The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page – June 18, 2021

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Welcome, dear reader, to our weekly opportunity to commune, to correspond, to enjoy the wonder that is intercourse. On this very page every week you — yes, you — get to have your say on whatever you want! Ask a question, share something cool you’ve been up to, tell us a hilarious joke — it’s up to you.

All you need to do is click the “Write to Rice!” widget over on the right-hand side of every page (if you can’t see it, click the black arrow to pop it open) and pen us a letter, including your nom de plume and your message. No personal information is required and we won’t sell your details to anyone because we’re not taking any details. This is just for fun!

So with all that preamble out of the way, then, let’s jump right in to the contents of this week’s mailbag.

Something to share

Dear Rice,

I’ll just leave this here 🙂

Me


Hello, Me, and thank you for your valuable contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Thank you also for the fact that, despite the fact you apparently have candid footage of one of our most important staff members “after hours”, you are not demanding some sort of ransom like those weirdoes in my junk mail folder who claim to have seen me wanking at my desk do.

Anyway, there is nothing to be ashamed of here. He’s enjoying a healthy diet, being very polite about his table manners and he looks like he’s off to clean up right after he finishes. I think we could all learn a little something from this fella. Looking at the circle of filth surrounding me at my desk while I type this (which, whatever the aforementioned junk mail messages might say, thankfully does not include used Kleenex), I certainly could.

There was an effort

Dear Rice,

In the article breaking down Nintendo’s E3 Direct the conclusion was that it was mediocre. In my view it was pretty good since it had something for everybody and even a good surprise with Metroid Dread.

What announcement or structural change could’ve made it “good”?

Regards,
Mr0303


Hello again Mr0303, and thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page! This is a good question worth pondering a little further — though the first thing to note is that we described it as “relatively mediocre” rather than simply “mediocre”. I think this is an important distinction to make — Nintendo’s presentation wasn’t “bad”, per se, but they have definitely delivered stronger Directs both at and outside of E3.

You’re absolutely right in that there was potentially something for everybody in the mix, and Metroid Dread is definitely a welcome surprise — even more so given that the tale of its troubled development is a bit more commonly known now — but the presentation still lacked a sort of universally appealing “wow factor”. Some people are arguing that Metroid Dread was that “wow” moment, but it lacks that all-important universality; you just need to look at the amount of people moaning on Twitter about “having to pay $60 for an indie game” to see that it didn’t quite hit everybody in the way they perhaps hoped it would.

They needed a truly big hitter that no-one could possibly complain about — a Mario Odyssey 2, a Legend of Zelda Maker, a Russell Grant’s Astrology — hell, just a better, more in-depth presentation on whatever “Breath of the Wild 2” ends up being called rather than a simple teaser trailer. And they didn’t have that. Personally, I normally walk away from a Nintendo Direct, especially around E3, with a sense of excitement for the future; I simply didn’t feel that this time around. It was more a sense of “oh, that’s interesting” more than anything else, and that was a bit of a shame.

It still beat Take-Two’s excruciating 45-minute Zoom call, though. I think someone forgot to tell them you’re actually supposed to bring games to E3 rather than get your HR department to lecture people.

Gissa job

Dear Rice,

First of all, thank you for always putting a smile on my face through your Facebook meme posting, as well as providing a very entertaining, yet informative website for a self-proclaimed weeb such as myself! <3

My question for the Rice Digital team is in regards to hiring. I have greatly enjoyed reading RD articles for some time now and would honestly love to be a part of the family (I’m sure I’m not the only one, either)!

If you’re not looking for more team members right now, then I completely understand and will continue to read more articles/memes from the team and look forward to the day when I can possibly apply!

Stay safe, and all the best from England!
\(^-^)/

Aaron


Hi Aaron (I’ve omitted your last name in case you didn’t want it published) — thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page! Glad you enjoy the Facebook memes; our social media folks always have fun digging out things that will make you all smile. It’s important to smile, especially during times like these, so I’m glad the funny stuff has been having the desired effect!

With regards to hiring, we’ve presently got a gang of regular writers in place besides your illustrious editor — you’ll have doubtless seen Trent, Conor, Lilia and Isaac’s names on many articles — so we’re not actively looking for new talent right at this exact second. That does not, however, mean that there won’t be opportunities in the future, so what I recommend you do in the meantime is get some practice in and build up a portfolio if you haven’t already! Doing exactly that is how I ended up here, so that’s not just empty words, either — it really does work!

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Your best bet, then, is to set up something like a WordPress site — WordPress is a good choice because a lot of websites are built with it — and get writing. Think about the things you’re most passionate about and have the most specialist knowledge about, and write about them. Doesn’t matter how long they are, doesn’t matter how “good” you think they are, just get writing and hone your craft. Not only will that give you valuable experience, it will also allow you to build up a bank of work you can point to when suitable opportunities do open up.

Sorry that’s not better news for the moment, but I hope that advice is helpful — and rest assured, we’ll let everyone know via both the site and social media when some opportunities for new writers do come up!

Gaming is the best medicine

Hello, Rice Digital staffers!

I’ve been out sick for the past few days (no, it isn’t because of Corona-chan), and I’m wondering which video games you guys like to play on your sick days.

I’ve already got a few in mind for myself (stuff like Project Zero and Gravity Rush), but, just in case I’m in this for the long haul, you know! 😉

All the best,
m68ken


Hello, m68ken, and thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page! This is a good question. As I type this, I’ve posed it to the other writers in our internal super-secret no-girls-allowed (except Lilia) Discord; if they reply before I finish typing this I will gladly share their thoughts with you also. If they don’t, well, they snoozed and they lost. Or something.

For me, what I play when I’m not feeling great depends on exactly how not-great I’m feeling. If I’m bed-ridden but reasonably alert, it’s hard to beat something with a good story like a visual novel or an RPG. If my attention span is short, I enjoy something quick, easy and to the point in an arcade style.

If my physical ailments have been impacting my mental health, too — as they often can — then I sometimes find that diving into a good, emotional narrative-centric game that you can devour in an afternoon can be a good choice. From the stuff we’ve covered recently, both Sumire and 7 Years From Now would definitely fit the bill, as would something like To The Moon if you’ve never experienced it.

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

“I am ill” RPGs need to have a good soundtrack to keep me interested and feeling vaguely energetic. Anything from Gust inevitably fits the bill because those folks know what they’re doing, and usually has a sense of positivity about it. Something with a general sense of “energy” about it is valuable to me at times like that; Neptunia games are good, too, because you don’t have to think too hard about the narrative in those to enjoy them — but there is, of course, depth there to explore when you do feel like reading a little more deeply.

As for arcade-style stuff, shoot ’em ups all the way! Preferably something visually spectacular that is fun to watch, and not too horrendously difficult. The kind of game that takes you on a rollercoaster ride and isn’t so challenging that you’re interrupted to put more credits in every few seconds. Eschatos by Qute. Everyone should play that. Or Natsuki Chronicles.

Driving games are good too — particularly because there’s so much breadth in what that genre covers now. You can trudge through mud at 5mph in SnowRunner, fling yourself through a corkscrew in TrackMania, do an entire race without releasing the accelerator pedal in Mario Kart or actually slow down for corners in the Forzas of the world. When I’m not feeling my best, I appreciate the driving games that have an exploratory angle so I can just enjoy getting around the game world without pressure. Both Test Drive Unlimited and Midtown Madness 3, while old and crusty now, are current favourites in this regard.

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

As for our wonderful writers, both Isaac and Conor turn to Final Fantasy XIV when they’re not on top of their game, because you can do some of the game’s more mindless tasks like crafting and gathering at times like that. It’s also a good game to play while listening to podcasts, catching streams or watching videos — though don’t spend too long without Soken’s amazing soundtrack, it’s bad for your health.

Lilia, meanwhile, notes that she’d rather not pay attention to text-heavy games while not feeling well, so her usual otomes are out of the question to a certain degree. Instead, she prefers what she describes as “chill and mindless” titles, including Fire Emblem Warriors, Stardew Valley (also Trent’s pick, as it’s his “happy time game”) and Senran Kagura. She’s also surprised at your Project Zero pick — wouldn’t that make you feel more sick?


And that’s that for this week! Thank you very much to everyone who wrote in, and don’t forget that any one of you reading this can be part of the fun next week just by clicking that widget over on the right. We look forward to hearing from you once again — have a lovely weekend and happy gaming!

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