Another month has passed on the Gregorian calendar, sending with it another 31 days in which people continued to upload videos about videogames to the internet. Some of these videos have ended up in this list, here, below, curated by yours truly, sometimes on the back of recommendations from you, readers, via email or twitter or discord. Speaking of calendars, this October marks two years since my first TMIVGV roundup for this site. Happy anniversary to me! Thank you to every reader, with extra special thanks to all our Patreon supporters who make this work possible.
This Month In Videogame Vlogging highlights the most compelling critical videos about videogames from the previous calendar month.
Let’s start with two cool essays looking at how alternative history games reaffirm status quo power structures.
Humankind: Fun Game. Flawed Genre – Spice8Rack (46:48)
Spice8Rack cites historical materialism to argue that 4X strategy games inherently perpetuate deterministic imperialist assumptions. (Autocaptions) [Embedded advertising]
Crusader Kings III Makes a Great Case for Family Abolition – Huntress X Thompson (32:02)
Huntress X Thompson argues that the deep entanglement of systems of (heteronormative) family units with the concentration of private property are exposed by the non-impact of queerness on these structures in Crusader Kings III. (Autocaptions)
Let Us Now Consider Contentious Sequels
This October there was seemingly a lot of ‘content’ discussing or analysing mixed-reception sequels. I don’t know why! But I’m here for it.
The Inside Story of Mass Effect 3’s Endings, Finally Told – People Make Games (28:24)
Using interviews with former Bioware employees, Chris Bratt retells the story of concentrated and toxic backlash to the endings of Mass Effect 3, and how it (and decisions made in response to it) impacted the lives of development staff. (Autocaptions)
I Do Not Understand Hotline Miami 2 – Jacob Geller (37:42)
Jacob Geller is flummoxed by the task of trying to make sense of Hotline Miami 2. (Manual captions) [Embedded advertising] [Note: brief discussion of Hotline Miami 2’s depiction of sexual assault]
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst: 5 Years Later – Whitelight (1:09:17)
Whitelight considers the problems for fiction building and player immersion inherent in Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst’s prioritisation of beauty over practicality. (Autocaptions) [Embedded advertising]
FEAR 3: AFTERMATH – A Developer Interview Documentary – Dead Domain (1:22:16)
Dead Domain presents an oral history of the development cycle of F.E.A.R. 3, in which several staffers recall design decisions, corporate interference, celebrity writing credits, crunch and burnout. (Autocaptions)
As it does every year, October means playing horror games and/or thinking about horror games, be they old favourites or hidden gems.
The Lost Themes of Silent Hill (Eastern Analysis) – AesirAesthetics (29:59)
AesirAesthetics explores the thematic representation of Shinto ‘kegare’ (corruption caused by crossing boundaries) in the Silent Hill series. (Manual captions)
Capcom’s Forgotten Horror Masterpiece – eurothug4000 (16:36)
Maria compares Haunting Ground (2005) to elements of ‘slasher’ and ‘giallo’ genre films. (Manual captions)
Dark Dreams RHN | Tiny Terrors – Soft & Hollow (10:05)
Once again for spooky month, Soft & Hollow produced a generous batch of concise crits spotlighting indie horror games. In this one, they ponder the role of difficulty on the player experience in free art-horror title Dark Dreams RHN. (Manual captions)
The Greatest Forgotten Horror RPG – Hazel (24:53)
Hazel remembers the affecting and ahead-of-its-time RPG-maker title Kinder (and its remake Re: Kinder). (Autocaptions) [Note: mentions of child-violence and suicide]
Talking About Talking About Videogames
Processes of criticism, classification and myth-making are all under the spotlight in this last subheading for October 2021.
Reviewer Brain | A Helpful Guide for Mutual Video Essayists (and ourselves) – Transparency (19:06)
Transparency mull over the compulsions for video essayists to interrupt critical analysis with (unnecessary, they argue) caveats about whether the game is “good”. (Manual captions)
ACTION BUTTON REVIEWS Cyberpunk 2077 – Action Button (1:06:26)
Tim Rogers introduces his (season finale) Review Event Spectacular: a choose-your-own-adventure playlist of Cyberpunk 2077 essays to mirror the game’s branching story paths. (No captions) [Note: contains (unpaid??) hardware endorsements]
Won’t Someone Think of the Children?! Why Australia Bans Games – SIFTER (58:51)
Gianni di Giovanni chats with Jini Maxwell, Chad Toprak and Arieh Offman about the pitfalls and impacts of Australia’s strict and costly game classification system. (Autocaptions)
Diablo II and “Value” – CSL (16:50)
Chuck Sebian-Lander compares the transient enjoyment of acquiring Diablo II loot with social media metrics and perceived-value grifts such as NFTs. (Manual captions)
Gaming’s oldest urban legend is Atari’s fault – Polygon (7:00)
Jenna Stoeber notes that while the endearing myth of mind-controlling arcade machine Polybius is, well, a myth, certain elements of the story did have similarities/coincidences with more verifiable elements of Atari’s history. (Manual captions)