June 21st

Welcome back, readers.

As a few writers I follow are noticing, it feels weird in some ways to be writing about (or, umm, writing about writing about) games in Twenty-Twenty-Current-Date. There’s lots of more important shit going on. Speaking of which, some links to get started:

My own weird feelings aside, the discourse keeps moving, and most often the most critical essential writing happening about this artform/hobby/medium we share a passion for is being done by queer/racialized/marginalized writers that deserve more recognition and more paid fucking work! If you know of cool writers of colour out there talking about games on small independent sites that haven’t come to our attention yet, use the #TWIVGB hashtag. If you’re a platform holder–especially a large platform with cash to burn–hashtag them and then commission or hire them!

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

Industry Revolution

We open this week with four authors with their fingers on the pulse of the industry along different axes, all identifying erasures, injustices, and wrongs, and projecting a path forward to a better future.

“I’ve wanted to write a piece celebrating Juneteenth in video games since the moment I got this job. (It’s true, ask Stephen). I originally envisioned this as a bloodthirsty take, focused on a list of games that allowed you to kill white supremacists. But as I wrote, I came to realize that a piece about Juneteenth should not in any way center our enemies, even if only by enthusing over all the cathartic ways we can virtually kill them.”

Games and Community

Two writers this week look at the communities that develop around games, joined by identity axes, by circumstance, by love of the game.

“A person’s room helps to give them context- it contains the parts of themselves they cannot put into words. It’s the items in the background of a photograph, the props hidden about a set. These things could go unnoticed, but to some of us, examination is enthralling. Through examination, we see both how a person wants to be seen, and how they see themselves, and I think that’s what’s so incredibly compelling to me about Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

Metacritical

Writing about games right now is… complicated, in a lot of ways, for a lot of reasons. Whether it’s the task of applying a contemporary critical lens of crisis to the work at hand, or the challenge of saying anything meaningful at all about games that are already taking up all of the air in the room, I never cease to be impressed with all the writers I know who thread that needle regularly. Here are three of this week’s highlights.

“We can’t just sweep this stuff under the rug because a game is good, or gave us an experience we like, as hard as it is to talk about in the first place. We need to push back against editors who tell us to minimize our mentions of labor exploitation or workplace misconduct or sexual harassment or any other part of the slew of horrid shit that happens to video game workers in this industry.”

Pre/Post-Mortem

To close out the week, three design-minded breakdowns of games diverse in genre, scope, and intent.

“Hard Lads recreates the lad’s exaggerated pre-game gestures like smoking a cigarette, swigging a bottle, and manly kissing. Each of these actions can be endlessly paused, repeated, interrupted, and failed. Smoking for too long can cause a coughing fit, liquor can be spilled wastefully onto the ground, and a manly fist bump of a kiss can turn into a really hot makeout session.”


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