Welcome back, readers.

Today we bring you, as always, a varied and veritable selection of cool and interesting critical writings on games. And thank you–I do not say this quite often enough I think–for your continued interest, readership, and support in this thing that we have done on the weekly for what has now been a conspicuous majority of the millenium-in-progress.

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

Representational Media

We open this week with two-positive-and-one-negative examples of recent, popular games getting representation right, along cultural, geographical, and identity axes.

“Why do games insist on always falling into parody in relation to extreme sports culture? Or is this what they really think these communities are like? Maybe they think it is funny (it isn’t), or maybe they think this approach is what people enjoy because it is what has always been there (it isn’t). I can’t imagine anyone enjoying what this game has to say or make you hear in regards to both dialogue and music.”

Power Structures

Next up, we’ve got a pair of pieces that elaborate upon how popular games and franchises reflect the structures of Empire and fascism, both thematically and structurally, wittingly and unwittingly.

“While the Gears are granted a simple nobility by fighting in a system that exploits them, those who want no part of that system are merely mocked. In the context of the whole series, though, it reinforces the franchise’s grand tragedy. There is no outside of the COG. That possibility died when the Locust emerged from the dead earth. Even the humanized stranded of later games, to whom Marcus reacts with more than just distant annoyance, are either assimilated into the COG or die. Humanity’s options are either oppression or death.”

Table Tops

Would you believe it, I just noticed that we didn’t already have a tag specific to tabletop. Anyway, one of these pieces is actually about a videogame with some of the aesthetic trappings and imaginative openness of tabletop, but bear with me.

“As I’ve discussed here before, collaboration and playing with or against the rules is something I love about games. In this game—in my cousin’s workshop, with stacks of multicolored Chessex dice on a custom table—the fun was playing the game, sure. But the fun was also the suggesting, the tweaking, the stumbling into questions that didn’t yet have answers and getting to be the one to answer them.”


A warm new puzzler is making waves and making the critical rounds. Here are two highlights on the topic from this week.

Unpacking is a strong exploration of playing through this normal and regular action that occurs in almost everyone’s lives and is largely taken for granted (or maybe even abandoned entirely – you know who you are). And with that status of trail-blazing it carves a path of least resistance through a narrative that while I feel could be more challenging, largely evokes a nostalgic, nuanced zest for building life.”

Halloween, Continued.

I don’t know about you, but I put together, like, two and a half different costumes this year. One month isn’t enough, so here are a few more horror and horror-adjacent highlights.

“It’s not the Zombies that keep me, personally, coming back to these early installments in the Resident Evil world. It’s the texture of the city and the people that inhabit it. Umbrella’s not just a spooky villain that slips it’s sinister hands into every innocent pie: they’ve managed to build the stage and run the play.”

Deep Delvings

While both of these pieces are historically-rooted pieces on games of some infamy or obscurity–or both–further than that, I cannot escape the feeling that they also belong together on some inscrutably spiritual level.

“In no time at all, Nihon Bussan found themselves not just saved from financial ruin, but thriving. People could not stay away from their game of simple sensuality. And answering the populace’s desires, smelling money in their blood, Nihon Bussan immediately shifted game development to almost exclusively adult games; in particular, mahjong.”

Critical Chaser

Levity and Poetry, together again and rounding out the ups. Enjoy.

“i tell you that she’s a queer icon and you
laugh because that’s what i say about
any videogame character i relate to but this
time i mean it this time the origami tulips
remind me of something but i’m not sure
what i’m never sure what these days
if i’m being completely honest”


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