Welcome back, readers.

It’s another quiet week around the site in a distinctly unquiet world. If you’ve been feeling angry and powerless watching the catastrophic conclusion of the American Empire’s twenty-year fuckup in Afghanistan, this would be a good place to lend your material support.

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

Boyfriend Dungeon

Amidst a tide of angry discourse, it’s taken a couple of weeks for me to find salient perspectives on what to make of the fraught reactions Boyfriend Dungeon has sparked amongst certain player communities, but the salient perspectives always emerge in time. Here are two highlights for this week, taking a wider view of the histories and contexts that can feed particularly toxic fan discourses, and how it always seems to be queer creators who bear the brunt of the vitriol.

“If a game about queer characters is anything but completely clean and wholesome, some people see it as bad representation. Like, there’s a genuine problem with how queer people are presented in media like the tendency of having queer characters suffer, but sometimes people take it as far as saying that anything bad happening to a queer character – regardless of context or creator – is inherently problematic.”

Retrospective Perspectives

Our next section this week examines legacies and influence, be it the what-not-to-do lessons offered by Metroid: Other M or the complicated, messy, frustrating, but gradually positive-trending relationship between Mass Effect and queer representation.

“Changes and additions would likely not have come had it not been for fans advocating for representation, and those fights have led to Mass Effect becoming a more inclusive franchise, even if it has tripped in myriad ways to reach that point.”

Broad View

Okay, sometimes I get a little stumped on organization. By my own admission, these next two selections don’t have a ton in common–one’s about labour organization, and the other situates games at the intersection of a much wider array of material conditions and circumstances. Both, however, do zoom out beyond the headlines and titles of the moment to examine what games mean in a very material sense for labourers and players.

“I keep coming back to how we look at our bodies and ourselves. Maybe we want a little mutilation: maybe we want more videogames where the only violence we commit is finally against ourselves. We’ll joke that we wished videogames tackled more serious issues and then everyone’s writing scathing manifesto’s about a game that looks like a pixar cartoon for having a serious element as a plot point.”

Axes of Access

Our next two featured authors this week tackle accessibility questions in games past and present, both specifically and multiply, looking at the strides we’ve made so far and the progress we should push for in the future.

“Right now, the PC gaming experience feels unpredictable when it comes to accessibility. I can pick up a physically undemanding adventure game and find myself waylaid by flashing lights and tiny tiny text, or demo an upcoming action game and find incredibly comprehensive difficulty settings. The one thing consistent with most people I spoke to, however, was that awareness of accessibility in development has increased hugely in only a short amount of time.”

Story Worlds

History and lore come together in our next section as two authors tackle how different games and franchies build out their worlds.

“Maybe it is a nostalgia factor, or maybe it was being a pre-teen and feeling intertwined in this messy world, but The Sims 2 was the best installment for the stories it told alone. I would like to load into a new world in the 4th installment and be greeted by a screen with all of the neighborhood tea. I want to know each character and why they are important to the town without it feeling like a minor subplot.”

Finding the Sweet Spot

Our next slightly-loose category brings together questions about finding satisfying ways to play, whether it comes down to strategy, genre elements, or critical theming.

“It’s not hard then to understand why queer folk might delve deep into the genre. A queer body is also a constant site of conflict, pulled apart by a thousand forces so large that no one individual could ever fully confront them. A mech is big enough though.”

Mixed Media

Next up, we’ve got a pair of articles that situate games in relation to their literary and media antecedents and inspirations, looking at how genres, forms, and stories blend into one another, sometimes in knowing and subversive ways.

“It’s not impossible to make an effective horror anthology that’s enslaved to its own canon—the early seasons of American Horror Story are proof enough of that—but Resident Evil came into the concept with decades of baggage to carry around already. Good horror is about grappling with the unknown; the minute a Resident Evil game retreads its own history, the horror drains away.”

Critical Chaser

We begin and end this week with Boyfriend Dungeon. Enjoy!

“It should be noted that I’m not an expert in relationship advice or anything, but I am a Capricorn.”


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