I’d appreciate it a bunch, friends and readers, if you can take a bit of time today to look up ways you can support and render aid to the Palestinian people currently suffering through ethnic cleansing, displacement, and colonial brutality at the hands of the IDF. Here is a good list of charities, orgs, and funds, some of them local.

Around the site, I’m pleased to share that we’ve got a new episode of Keywords in Play available, this time featuring Aaron Trammell. Take a listen if you haven’t already!

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

Communities of Play

Our opening section this week features two pieces focused in different ways on community, looking alterantely at personal play and broader industry structures and instruments.

“I understand the urge to look at the struggles of your own community and feel the need to advocate for them – I’ve done this many times myself, and throughout history these very focussed struggles have proven effective. But gaming needs to be more reflective.”

Zoom Lens

Next up, we’ve got four selections united by an emphasis on photography and the camera–on both sides of the screen.

“This is the part of Dear Future that lingers with me. Not the particulars of its mechanics, its design, the allegories it invokes and implies. I just remember what it feels like to hold the camera. To momentarily feel safe, a tourist. Chronicling everything.”

Spirit Willing

Here we’ve got two approaches to bodies and embodiment, as they relate to play, power, work, and rule.

“This is a game where not only are blue-collar workers treated as heroes, but the basic mechanics and environments are designed to encourage players to care about such laborers and what they go through in order to keep society going.”

Playing at History

Next up, we’ve got a substantial section this week centred around theories and approaches to history in games, as the authors seek to more clearly resolve some of the uncertain boundaries between histories, games, formal structures, and player experiences.

“In a way, we could say that replayability, in its essence, carries with it the posture of deconstruction, because it focuses the player’s attention on the rhetorical codes of video game culture, how stories and genres “work” with audiences; as mentioned, the overall effect is a push toward virtual history, where referenced historical materiality is reduced to semiotic code – or computer code, in our case!”


We move now from history to time itself as our next four featured authors look alternately at games made uncanny by the passage of time, games self-reflexive of their own legacies, and games which attempt the oft-uncertain business of reinvention for new audiences.

“It is a simulation of a simulated situation with all of the markers that gave meaning to the original simulation stripped away. Looked at now, nearly twenty years since any version of Hollywood Squares has been on television, its vapidity becomes a hollow, frightened thing. Nine haunted visages of a spectacle so comprehensively unreal that it is impossible to imagine it demanding, over and over again, to know if they are lying to you.”

Calibrating Crit

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is out and making the rounds. As a game with a lot of meaning to a lot of people, I imagine a good deal of critical re-evaluation is forthcoming. We saw the start of this process last week, and now two new quality pieces join the conversation this week.

“While they are nominally responsible to the galactic government, there is no situation where Shepard can fall out of favor or lose their standing. Because your violence is the state’s, everything is permitted.”

Critical Chaser

An empathetic letter to a beloved heroine sees us out this week.

“It’s easy to focus on the shock of your death when talking about your character. But, I think when we do so, we forget to mention why it was so shocking in the first place – because your personality shone so strong in life.”


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