May 24th

Welcome back, readers.

Hey! We’ve got a new TMIVGV, courtesy of Connor which you should check out! I happen to be mired in the depths of a very, very grindy game right now, so having some thoughtful games writing to listen to while I farm materials and try to remember why I’m still playing has been a comfort.

Ah, something else cool from around the web: the latest issue of Feminist Media Histories, which is on games histories, is currently available without a paywall. Absolutely check it out while you can!

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

If Found

There was a lot of awesome writing on a few rad new indie games this week, to the point where it made sense to give two of those games standalone categories in our roundup. We’re starting off with four perspectives on the visual novel If Found.

If Found is a game about the slow descent into a place without light- a place where pictures, stories, and people do not exist. But above all else, it is a game about reclaiming that light and our own agency. At several points within the game, it proclaims that names, genders, sexualities, bodies, and stories are our own to create, destroy, and inhabit. It asserts that our history does not define us, but rather exists so that we can use it to define ourselves. It reassures us that we, and the world, are constantly in motion- regardless of the forces that pull us.”

Umurangi Generation

Two powerful perspectives on the evocative game about art at the end of the world.

“It is harrowing to consider that the last generation may have been born already, that a group of kids who should absolutely have a fucking future may already be growing up in a world in which they assuredly don’t. Umurangi Generation forces you to consider exactly that.”

Legacy Software

These three authors are united by their retrospective looks at early examples in their respective genres/media, as well as by their intersections with adaptation.

“Is it campy? Yes. Shlocky? Absolutely. Does it diverge from how we typically think of the implied universe of Street Fighter? Sure, but it knows it and relishes in the difference. It’s a film that knows how to capture the attention of audiences who have little to no familiarity with the video game, yet makes full use of the vivid cast of characters that the franchise was well-known for.”

Systems of Meaning

Four pieces this week all relate in some way to the thematic tensions provoked by mechanical design, be they in games or the players themselves!

“Gun Hazard’s flagrant lack of concern with satisfying a standard checklist of mech-related tropes infuses the game with an electrifying frizz of wild possibilities – anything could happen without warning, and it often does.”

Studio Perspectives

We’ve got three inspired pieces this week profiling studios and companies involved in development, distribution, and localization of games big and small, popular and forgotten.

“John Hiles knew about SimCity. He also believed in the power of building mental models, and he saw something in SimCity that was missing from the simulation modeling work happening at Delta Logic: it was fun. It had an intuitive interface and friendly graphics. That was the missing ingredient. Hiles believed that if they teamed up – Maxis’s style with Delta Logic’s systems – they could create simulations that were fun and powerful.”

Emotive

A trio of quality readings on games and the feelings they leave behind.

Pathologic 2 is a performance without rehearsal. The game knows when you die and it marks it, even reprimands you. Deaths are not just mistakes and they are not false ends. Every death bruises you, changes your body. Every moment weaves itself into performance, into expression. The line between mistakes and perfection is thin. Thin as skin and blood.”

Critical Chaser

I am 30% more reassured that we’re gonna be alright after engaging with this Content.

“When I saw that the title for one of your earliest grotto quests is called “Third-Cave Feminism,” I guffawed and knew this was intentional. I knew I wasn’t playing as any old female shark; I was playing as an intersectional feminist female shark. I was playing as Miss Shark.”


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