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How iconic American art inspired The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II is a game that is deeply invested in the minutiae of its characters. The pain they cause, the things that drive them, and the particularities of their self-destruction and salvation. The game’s commitment to the true nature of individuals within its story is what makes each vicious pull of the trigger as affecting as each silent moment of grief.

The Last of Us Part II sets the interpersonal dramas of its characters against a broader conflict and world. It manages to deftly scale its themes to both the macro and the micro level, showing…


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A speculation on the future of the console market

There’s a sense of foreboding about becoming an early adopter. As much as the world of tech assures us that the ‘next thing’ and the ‘future of’ is always going to be worth the price of day-one admission, console generations have always bandied about the mid-cycle upgrade as a way to introduce new features, better specs, and improved hardware. Our fast ending generation of consoles saw three refreshes of the PlayStation 4, eight if you count their model revisions, and four revisions for the Xbox One, or six separate model revisions. …


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No Sister in the music video ‘My New Career’ — (Jack Riddle)

Ahead of the release of their new EP, Melbourne band No Sister speak to Nicholas Kennedy about perspectives on pop music, originality and DIY feminism in an industry where it’s all been done before.

There’s a scene near the end of Boogie Nights wherein Mark Wahlberg’s character, ‘Dirk Diggler’, is frozen on a couch, trapped in the garish early ’80s living room of cocaine dealer Rahad Jackson. Diggler stares at Jackson with a mix of bemusement, fascination and rising anxiety as he convulses about the room in a drug-induced stupor. From the stereo, Rick Springfield’s ‘Jessie’s Girl’ envelopes Diggler’s mind…


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Lucy Roleff at home. (Nicholas Kennedy)

Painter, musician, collector — Lucy Roleff’s vocations are varied, but all of them link to form an appreciation of the spaces we inhabit, a feeling explored on her new album Left Open in a Room. Nicholas Kennedy interviews Lucy on her connections with art, music, success, and domesticity.

‘So when’s the climate change album coming?’ I ask, as Lucy Roleff and I potter in her kitchen — boiling water for a French press and heating up cold croissants. ‘Weyes Blood beat you to it, I think, unfortunately. Good album, though.’

Referencing the words of Greta Thunberg, the 15 year old…


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Certain experiences belong to certain genres. That is to say, certain mechanics service certain types of gameplay. For example, the experience of being a detective, gathering clues, evidence, and exploring locales, has always nestled itself snugly within the point-and-click genre.

Wilderness sandboxes, however, seem to have been gobbled up and owned entirely by the survival genre. You can see other games dabble in this — the reboot of Tomb Raider comes to mind, before it got distracted by demonic samurai — but rarely are the places, tones, and stories of the wilderness better expressed than in survival games.

However, stories…


Small talk doesn’t seem to be a priority for Alex Macfarlane. By which I mean the kind of conversation that’s often feeling out whoever is sitting across from you — Alex doesn’t really go in for that, and rightfully so.

“So did you grow up in a musical family?” I ask. “Yeah, dad’s a failed folk musician,” Alex offers. Like I said, no small talk.

“Would he agree with that assessment?” I prod. “Well…” says Alex, “He just got me to learn drums so I could play in his band, which was just me and him. We did Neil Young…


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Al, Zephyr, Daniel, Mikey, and James.

As Total Control drummer James Vinciguerra wanders down a street bordering Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, he does little to relate the taught and scattered percussion he brings to the band. A low buttoned shirt into track-pants and scuffed gym shoes, he looks more like a slightly worn out baker than anything resembling a dead-eyed art punk.

Along with the rest of the band — Al Montfort, Mikey Young, Zephyr Pavey and Daniel Stewart — Vincigurrera has returned Total Control’s vivid and crackling sounds to the fore of the Australian music community.


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Originally published at rollingstoneaus.com

Sitting in his small Brunswick East apartment, sipping at a cup of black coffee, Crepes frontman and songwriter Tim Karmouche describes the Melbourne indie-pop band’s debut record, Channel Four, as a huge learning process. The room off to Tim’s left — scattered with drum machines, mic stands and snaking cables — is the ‘rough demo’ space, where Tim self taught himself most of the skills and habits he’d need to release the band’s debut 2015 EP, Cold Summers.

Eventually, Karmouche realised, he’d have to break apart those habits — and relearn a lot — to…


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Western society — as with everything else — has managed to make an entertainment industry out of failure. It’s like the dark side of the under-dog tale; the temptation to watch how far down somebody can go, how many supports can fail, how much you can change someone through hardship, addiction, weakness and ambivalence. You put a broken, hateful person with a story they want to tell in front of a camera and they’ll tell you something a damn sight more interesting than how nice their day was.

Sydney ex-pat Alex Cameron’s debut album, Jumping the Shark, was razor sharp…


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In June of this year I decided to start writing video-essays for a personal YouTube channel that I named ‘waste_a_life’. The first video is inspired by and focussed on multiplayer battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. You can watch the video above or read the script for the video below.

Thank you.

If I were to choose one thing that sets survival games apart from everything else in video games now, it would be pacing.

Doesn’t matter if it’s horror, wilderness, or a creative survival-sandbox: pacing is the key development difference that will have you shooting, navigating, and experiencing that…

Nicholas Kennedy

Writer from Melbourne, Australia.

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