Welcome back, readers.

Before we delve into this week’s textual selection of critical offerings, Connor has returned with this month’s audio-visual anthology for those who appreciate their crit served with a play button, and this month’s issue is a doozy, so be sure to check it out!

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

Not Funging Taking this Shit

Okay, I will confess to being a little irritated that I have just had to go and create a tag for NFT-centric articles featured on this website, but that is not the fault of either of the authors featured below, who have instead contributed admirably to a growing body of work pushing back against this destructive crypto-flavoured fad.

“Very few people are making money in NFTs. Most of the people putting money in are losing it, and the most reliable way to make money is to take as much money as you can and run before people figure out you’re a fraud. That’s not a way to create a sustainable business model.”

Choice Selections

Our next pair of pieces this week unpack choices and consequences in games decades apart.

“It’s a gleefully didactic work. The game assigns moral agency to babies in the womb so that it can tell you you’re bad for deciding to be a difficult pregnancy. It always allows you to pick your mood and your actions separately, although usually it won’t let you pick something that it thinks doesn’t make sense. When it does let you mix and match, what this amounts to is a chance for Peter J. Favaro, PhD to police your very emotions”

Now Free up to Level 60 Including the Award-Winning Expa-

Two cool articles out this week on Final Fantasy XIV, reflecting on its storytelling, community, and culture.

“It takes a lot of guts to say out loud these long-worn patterns of online behaviour aren’t acceptable, to listen to people say “Well I’ll go somewhere else then!” and wave them off instead of rushing to appease a vocal and outraged segment of the existing fanbase. But it’s so so important they do.”

Time and Perspective

Okay, loosely-associated section alert. These next two pieces dwell on games (or their subjects) taken out of their time, and the experience–be it jarring, offensive, ethereal, or magical–of approaching them with a contemporary perspective.

“Maybe you’re reading this and thinking that, outside of the top three titles, two of whom are borderline identical and one of which is probably among the most resilient and  popular indie games ever made, BYOND is dead. It’s not. I’m not a mortician or an archaeologist. BYOND is very much alive: games are still being made. People still post on its antiquated forum and, more than anything else, this obscure engine for multiplayer games from the 90s is still up and running.”

User ID

Next up, two pieces about the games we play to feel seen, to explore identity, to awaken ourselves to new possibilities.

“Sure, Bonehilda, cowplants and vampires weren’t real, but having a career, cooking mac-and-cheese and paying bills were. Maybe queer sex and LGBTQ+ relationships were too?”

Engrossing Play

Two meditations this week on games that pull us in, for better and for worse, amid their wider contexts.

“There is a difference between physical violence and spiritual violence. Religion can justify targets of violence, but Spirituality is a quality of violence itself. In the States, it has its grasp on everything. Marvel movies have military funding, video games have it too. Everything is yelling at you, “go out there and kill!” You don’t have to listen to that voice, but it’s always reminding you the option is on the table.”

Critical Chaser

A bit of genuine warmth for the road.

“I didn’t know what it meant, really, to have a best friend, to be close to someone outside my own family. I enjoyed the intimacy I was able to share with Adam, filtered as it was through a layer of edgy brutality; the metal and machismo of first-person shooters.”


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