February 10th

Happy Sunday, readers!

Hmm.

So, in a colossally disingenuous display of both-sides-y dog-whistle journalism, some fifth-rate Gamer™ rag has apparently gathered enough recalled copies of Too Human to summon Beelzebub and try to re-awaken the Great Toxic Ones of games culture from the dreamless sea of man tears. I like to include links to topical stories in games from the past week to situate these roundups, but I couldn’t honestly be bothered here.

These are the death throes of gatekeepers in games culture. They and other edgelords trying to “elevate” a discourse that is already rife with so much interesting criticism and boundary-pushing are going noisily, but inevitably, into the dark.

Not on their own, of course–I don’t want to encourage complacency. They need to be pushed. So by all means, readers, stay vigilant and keep pushing them.

Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Dante Douglas’ comprehensively kickass Critical Compilation on Bioshock Infinite.

This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.

Access Codes

How can we make more games accessible for more people? It’s a simple question with innumerable angles to consider as we arrive at solutions small and large that bring us toward steadily less-imperfect options and design considerations for access. Three authors this week each focus on specific communities of players to mount their critiques and propose solutions.

“I am legally blind due to my albinism, so gaming has always come with a bit of extra difficulty. It’s actually harder to see many things in games now that everything runs at higher resolutions and fine details are being added into a game’s design. I always find ways to use the available systems to fix the settings and make it through the missions, but Red Dead Redemption 2 has been my toughest challenge to date.”

Jolly Cooperation

Whether you prefer single or multiplayer titles, games have a way of bringing us together. In some cases, as with the Souls series of games, this corresponds to faint whispers of hope against the darkness, little reminders that we are not alone in our struggles. On a more metatextual level, however, there is the grim spectre of surveillance and data collection, of which games are but one appendage of an unknowable beast with unquantifiable reach. Three authors this week discuss these questions with empathy and expertise.

“Navigating origami cities, collecting information for data webs, and spying on citizens without getting caught is fun. That’s what games are all about. But these games also make us reflect on how complicit and willing we are in giving our personal information away – for uses we’re not privy to, and to ends we might not like to imagine.”

The Ending Has Not yet Been Written

The ending of a story–and this of course includes stories in games–is a powerful thing, in that it catalyzes the moment where we take something from the story world with us, carrying it forth as we return to our own worlds. Endings are a time of reflection, of course-correction, of rebirth, and as such can be profoundly emotional experiences. Three authors this week come back from story worlds to share what they’ve learned.

Rakuen is about accepting the things we cannot change, while asserting that our little actions make a difference. By this I mean we should take time to grieve when we fail, but also know that our actions aren’t futile in the face of a cruel, uncaring world. We can care, and we can act.”

Barrier Skip

In a pair of articles, Gita Jackson looks at sites of disruption making space for more black representation in games and in play communities.

“While the black cosplay community is strong and thriving, even something like interpreting a character’s hair slightly differently than other fans can lead to racist abuse.”

Just for Fun

Apparently it’s Let’s-Screw-Around-With-Magic-Cards Week and I’m here for all of it.

“Although I have dated not one but two men who made me sit through many long games of Magic, I still don’t understand how Magic: The Gathering is played. What I do understand is how funny it is to send different bits of text through Google Translate, and then translating them back into English.”


Plugs

“By blurring the line between work and play, videogame production is asking for new workers to engage in a never-ending cycle of “doing what they love” in the hopes of building a new dwelling from the shack in which they are ensconced.”


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