Trauma, abuse, hell, and postmodernism are just some of the stops on this week’s journey through critical writing on games. Yet somehow, it’s a fun ride, with high-quality prose, a wide range of voices, and clear takeaways for anyone creating things in connection with the world of games.

Story time

Two video essays this week applied theories of narrative structure to videogames.

Living in the shadow

This week saw four articles published on architecture and the history and politics of space. Includes slums, gentrification, and actual hell.

“There’s a sense of mockery that comes from living in the shadow of a sea of highrises. Glimpses of a more comfortable life can be seen through the tangled web of cables and exposed machinery that drape across the fractured pathways and catwalks.”

Something of value

Two writers look at attempts to represent minority issues in games.

“It wasn’t Cage’s intention to add something of value to racial discourse. He was primarily concerned with eliciting a reaction and, to achieve that goal, all you have to do is propose an idea.”

Nothing but human

Two critics investigate player interaction in games, relating it to 20th-century developments in creative practice.

“the true center of trauma is not the assailing event itself. Trauma is not that the unacceptable occurs but that our responses ourselves cannot be monstrous, that we must remain nothing but human.”


These two pieces both require a content warning for abuse (online bullying, sexual misconduct, etc.) as investigative pieces looking and the causes and possible solutions for community problems in games.


Critical Distance is community-supported. Our readers support us from as little as one dollar a month. Would you consider joining them?


Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!