Welcome back, readers.
Not much doing around the site to discuss this week, so we’ll get right to the heart of the matter with thirteen new cool and interesting critical works about games!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Our opening section this week looks at moments and patterns in the always-multiple, always-incomplete histories of games ad gaming.
- DISASTER PARADISE: at the Centre of the Miiverse | Unwinnable
Gwil Jones uses the Wii U and Miiverse to dig into the limits of preservation and history under the relentless forward march of capitalism.
- Gaming For Columbine | press.exe
Talen Lee dwells on the longstanding culture of guns, school shootings, moral panic, and ostracization that have served to make gaming spaces especially vulnerable to far-right radicalization.
- PAL retro games deserve to be preserved, respected, and re-released – Kimimi The Game-Eating She-Monster
Kimimi highlights the incompleteness of a gaming history that only remembers things in 60 Hz.
“Remember the NES’ utter dominance of the 8-bit era? Or the terrible video game crash 1983? I don’t and unless you’ve lived in America you don’t either; but you’ve no doubt been repeatedly told about the importance of these epochal events even though they are about as relevant to PAL gaming history as fierce playground arguments over the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga are to anyone reading this outside of Europe. This repeated belief that a retro collection’s complete so long as it includes both the US and Japanese versions of a title reduces the gaming history of all of Europe and many other countries (Korean and Brazilian localisations can involve anything from simple name changes to full sprite edits) to somebody else’s mildly interesting footnote, a pedantic aside to bring up before we all get back to discussing “what really happened”.”
Next up, world-building, myth-making, lore dives, and the symbolism that stitches it all together.
- I’ve Gone to the Lighthouse – GlitchOut
Oma Keeling unpacks the malleable symbolism behind the anachronistic, transitory lighthouse in BioShock, Dishonored, To the Moon, and more.
- Expedientes GF: la mitología, fantasmas y el sintoísmo en Fatal Frame | GamerFocus
Julián Ramírez delves into the Shinto cosmology and symbolism that guides Fatal Frame‘s worldbuilding (Spanish-language article).
- Genshin Impact Isn’t Subtle About Its Queerness | Kotaku
Sisi Jiang investigates queer romance and gender fluidity in the lore behind Genshin‘s major and minor characters.
- The Myth and Mystery of JETT: The Far Shore — Gamers with Glasses
Don Everhart examines mythmaking and worldbuilding in JETT: The Far Shore.
“I can appreciate how Superbrothers wants to tell a story about what happens when a guiding myth connects with the present. JETT’s detailed approach to science fiction is a good fit for that, and I appreciate how much time is spent on airlocks, protective suits, and the hazards of exploring a new world. The minutes spent moving in and out of ground control to the surface of the planet and into Mei’s Jett are evocative. These details allow for humanity in a story with a grand, cosmic scope. Myth, as usual, is the middleman, the interpretive layer between the two.”
Stories of and around Samus past and present build out our next segment.
- Metroid Dread: The Kotaku Review | Kotaku
Carolyn Petit thinks Metroid Dread is a pretty good time but wonders if the series has lost its spirit.
- SAMUS ARAN – DEEP HELL
Skeleton muses on the malleability of Metroid‘s main character, as much action figure as she is action hero.
- Stop Defending Corporations from Piracy, You Freaks – No Escape
Kaile Hultner offers a reminder to those who need it that Nintendo is not your friend and aren’t hurting for your dollar.
“Intellectual property and its enforcement, and not piracy of digital content, has made the internet less free and open, constrained creativity, caused the price of access to content to go up, created artificial obsolescence in physical products like the PS Vita, and even exacerbated a pandemic’s toll on the world. It does not need defending.”
Words of advice from seasoned experts on writing and building, games and worlds.
- Level Up Your Poetry: Video Games & Ekphrastic Verse | Sidequest
Katherine Quevedo shares theory and practical advice for crafting videogame-inspired verse.
- Mailbag: Macro to Micro Ideas – Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling
Emily Short offers detailed, descriptive, and densely-sourced advice on bringing project ideas into practical focus for writers and designers alike.
“Fundamentally, you want to create characters, story beats, and setting elements in relationship to the premise or idea you’ve started with.”
In our latest Critical Chaser, a forgotten game lives on, but the possibilities it once represented fade from view.
- Flowers for the Void Cow | itch.io
Cynan-Juniper Orton eulogizes a time when games like RuneScape evoked a wider horizon of possibility in game worlds. Part of the Forgotten Games Essay Jam.
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!