Hello there! Zolani Stewart here. While Zoya is away, I’ll be taking over this week in videogame blogging, and listing some of the great writing that’s published this first full week of July.
There was a lot of writing this week that acted as retrospectives of older games:
- What Made System Shock So Special | Kotaku
Heather Alexandra made a video on System Shock series; what made the games and their successors special and their common weaknesses.
- The Sonic series’ high point is not a game | Polygon
Allegra Frank writes on the City Escape level of Sonic Adventure 2, and why its soundtrack is the highest point of the franchise.
- Things fall apart: Looking back at Resident Evil 5 | Eurogamer.net
Rich Stanton looks back at Resident Evil 5, and reexamines its place as a successor to what is arguably the greatest action horror game ever made.
- Leading the Pack: Lara Croft From ‘Tomb Raider’ | FemHype
Jay Castello writes a history of Lara Croft and her evolution as a character over two decades.
Teachings of the Past
Along with retrospectives came historical writings that give perspective into games and game design:
- Socrates the Gamer | Play The Past
Roger Travis writes on Socrates and describes the ways his education as a philosopher was heavily influenced by games and gaming.
- Why did ancient Egypt spend 3000 years playing a game nobody else liked? | Eurogamer.net
Christian Donlan writes on using games to better understand the social history of Egyptian society.
- What historical games can learn from Hamilton | ZAM
Robert Rath, in reviewing the hit musical Hamilton, argues how videogames’ meld of text, place and medium gives them strong potential as historical fiction.
Space and Design
Several articles were written about the design of virtual space and the balance between space, fiction and reality:
- Dreaming the infinite: how to build an impossible space | ZAM
Edward Bals describes three videogames that cross the boundaries of spatiality.
- Does VA-11 HALL-A capture the joy of a menial job well done? | Eurogamer.net
Kate Gray explores the absorbing tedium of bartender work in VA-11 HALL-A.
- VR Has Its Roots In Ancient Rome | Kotaku
Cecilia D’Anastasio connects virtual reality technology to the long history of manipulating perspective in western art history.
- Keep virtual reality weird | Polygon
Ben Kuchera argues that the power of virtual reality tech is in its strange aesthetic and fringe experiences.
Reactions and Experiences
- And Then There Was One: Inside and the Feeling of Human Connection | Not Your Mama’s Gamer
Samantha Blackmon writes on how Inside connected to her as a parent of young children.
- Appolinar | Mammon Machine: ZEAL
Rory Frances has a comic on ZEAL on the 1999 game Galerians.
- The Complicated Legacy of The Original Angry Video Game Nerd | Kotaku
Anthony McGlynn writes an extensive piece on the history of the Angry Video Game Nerd series and the mixed legacy it leaves behind.
- Easy Mode Ain’t Easy (When You’re Disabled) | Deorbital
Bec McKenzie calls for better accessibility options in mainstream games, and writes on the culture of shame around games and difficulty.
That’s all for this week! Please do keep sending in recommendations, they help a great deal. Critical Distance is a community-supported organisation, and as such we rely on your donations. If you’re able to spend a couple of dollars a month to keep us going, we would all appreciate it. Thank you!