We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
On video game writing
Verge-contributor Maria Bustillos interviews author Tom Bissell about his work on the new Gears of War: Judgement, and the promise, difficulty, and difference in writing for video games.
The New Yorker: Maria Bustillos - Gears of War writer Tom Bissell on video games and storytelling
I’ve grappled with the degree to which games are not really a writer’s medium. Film’s not really a writer’s medium, either. Good writing certainly doesn’t hurt, but it’s not the thing that saves the day. I’ve been quietly lobbying for games that are smart and intelligent, even if they’re about blowing lots of shit up. At the same time, though, pure storytelling is never going to be the thing that games do better than anything. Games are primarily about a connection between the player, the game world, and the central mechanic of the game.
Maureen O'Connor writes about Netflix cheating, sneakily covering it up, and lying to deny the ultimate betrayal.
The Cut: Maureen O'Connor - Netflix Adultery: The Smallest, Most Insidious Betrayal
Three weeks ago I cheated on my boyfriend. He was perhaps twenty feet away from me, sleeping in my bed with the door open while I betrayed his trust on the living room sofa. At one point, he woke up and walked right by. "You're not watching House of Cards without me, are you?" he asked. "No," I lied without hitting pause. With my ear buds in, you could say Netflix was actually inside of me as my boyfriend returned to bed. I stayed in the living room and kept watching.
On the cutting edge
Veronique Greenwood talks about growing up on the bleeding of technology, and coping with its runoff of video phones, early webcams, and QR codes.
aeon: Veronique Greenwood - I grew up in the future
It’s not always a particularly comfortable place to be, that knife’s edge between the next big thing and a truly embarrassing evolutionary dead-end. We were constantly wading through early models of doomed technology, and we dressed in, wrote with, and drank out of the detritus of wrecked start-ups.
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews' David Shapiro offers his trademark take on review of BlackBerry's latest Z10.
BetaBeat: David Shapiro - People Will Think Less of You When You Show Them Your BlackBerry Z10
Like baby boomers who will never hear an album as good as Sgt. Pepper, for me, the BlackBerry 8700 is not only a good phone, but actually the best phone of all time. Obviously its features are trumped by every current phone, but if Babe Ruth stepped on the field during spring training this year, he would be an overweight alcoholic smoker, and we still generally agree that he is the greatest baseball player of all time.
Elon Green interviews The New Yorker's David Grann about how he uses Twitter.
The Awl: Elon Green - David Grann, What Is Up With Your Twitter?
It’s fine if I’m watching the Oscars or the Super Bowl, to be part of this wonderful community also watching this event. I can feel like I’m at a cocktail party. I’m pretty shy, too, so that’s kind of nice. But if I’m working on a story, I would never want those voices. I want the voices I’m reporting on, and all the participants, and I want to make sure I see the event as coldly, and clearly, and lucidly, and unemotionally, and uncollectively as possible. That’s the biggest difference. Oh, and one’s a lot of work and one is the illusion of work.
Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.