It’s Suuuuunday. Or as I like to call it – What I’ve Been Reading Day. It should be a national holiday. Your weekly dose of things Merve thinks are interesting follows after the jump.

  • John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun muses about the possibility of a Steam operating system, made by Valve. It’s a fun thought-exercise, but I don’t think it’s anything more than that. Developers aren’t going to be willing to port their games over to a new operating system, and if you’re going to run a separate OS for games, you might as well just get a console. Proponents of the idea say that Steam is getting into the non-game software business anyway, so the next logical step is making their own OS. However, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing sophisticated word processors or spreadsheet software on the service for a while, given the stranglehold that Microsoft Office has on the market. In any case, check out what Walker has to say and see if you find it convincing.
  • Jim Sterling of Gamefront explains how the first Commander Keen game, Marooned on Mars, created a sense of fear in the player, a feeling I know all too well from my experiences with the game. At the end of every level containing a spaceship part was a boss of sorts, known as a Vorticon, that looked like a blue werewolf in a jumpsuit. Apparently, it could be felled with four shots from Billy Blaze’s trusty raygun, but my six-year-old self was terrified and would run away from the leaping, happy-go-lucky blue dog. (Somehow, the fact that the Vorticon was cheerful made it scarier.) For the longest time, I couldn’t make it past any level that contained a Vorticon. I’m still kind of scared of them to this day.
  • Chris Person of Kotaku explains why the open world of Sleeping Dogs works: it’s large enough to encourage exploration, but small enough that it still feels lived-in. Based on my time so far with the game, I have to agree. I might offer some more thoughts about Sleeping Dogs once I complete it.
  • This week’s sexism-related controversy in gaming comes to us courtesy of John Hemingway, lead designer of the upcoming Borderlands 2, who offhandedly referred to a skill tree intended for newbies as “girlfriend mode” in an interview. Of course, this set off the usual shitstorm, with some people calling for him to be fired or publicly humiliated because of his comment, while his defenders claimed that the anti-sexism movement in gaming had gone too far and was ruining gaming for everybody. Dennis Scimeca of The Escapist weighed in. He says that while Hemingway should be held accountable for his words, reacting in a knee-jerk fashioned instead of engaging the offender in a dialogue about why his words were insensitive doesn’t solve anything. I’m sure all the responses to his piece will be rational, thoughtful, civil, and respectful.
  • Has this summer seemed like one constant heat wave to you? Stephanie Georgopulos of Thought Catalog is sick of summer. I am too. It’s too freaking humid here.

That does it for this week’s round-up of things I looked at on the Web. Feel free to leave comments below.

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