Welcome back, readers.

Before we get going, I’d just like to bring your attention to Connor’s latest video roundup! As always, the continuing support of our readers makes this work possible.

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

The Play’s the Thing

We open this week with a trio of authors reflecting on illness, mortality, and how those things tie into the games they’ve been playing. All three engage with heavier themes in the service of worthwhile reads.

“As a child, I appreciated the anti-authoritarian theatrics of the genre because I hated my parents, teachers, etc. As an adult woman with heart failure, I appreciate the idea of raining fire down on whatever manifestation of an inflexible, unalterable organizing force a game wants to throw at me.”

The Definite Article

Our next two selections this week investigate questions of authenticity over time, following games and communities that have waxed, waned, and shifted in form over the decades.

“There is a string that exists throughout each of the Final Fantasy versions that each player shares connections with. That string is tied around the aesthetic emotions that emerge from the arc of playing through all of the shared elements above and beyond them. While two players may come away from Final Fantasy with a completely different experience, they will also share a connection of understanding what Final Fantasy is to them with and without those differences. What creates the “essence” of Final Fantasy is their emotional journey through the game which emerges from its primary elements and the arc of play.”

Full Context

Up next, two authors talk in and around their subject games to pull at uncomfortable tensions around their production and implementation, as well as naming along the way some of the difficult questions critics must not turn away from.

Fortnite still doesn’t know what it wants to be, whether its game, or venue, or educational service, and this event makes that incredibly obvious. Epic Games desperately needs to sit down and figure that out. Just because you can do anything in the metaverse, doesn’t mean you should.”

Fresh Outlooks

Moving forward, here’s two deep, crunchy critical dives on games past and present.

“Outside of that very last sentence, video game analysis as it has existed (including my own) bears no resemblance to music theory. Rather, it takes after literary theory.”

Characteristic of the Form

Character analysis takes centre stage in our next pair of featured articles.

“While the duo explores The City of Tears in its perpetual downpour, one thing becomes unavoidably clear: the world itself is mourning. What’s worse, because it’s been so long, almost nobody left alive can grasp the totality of the loss. But in the Stag the world finds a mirror.”


Recent online discourse has centred around Boyfriend Dungeon–a game that shipped with content warnings, but which some players found inadequate, and Twelve Minutes–a game that did not ship with such warnings despite featuring some starkly harrowing content. The writers seeking to make sense of these currents have wrestled with questions about when art is lauded for its engagement with the uncomfortable and the grotesque, when art is pilloried for it, and the fault lines of privilege which demarcate those different outcomes. (Content notifications here for discussion of Twelve Minute’s plot twists, which involve incest/sexual abuse).

“Better trigger warnings (something Yang describes as “deeply imperfect stop-gaps”) isn’t the solution to this, so much as better communication and conversation around what it means to create and consume queer art. To recognise that queerness is messy and personal in ways that will always colour representation. And perhaps most importantly, to recognise that sometimes a game might just not be for you—even if you were quite excited by the prospect of smooching a hot non-binary scythe.”

Critical Chaser

Returning readers may have noticed that we frequently sign off with poetry from Videodame. The explanation for this is that I enjoy the poetry from Videodame.

“This city has always been loud,
but all this noise is new.”


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