This week’s writing on games picks up on gendered dynamics, dad games, and religion. Settle in for another roundup of This Week in Videogame Blogging.
In writing on games and history, we have on piece on how to keep games from the past accessible in the future, and one on how a game portrays a historical context.
- Video Game Preservation Beyond The Law – Timber Owls
lillyaensland picks up on some thorny issues around videogame piracy, emulation, and censorship.
- How Realistic is Yakuza 6? Behind Japan’s Long History of Crime Syndicates | USgamer
Reid McCarter contextualizes the Yakuza games in the political and economic history of postwar Japan.
“As its title makes clear, Yakuza 6 encapsulates an entire series of games about those on the margins of society finding new avenues of personal meaning through the creation of ad hoc families”
“Don’t become like them”
Some surprising analyses of gendered dynamics in games came out in two pieces this week.
- IS SONIC 2 ABOUT CAPITALISM??!??!? | SERIOUS LORE ANALYSIS 3 – YouTube
Hbomberguy is haunted by a terrifying shadow creature, and forced to confront the necessity for self-criticism as the foundation of effective media critique.
- ‘Reigns: Her Majesty’: an exercise in strategy, female ambition, and the long game | Rhizome
Celine Katzman argues that this mobile Queen simulator, written by Leigh Alexander, explores not just the enjoyment of women’s empowerment, but also the failings of a feminism that focuses on individual empowerment.
“As in life, the player is capable of a range of emotional responses to instances of microaggressions and outright sexism that resonate deeply with contemporary realities despite taking place in a medieval context.”
God of War
The portrayal of a father-son relationship in the latest God of War game continues to inspire critical reflections.
- Atreus: God of War’s Strongest Asset – YouTube
Hamish Black explores the portrayal of a child’s emotional intelligence and innocence, and highlights how this advances dialogue and plot.
- The Misadventures Of Playing God Of War With My Dad | Kotaku
Narelle Ho Sang reads the Dadgame redeption narrative from the perspective of someone relating to their own father in old age.
“No, my father isn’t the blood-obsessed murdering machine of yore. Nor am I an Atreus—a child who doesn’t understand her father.”
“Your thoughts will become nothing but theirs”
Two critics looked at storytelling in videogames in dialogue with American culture and traditions.
- Far Cry 5 Offers No Insight into Christian Fundamentalism :: Games :: Features :: Far Cry 5 :: Paste
Holly Green continues a critique of the latest Far Cry game’s portrayal of American rural cultures, focusing this time on its poor portrayal of the real problems that exist in fundamentalist Christian sects.
- Far From Noise and the value – and dangers – of loneliness • Eurogamer.net
Emad Ahmed explores the literary influences and philosophy of a surreal conversation-based game.
“If you constantly surround yourself with others, your thoughts will become nothing but theirs,” says the deer at one point. The influence of Emerson becomes unequivocal here, telling us to be self-reliant and independent.
Two writers report on new ways that people have started negotiating for better material conditions.
- Workers of the Videogames, Unite! | Matajuegos
David T. Marchand recounts the labor movement activities that sprang up around GDC this year.
- Sea of Thieves fans are setting their own rules in the pirate sandbox – Polygon
Cass Marshall reports on some emergent gameplay dynamics in the big online pirate game.
“Players have critiqued Rare for creating an empty sandbox, but the community that’s fallen in love with Sea of Thieves has found its own ways to communicate. Many of these rules and challenges are much more interesting than anything Rare might have thought up themselves.”
- Watch: Inside IMOGAP, one of the world’s largest game collections | ZAM – The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information
ZAM published another of the short films that I made on my trip down the West Coast of North America last year – this one is about a small museum of play that includes board games, crafting, and tabletop RPGs.
- Heterotopias 004 by Heterotopias
A new issue of this landmark independent magazine has come out.
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!