most magical part of the game is the first few minutes, when you’re first getting set up and exploring and struggling to survive. Subnautica somehow managed to sustain this feeling for hours.

The Cost of Living in Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet Empire →

Articles talking about how Facebook destroyed the personal, friendly, welcoming internet are fairly common now, but this one by Brian Philips is actually worth your time.

Before I started writing, I did a Google search for “Facebook” and “annus horribilis,” which showed that dozens if not hundreds of media outlets — The Guardian, the BBC, El Mundo, Die Welt, The Atlantic, the Silicon Valley Business Journal — used this phrase, Latin for “horrible year,” to describe Facebook’s 2018. But 2018 wasn’t an annus horribilis for Facebook. It was an annus horribilis for us, the people who actually faced the surveillance and dishonesty and abuse. It was an annus horribilis for us because of Facebook.

To get on my soap box a little bit here, if none of these stories – the Cambridge Analytica story, the whole Russia thing, this most recent one about giving media companies back-room access to personal private data – if none of these stories make you want to delete your Facebook account, then what will? Where is the line for you?

To go a little further: if you haven’t deleted your Facebook account by now, then you are complicit in all of this shit.

People from all over the world are sending emails to Melbourne’s trees →

Melbourne gave 70,000 trees email addresses so people could report on their condition. But instead people are writing love letters, existential queries and sometimes just bad puns.

This is just lovely. My favourite line is “Hope it all goes well with the photosynthesis”.