May 6th

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

The history of literature and politics blends with the history of games this week, as a number of critics examine games’ relationships to cultural works from across time. Meanwhile, God of War continues to inspire critical reflections, and developers are finding new ways to include gender diversity in their work. Let’s take a look at this week’s most insightful writing on games, in This Week in Videogame Blogging!

Criticism

Three pieces this week highlight alternative ways of writing about games.

“there’s a lot of fuss about StarCraft for AI research given the overall complexity of the problem space: it’s a multi-agent control problem with imperfect information (given the fog of war) and a large state space given the number of possible actions and world configurations”

God of War

People continue to talk about Kratos – this week, with more pointed criticism concerning his character depth.

“In the world of God of War all lives are not equal, some are more valuable than others. To kill a human is to take on a black mark onto one’s soul. To kill a beast is to be a conqueror.”

Precedence

Two pieces blend games with traditional literature in order to better understand their themes.

“The game’s vibrant panoramas are a close match to the work of J.M.W. Turner. Turner’s ethereal watercolors and oils both evoke some of the game’s vital contrasts. Much of his work plays off of the elemental opposition of hot and cold light—fire and ice.”

Context

Looking at how games play with political and historical context, two critics look at games that are overdetermined by things that came before them.

“We can understand the game’s title in terms of how Chloe and Nadine handle the legacy of their fathers with Shoreline and the Tusk of Ganesh, but we can also understand it in franchise terms: the legacy of the Uncharted series.”

Gender

Two critics look at how themes of gender inclusion are covered in recent titles.

“The cult seems to stem from a kind of Christianity that sees women both as the temptress who caused humanity to be expelled from the Garden of Eden and as subordinates to men.”


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