So called ‘real life’ reasserts it’s dominance again this week, forcing my hand into writing TWIVGB a little earlier than I usually do. Apologies if I miss anything particularly noteworthy from the week, and you can always get in touch to let me know about the more egregious omissions.

Reader and contributor Eric Swain does a fantastic job of sending me links, this week being no exception. In the week before last, Daniel Bullard-Bates writing for the criminally underrated ‘Press Pause to Reflect’ blog discusses Mitch Krpata’s own piece on the minimalism of Uncharted 2 which we linked in TWIVGB a few weeks gone. Bullard-Bates expands on Krpata’s thesis and looks at other games that do (or don’t) ascribe to a similar minimalist game design aesthetic.

The Borderhouse blog continues steaming ahead, and I was pointed towards an excellent post about ‘character versus gameplay’. Relating an anecdote where a player picked a character they identified with only to be frustrated by the unique rules applicable, the author discussed the void between character and gameplay:

[The in game character] may have represented her in the way she would like to be perceived, but [that character’s] rules/style didn’t represent her as a player.  This disconnect may have lead her to have a poor experience with the game because the game didn’t reward her for how she likes to play.

Charles J Pratt writes about ‘The Jungle of the Real’ and the blurry, contested line that separates the ‘real’ from the ‘fictional’ in a game.

There is a way in which part of every game is real. Perhaps rules are arbitrary, but what’s more important is that the consequences of those rules are not. When we play a game we pretend that we have certain constraints on our behavior, but the actions we take and the decisions we make as a result of those constraints are not pretense. Instead they are the explorations of the logical space of possibility that’s generated by the arbitrary rules we’ve adopted.

Denis Farr continues his obsession with Bioware’s Dragon Age: Origins, turning the spotlight of his personal blog’s series on LGBT characters onto Zevran. Looks like no one will be winning the TWIVGB pool this week.

After a protracted absence, The Runner finishes its lengthy jog. (Edit 2016-09-28 – direct link replaced with archive copy) For our more recent readers, The Runner is a first-person account of Mirrors Edge that blends image, story and game critique together into one big delicious mix.

LB Jeffries wrote a piece at the Moving Pixels blog about the novels of Philip. K. Dick and what they can tell us about our relationship with videogames.

Richard Clark at Christ and Pop Culture writes about the 2009 that was and ‘How gaming changed us’ – essentially, it’s one person’s picks of some of the trends that have cropped up time and again this year.

Conversation across the blogspohere is a wonderful thing so here’s Eric Swain responding to Danc of Lost Garden’s post we linked to last week. Dem’s fightin’ words!

Finally, Matthew Burns-nee-Wasteland seems to have taken up Duncan Fyfe’s mantle for unconventional, non-essay style criticism, this week explicating an all too believable situation from a game developers point of view in ‘Soft Body Dynamics‘.

I’ll be out of town next week so if we don’t see you before, have a merry festive season and a great new year.

A reminder that for all TWIVGB posts on Critical Distance comments are turned off by default to encourage discussion on the original entries, and we can always be reached via the contact page.