Critical Distance Blogger of the Year 2019

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

We interrupt our regularly scheduled roundups and compilations to announce our Blogger of the Year for 2019–the author who we feel wrote the best stuff, or had the biggest impact, or simply made the most important contributions to critical games writing over the course of the closing year of the decade. Blogger of the Year is chosen through anonymous vote by the Critical Distance editorial/managerial board from a shortlist of candidates selected by the Senior Curator. This year we are proud to announce that our winner is:

Vicky Osterweil

Over the course of 2019 (and 2018 for that matter) Osterweil’s column at Real Life has been a treat. With a specific focus on the intersections between games and capitalism, the articles pull no punches and they always cut deep. Here’s a selection of her articles, each of which was previously featured in TWIVGB and several of which made it into our end-of-year review:

  • Well Played: Play Per View — Real Life 
    Vicky Osterweil discusses how games are uniquely suitable as a spectator sport, as well as the issues of labour and precarity that emerge out of streaming.
  • Well Played: Imagined Homeland — Real Life 
    Vicky Osterweil articulates how gaming communities have become the home base of fascist organization under capitalism.
  • Game Boys — Real Life 
    Vicky Osterweil positions gamer culture as an exclusionary-by-design pressure valve that keeps our larger hegemonic frameworks standing. This one’s a goddamn masterclass, people.
  • All Work and All Play — Real Life 
    Vicky Osterweil absolutely drop-kicks the mic and extends the conversation on labour in games beyond the limited (but still absolutely fucking necessary!) question of unionization.
  • Well Played: Store Credit — Real Life 
    Vicky Osterweil–God, how do I even summarize this one? Think Dyer-Witheford & dePeuter’s Games of Empire but with with an additional decade of hindsight, every intersection between culture and consumer-capitalism masterfully covered, and absolutely nothing held back. Osterweil is a goddamn gift.

As we close this announcement, we’d like to thank our readers for your continued participation, patience, and support. Your readership and support are what continue to power our project for over a decade and counting now. Here’s to a bright 2020 full of vital critiques on the games we love, the games we don’t, and the games we might have missed otherwise.


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