Welcome back readers! Who’s ready for a bold and exciting 2019?


Okay, fair enough. We’re six days in and I’m already tired just thinking about all the things that could go wrong over the next 359 days. One thing I am excited about for the coming year is all the boundary-pushing writing happening in games crit right now. And what better way to start than with a whole pile of awesome articles on queer game studies?

Let’s keep hope alive. This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.

Game Studies .org Special Issue: Queerness and Video Games

So Game Studies .org just published a special issue all about queer game studies. Am I going to curate all twelve contributions? You’re damn right I am. The pieces on display here–all of them excellent–push and challenge game studies discourse in new and exciting ways, and I give the whole issue my highest recommendation. Do we have some kind of ribbon for that? We should.

“This is not simply a call for more queer game designers or queer programmers, but a call for the continued investigation and expansion of code, and those obfuscations that hinder queering this terrain, some of which are standard industrial practices designed to prevent tampering, to protect intellectual property, and to increase security and stability by blocking modification. Game engines are computational structures, and their underlying algorithms, like all algorithms, have a social dimension.”

Metacritical Score

The art of metacriticism weaves in and out of these four pieces as the authors reach beyond their objects of study to make sense of the state of games criticism, the floundering theses of generational franchises, and what the games we are fascinated with today say about the material hellscape we presently inhabit.

“In 2019, let’s take as a starting point that every conflict we wind up has a metagame, and that the rules of that metagame are often stacked against us.”

Materia Slots

Two authors this week set the materiality of games front-and-centre, to weigh in on the implications of portable gaming and the conundrum of preservation in a rapidly-obselescing, archive-unfriendly industry.

“The thing about handheld gaming is that the game stays with you even once you stop. There’s a constant ebb and flow of moments when you can play and can’t, and your mind tends to fill in the spaces you can’t with the echoes of when you could.”

Soulcial Searching

The world of 2018 2019 sort of sucks–okay it sucks pretty bad–and correspondingly more games writers are thinking about how we and the games we play fit in with everyone else trying to ride out the hellscape. This week’s five selections think through this question along axes of multiplayer, class, mentality, social media, and fandom.

“Finding an appropriate target for videogame violence is always fraught, but the superrich are about as good a human enemy as can be designed.”

Just for Fun

Since I took last week off, this week I’ve got two fun articles to make you smile.

“I let people know I was not predicting the future, but helping them choose their path. Whether in-character or out, I only offered small suggestions. Consider taking a trip; maybe try a new crafting class..”


  • Darkmoon Tomb – First Person Scholar 
    Robin Ford explores dysphoria and transmisogyny in Dark Souls, recuperating and reclaiming Gwyndolin in the process. In the interest of disclosure, I was the principal editor of this article.


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!