August 26th

It’s been a good week for topics that definitely deserve more attention – I was excited to read pieces that pick up on how the movement of the player-character’s body intrinsically affects the narrative meaning of a game, and also gratified to see criticism of redemption arcs in dad games. There’s also incredibly insightful work being done on the context of criticism and game development, and the role of hindsight when reviewing re-released or updated games. This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.

Designers and Auteurs

In writing about criticism, two pieces provide extremely useful background on how games are talked about.

Bodies

This week it struck me how strange it is that so little is said about the bodies of videogame protagonists, after two pieces expertly highlighted the way the body’s movements convey narrative meaning.

“At points throughout the game, the drifter will hemorrhage blood when health is low, leaving behind red tracks that remind players of death’s unbroken pursuit.”

Places

Two pieces highlight factors making it remarkably difficult to improve videogames’ workspaces.

Redemption

Two writers picked up on the problems with a particular gendered narrative trope that has received relatively little focused attention in the dad-game boom.

“redemption is shown to be a process of the rehabilitation of a man through his labour and industry, into a viable patriarch capable of disciplining and controlling the sexual lives of his wife and daughter”

Replays

Two critics look at how recent updates and iterations on games that have been loved for years prompt a reexamination of how they achieve their effects on the player.

“By leaving so much of Dark Souls dim, the remastering artists emphasize that the game’s many mysteries were never really meant to be solved.”


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