Welcome back, readers.

I spent time last week and this week trying to think through how to draw a thread between critical games discourse and the now-worldwide protests against anti-Black police violence/brutality/murder–of George Floyd, of many, many other victims of the systemic racism rooted in the very core of western civilization, be it in the United States, my own Canada, or elsewhere. Trying to figure out how to rhetorically justify expressing my disgust on this games crit platform for militarized and state-sanctioned police power being brought lethally to bear on black and brown bodies time and again.

And maybe, oh maybe, that was fucking stupid? Like of course there are connections, but also, does that disgust need a rhetorical justification?

Racist police brutality is fucking disgusting.

And so this time I begin with some links.

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

Power and Privilege

Our opening segment this week collects four authors writing in different ways about how the games industry–be it developmental, academic, or journalistic spheres therein–works to insulate itself from meaningful change and maintain an oppressive status quo–status quo being white masculine supremacy.

“How can I trust that Activision Blizzard supports these protests when Blizzard suspended players for speaking out about the protests in Hong Kong last year, where protesters were also beaten by the cops? How am I supposed to believe EA is delaying its Madden announcement because it cares about Black lives, when it censored Kapernick’s name in a song in their last game? I am happy to see and hear the solidarity. But the games industry has to clean its own house too, and admit that it is part of the problem.”

Be Gay, Do Revolution

We’ve got two pieces this week, both with a focus on the developer side of things, looking at how queer games get made, past, present, future.

“Hong Kong is its own character in the story, and one of increased importance given the current political landscape. However, Michelle and Sam tell a powerful story on their own, and represent queer narratives often ignored in fiction.”

Contemporary Waking Nightmares

We close out the week with two meditative reflections on games which themselves reflect the uniquely contemporary anxieties of this generation.

“The Prince is a beacon of and for our times. Not only is he atoning for sins of the previous generation by constantly cleaning up someone else’s mess (the King of All Cosmos, who is a pretty terrible father), he’s caught up in the gig economy. What nightmare-scape does this world exist in if even royalty is caught up in the gig economy? I didn’t think that was supposed to happen to rich people.”

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