January 19th

Welcome back readers.

New monthly vlog roundup! Go on and check it out; I’ll wait here.

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

Towards a Better Industry for Everyone

Each inclusion in this opening selection of pieces elaborates in some way on how the games industry (along both developmental and journalistic axes) continues to fail marginalized people, though Heather Alexandra’s article also gestures to some of the other issues/conversations in games that seem to be caught in a vicious cycle with incremental progress at best.

“Churn in games has always been a source of concern, but marginalized people burn out and leave the industry at a significantly faster rate than their colleagues”

Critical Space

Included here are three powerful meditations on spatiality, architecture, and exploration in relation to game worlds.

“All in all, Eastshade is the direction I wish The Elder Scrolls would have taken after Morrowind. In place of sanding away all the rough edges until all that’s left is the most marketable, accessible, and straightforward game possible, Eastshade embraces the strengths of the forays into the genre that came before: direct, dynamic interaction with characters, engagement with the world on a fundamental level, and diegetic systems that keep you immersed within that world.”

Queering the Present Moment

A pair of articles this week weigh in on the state of queer representation in games, looking not only at contemporary titles but also why queerness needs to be a present lived practice in the game narratives.

“Indie games are becoming more seen, but a celebration of smaller queer creators is still difficult to see in mainstream media. Regardless, it is more likely that triple-A games are playing catching up to indies, rather than vice versa.”

Let’s Play a Money-Making Game

Two pieces this week delve into critiques of the capitalistic frameworks that weave in and out of games and their broader contexts.

“We don’t need games. Certainly not in the form they take now. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have an effect on us. It doesn’t mean they’re not affecting.”

Text to World

Two articles this week situate games in their wider contexts, with examinations of both contemporaneous media forms and climate change.

“This is the world we live in, where not even video games can ignore the dangers of pollution and climate change. But Pokémon Sword and Shield also shows we can change course.”

Designing for Everyone

We’ve got a pair of pieces here that each discuss the challenges of designing games to be as inclusive as possible–whether by making sure everyone in a large LARPing party has something interesting to do, or incorporating accessibility considerations into interface design.

“if you rewind further back to 2018 and asked us game developers about accessibility, we would probably say, “Don’t worry, we have subtitles”. It’s not that we didn’t care, but most of us didn’t understand the other issues or grasp the scale of the problem in modern games.”

Critical Chaser

Did I wake up at the beginning of this week and say to myself, “I bet I’m going to have my cold, dead heart stirred by an article on Fortnite?” No, readers, I didn’t, but here we are.

“Video games are amazing, but it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of that when you’ve been surrounded by them for as long as I have. But seeing Gedas’s joy reminded me why I love them so much. The adventure. The experience. The pure joy of play.”


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