Welcome to the April issue of Unwinnable Monthly, folks. I hope you’re all safe and sound and are more capable of telling the days apart than I am. I wake up every morning sure it is Tuesday and am wrong six times out of seven.
First off, I couldn’t help but feature Sam Cookson’s hilarious Masters of the Universe pottery on the cover this month. I mean, just look at it! You can learn more about his amazing work in the Artist Spotlight.
We have three features for you. First, Alyssa Hatmaker delves into the surprising reverberations between the videogame Stardew Valley and the Arcade Fire album The Suburbs. Autumn Wright vents their frustration at Marvel’s new New Warriors. Finally, in our sponsored feature, I chat with Jonas Manke, creator of the exploration game Omno.
In the columns, Noah Springer kicks things off with some hip hop to help get you through the lockdown. Harry Rabinowitz recommends you check out the comic book Norroway, by Cat and Kit Seaton. Blake Hester muses on high school’s place in our shared cultural consciousness (as well as Persona 5). Amanda Hudgins examines the different expectations we bring to fanfiction and more traditional storytelling.
Declan Taggart has embarked on a new career as a Broforce speedrunner. Deirdre Coyle would like to escape the world the way the protagonist of the Drawn series of videogames does. Ben Sailer finds meaning in the world of Animal Crossing. Matt Marrone speculates as to what the New York Times bestseller list will look like in July of 2021.
Yussef Cole compares the underpinning philosophies of resource harvesting in In Other Waters and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Justin Reeve takes a look at Sekiro’s approach to portraying traditional Japanese architecture. Rob Rich uncovers the secret horrors of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Finally, Jason McMaster brings it home with a list of some of the Twitch streamers he’s been hanging out with in the era of social distancing.
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A couple other things of note. First, if you’re missing any back issues, we’ve still got the archives of both Unwinnable Monthly and Exploits available for free download. That’s our way of encouraging you to stay home and read for the duration of the pandemic. There is also a contribution button – all proceeds from that go to an emergency fund for our writers.
Speaking of which, inspired by #quaranzine and #stayhomezinefest, we’ve put together a physical zine, the proceeds from which (less shipping and taxes) go to the same fund. It is just about finished and probably start shipping domestically towards the end of the week (international friends, we’ll ship once mail is crossing borders regularly again). We’re only going to be printing these until the lockdowns are lifted, so snag them now!
Finally, this weekend would have been the 19th Geek Flea, a market I run twice a year catering to artists, crafts people and lovers of collectibles. While I am not too upset about missing the opportunity to set up and take down a bunch of heavy tables, canceling Geek Flea back in March made me keenly aware of how hard this shutdown hits small creators who depend on events like this to make ends meet. So, going forward, please try to support small creators and craftspeople! Throw some coins in their tip jars, recommend their sites, inquire about commissions and buy their stuff, even if you might have to wait an extra long time to get it shipped.
Right, that’s all for now. Stay safe out there and we’ll see you in May with the next issue of Exploits.
Kearny, New Jersey
April 20, 2020