Your resident librarian of games criticism is back in the seat again. We have a wonderfully diverse collection on the recommends shelf of This Week In Video Game Blogging.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto is a very popular subject as of late. We decided just to put them out on the front shelf; it seems to be the topic of the moment.

Stephen Beirne on the Huffington Post writes about how it normalizes violence, not through causing it, but by creating an atmosphere where people cannot recognize it. Furthermore, Beirne suggests that the satire defense merely exacerbates the problem.

Cassandra Khaw at US Gamer talk about how unrealistic Michael and his family are given that she grew up with a real world analog to him. It isn’t so much social criticism as it is the high flung fantasy of an executive.

Spann at Arcadian Rhythms is a little disappointed at the criticism towards GTA5‘s most heinous mission and how under read it’s used in regarding Trevor and his character.

Mark Serrels says Los Santos is a place he’d never want to visit on Kotaku. And Johnny Kilhefner at Unwinnable regards existence in Los Santos as condemning a person to a slow death and eventual end by one’s own hand.


Kimberley Wallace put out a new piece published by Game Informer about how confronting despair can influence a reading and ultimately the ending choice in Beyond: Two Souls.

Paul Haine looks at running in games and how the culmination of elements in Remember Me finally made him slow down and walk to the benefit of the game and his enjoyment.

Also, a brand new work from the highly reclusive author – first in a long while I must say – came out this week. Our own Kris Ligman – yes her, right over there – published a piece at Unwinnable deconstructing Johnny Gat from the Saint’s Row series.


Leda Clark goes back to the cultural initiator of the boom and digs deep into the psychosis of Braid by looking at oft overlooked elements.

Alex Duncan looks at creation and self creation through art in The Unfinished Swan on his The Animist Blog. Don’t get much about this gem.

Rob Parker of First Person Scholar tries to reconcile Jesper Juul’s understanding of game and failure with regards to the art of Papers, Please.

Stephen Beirne sees Gone Home as three games wrapped into one.

Daniel Joseph sees Howling Dogs and Kentucky Route Zero as a new type of game entering into the general public’s view and hopefully laying down the groundwork for what the next world will look like.

Look Back

We also have a number of new writings on classic titles for the vintage player.

Ed Smith did a insightful retrospective of the original Tropico and how perfectly it mirrors how politics really works and why so little ever gets done.

Eric Swain continues horror month at PopMatters by looking at a classic adventure game now again once widely available and how I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is more faithful to the concept of horror than most other games.

And Liz Ryerson collects her three critical walkthrough videos of the first chapter of the original Doom and of the subtle nuances of the level’s design and hidden storytelling.

Social Issues

We have a treat this week. Stanford was kind enough to to show the study that demonstrates how sexualized game characters have a demonstrative detrimental real world effect of self esteem and cognitive ability. Yes, no paywall or anything. JSTOR is usually so picky.

Darius Kazemi and Nina Huntemann list off the three least powerful woman in gaming. many repeat entrants this year.

Robert Rath in his weekly pamphlet says that we need more soldiers to write about games.

And if you are willing to go into the viewing room we have a set of companion videos from Idea Channel. Controlling vs. Being Your Video Game Avatar and Are you Weird if You Play as the Opposite Sex? That second one comes close, but manages not to fall into any pitfalls.


Those? Oh sorry. I haven’t gotten around to reshelving them yet. Sure you can have a look.

L. Rhodes at Polygon says sequels are sometimes good for gamers. He also wrote about how copyright law pertains to Super Mario Brothers and video games in general for Medium.

Jason Johnson wrote an interesting look inside the “failed” utopian New Games Movement.

And Mitch Dyer wrote on the all too depressing and all too real question of ‘how long can video games matter?” This is given their iterative qualities instead of artistic and how each new game forces obsolescence on their predecessors.

Eric Keeps Forgetting the Closing Section So Kris Had to Write This Part

Thanks for stopping by! As usual we welcome all outside submissions, so please send us your recommendations via Twitter mention or our email submissions form.

Also, we are still on the look-out for foreign language correspondents! In particular, we are looking for readers familiar with French, Spanish, Russian or Japanese games writing, although we welcome all comers, of course. If you think you can help out, please drop us a line!

There are a few days left to submit to this month’s Blogs of the Round Table, so please consider taking part!

See you next week!