May 3rd

Welcome back, readers.

Some news from around the site. First off, we’ve opened a new call for Critical Compilations! As an alleged academic, I have long appreciated these features as invaluable research resources, so if you’re interested in pitching one on a game or series you love, please do!

We’ve also launched a public Discord! I think we’ve already re-litigated most of the obligatory cyclical arguments about The Discourse and cheese, so if you’re seeking community among other folks who are invested in the critical games writing community, come on in!

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

Play, Together

We open this week with three fine pieces, each about shared or social gaming experiences in one capacity or another.

“Our rhetoric and approach towards multiplayer gaming is now identifiably rooted in the sluggish rat race once found only in highly coordinated MMORPG raids. Now, more than ever, we need serene spaces of meditation mixed with challenging thoughtful gameplay, an act that brings us together instead of pushing us apart.”

Teachable Moments

In each of the four articles that follow, the authors identify failures in recent popular games–beloved ones, in fact–and examine those failures in the hopes that we might learn something valuable.

“krz is lauded as an anticapitalist work because of how its narrative explores themes of debt and ownership, exploitation and dehumanization. but it expresses these themes through historicizing, memorializing, and empathizing with unracialized figures like “the worker,” “the miner,” “the truck driver” (conway). it ignores the obscured but just as, if not more, thematically relevant and vital histories of Black chattel slavery and violence against indigenous people that not only continue to shape the modern world but also literally shaped the very caves in which the game’s characters are standing and talking.”

Characters, Studied

Gathered here are three crunchy character studies, persuasively guided by the personal experiences of the authors.

“No, Cloud isn’t trans, and he doesn’t ‘yas queen’ down gender barriers by smashing the binary or rocking the cistem. But he does challenge the norms of what it means to be a man in a video game, and characters who move the goalposts by inches can be more important than those who move them by miles.”

An Industry Thing

We’ve got three very good and very different selections this week that intersect with games as an industry and/or a journalistic practice. Check ’em out!

“Indiepocalypse is a narrative that, I believe, starts with the AAA industry and ends with you and me. Everything from what our shared understanding of what “good” and “bad” are to the kinds of games that ever see the light of day in the press do more to harm indies than any rising tide of games being made. Hopefully, by the end of this project, we’ll be able to show a path forward.”

Critical Chaser

Five pieces in the closing segment this week–alternately provocative, hilarious, awe-inspiring, and moving–because I said so.

“I’ve said pretty much all I care to about God of War (2018), and the whole franchise, being perfectly honest. But something I never get tired of is gassing up badass fictional women, so let’s go through some legendary ladies who definitely deserved a game of their own more than Sad Dad Kratos.”


Subscribe

Critical Distance is community-supported. Our readers support us from as little as one dollar a month. Would you consider joining them?

Contribute

Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!

Tags from the story
, , , ,