Welcome back, readers.
As far as topical stuff goes, well, the Blizzard mess keeps trundling along, and I have no doubt that words on this matter will feature in future roundups. Not just yet though–the story still presents a moving target and it’s hard to find writing as of yet that will have much of a shelf life.
Also, keep the video submissions coming! We’ve got a plan to do more with them going forward.
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Towards Better Representation
It’s a fantastic week for writing that reflects on inclusivity and representation in games. Here are four of the week’s best.
- There’s Something About You: Playersexuality And Halfway Representation – Haywire Magazine
James McCoull pries open the limitations of queer romance in games.
- Fear, Anxiety and Hope: What It Means to Be a Minority in Gaming – The New York Times
Mihir Zaveri talks to six marginalized developers about the struggle to make space, make games, and be seen and heard in an all-too-exclusionary industry.
- Minorities In Game Development Still Don’t Have The Support They Need | Kotaku
Gita Jackson takes stock of the culture of gatekeeping and marginalization that continues to plague game dev.
- Overhead Storage – Exploitation of Queer Trauma in Indie Games (Part II)| RE:BIND
Emily Rose, in this second part of a series, explores the permutations and limitations of queer representation in contemporary indie games.
“Throughout a large swath of media, too frequently are the arcs of these characters subsumed by their trauma. While pain is definitely an element of the human condition, it does not define who we are; LGBTQ+ folks live rich and fufilling lives, and we have many things to share about ourselves outside of the pain we find visited upon us.”
Jank to the Past
Two popular narratives in gaming history are preservation and nostalgia, and they definitely inform and influence one another. What about the off-beat games of yesteryear, the bold experiments that didn’t quite land? Two authors this week discuss jank in games past and present.
- Even the Mediocre | Unwinnable
Jeremy Signor implores we spare a thought for weird, wonderful, and janky games in the conversation on preservation.
- Spyro the Dragon and the Search for the Perfect Reboot | Fanbyte
Blake P celebrates all of Spyro’s weird, janky mutations and permutations that brought the character to where he is today.
“It felt like someone had covered Spyro in varnish and set him on a shelf in an Apple store. I missed the jankiness of the classic Playstation graphics mixed with the weirdness of a skateboarding purple dragon.”
Our curation of inspired articles on Halloween-themed games continues this week with two more entries.
- October Spookfest: Trick and Treat | Unwinnable
Gingy Gibson explores a spooky indie endeavour with a bit of jank and a lot of heart.
- Symphony of the Night vs BOOKS – Kimimi The Game-Eating She-Monster
Kimimi delves deeply into the haphazard nomenclature of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night‘s extensive bestiary.
“Symphony of the Night is famous for being a game all about those nice little touches and as such I thought it’d be fun to crudely mash together two of my favourite hobbies – videogames and weird old books – and cast a Spengler-like eye over some of Castlevania’s most horrifically beautiful pixelled beasts, evaluating them on their two most important attributes: How impressive they look in the game, and how closely these appearances stick to traditional sources.”
Two articles this week take aim at grand narratives in games and games discourse–be it forever games like the battle royale, or the sorts of overarching narratives that emerge in the discourse like games-as-art.
- Sexy Fortnite? Gamers Are Making Horny Battle Royale Games | Daily Dot
Ana Valens examines the state of thirst in the Forever Game genre
- Gamasutra: Sophia Gardner’s Blog – All the discussions about the artistic nature of videogames overlook these three crucial aspects
Sophia Gardner examines the critical limitations of games-as-art discourse.
“No distinction is ever made between big titles that are created solely for the purpose of mass entertainment and independent “art games” that are made primarily for artistic expression, not even to amass modest revenue.”
We’ve got four great pieces this week about shared play experiences–shared with friends, with family, with let’s players.
- Laura K Plays 15: Let’s Plays – ZEAL – Medium
Laura Knetzger walks through the games she’s watched or shared through let’s plays.
- How To Break Up With Your Online Gaming Friends | Kotaku
Cecilia D’Anastasio offers some life advice for cutting toxicity out of your playtime.
- Gamer Mom: Parenting Lessons I Learned From God of War | Sidequest
Wendy Browne offers some thoughts on Kratos’ Dadliness.
- My nan taught me how to play Baldur’s Gate • Eurogamer.net
Imogen Beckhelling recounts family bonding via the couch-co-op of Dark Alliance 2.
“The beauty of so many games released around that time was the couch co-op. Baldur’s Gate was the sort of multiplayer where both players ran around on the same screen; I can’t imagine the patience my nan must’ve had watching me drag the screen around as I wandered into hordes of enemies.”
I will not make a food pun, I will not make a food pun, I will not make a food pun.
- Cooking With Grammeowster Chef from Monster Hunter World: Iceborne | Fanbyte
Kristina Manente helps fellow Monster Hunters tackle the most dangerous hunt of all: the hunt for Flavour.
“From watching the cutscene about 74 times and examining the ingredients in the game itself, I’ve devised a meal containing the following: pot roast, potato au gratin, cream of mushroom soup, sausages, cheese, bread, and ale.”
- Help Save the RE:BIND Crew
The fine folks at RE:BIND need some help keeping the lights on. I can’t think of another place around the web that’s doing artful criticism on overlooked indies in quite the same magical way, so help them out if you can. There’s a reason they show up in the roundups every week!
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!