In this week’s roundup, there are some fascinating questions about how and why to look at games critically, as well as writing on accessibility, narrative, and interactive systems!
This week brought us three pieces that highlight the importance and variety of critical perspectives on games.
- Help us bring back Deorbital! – Deorbital
amr al-aaser has started a promising push to share more diverse perspectives on God of War and on games in general.
- The Reviewer and The Critic | ZAM – The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information
Eron Rauch relates art criticism to food criticism to better understand the complex exchange between criticism and reviews.
- Student expectations, course marketing, and the invisible labour of game development. | Brendan Keogh
Brendan Keogh outlines the challenges that come with teaching students the skills needed to work in a field with few jobs, in an industry about which students usually have almost no knowledge.
“Game dev students often need to have their mindsets forcibly shifted from being players to being developers.”
Humility, limitations, and compromise
Three critics examine the expressive power of interactive systems.
- A Father Presses, A Son Acts: A Kratos-centric Model of God of War’s Universe
/??m/ critiques the way that, through player actions, Atreus is instrumentalized as an extension of Kratos’s will.
- Games Like ‘BattleTech’ Are Slow For a Reason – Waypoint
Bruno Dias highlights the benefits of enjoying the process, rather than being only focused on the outcome, when it comes to fighting mechs.
- How a Brutally Tough Mission Leaves Me Grateful for Punishment – Waypoint
Rob Zacny makes the case for a pyrrhic victory in a difficult game.
“I don’t fully agree with Austin that Smithon is hell, because there is something deeply redemptive about the experience. It’s a painful lesson in humility, limitations, and compromise that will serve you well for the rest of the BattleTech campaign.”
Changing the tone
In two pieces, interactive systems that specifically alter the way we experience dialog text are brought to light.
- Opened World: Kentucky Route Zero Act III – Haywire Magazine
Miguel Penabella unpicks in detail the effects of Cardboard Computer’s unique approach to interactive dialogue.
- Mailbag: Applying Filters to Character Dialogue | Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling
Emily Short highlights a technical method in videogame narrative that I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere – filter effects that change the tone or delivery of text!
Two critics look at how accessibility is affected and represented by games.
- killing a goldfish: magical capitalism
Jesse Mason articulates some of the problems rooted in capitalist structures of production that blight Magic the Gathering.
- ‘Frostpunk’ Treats People With Disabilities As Complex Humans, Not Gimmicks – Waypoint
Kevin Snow gestures towards videogame worldbuilding informed by disability activism.
“I want a scenario where the explicit goal is to build a frozen utopia of automated physical labor and palliative care. I want story events where civilians reject prosthetic limbs, where they break and malfunction, where their experiences with illness and disability are as disparate as our own. I want complexities.”
A lovely little piece on videogame architecture also stood out this week.
- Brick By Brick / Real-world Analogs for Dark Souls 3?s Architecture
Focusing on imagery rather than words, Doshmanziari locates the architecture of Dark Souls in its European influences.
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!