Welcome back, readers.

I haven’t got much in the way of updates today, but before we get into the swing of things this week, let me take a moment to re-plug our annual year-in-review. There’s lots of great work in here, so give it a browse if you haven’t already!

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

Adventures in Genre

We’re bookending this issue with Zelda–you’ll see later–but this section more broadly explores and interrogates genre, key works of genre, and how our understanding of genre is complicated by our experiences with said key works.

“There are so many games that I’ve purchased and played that, on paper, I felt like I should love. Metroidvanias happen to populate the largest percentage of false positives that fall into this category.”

Positive Developments

Our next two selections this week centre developer perspectives on striving for and achieving better in readability and representation, respectively.

“By recruiting all Black artists and making the database free, Darke plans to create an anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and feminist approach to the portrayal of Black hair as well as a sense of unified ownership and investment in how the hairstyles are used.”

Nier to One Another

Two meditations this week on Nier, frendship, family, and fate.

Replicant’s Ending E ties all of Replicant and Automata’s defiant love together to show the importance of the people you care about when you’re up against a system you can’t control.”

Speak Your Mind

Next up, critical discussions of mentality both in and out of game worlds.

“Although I maintain that Hellblade is a sophisticated representation of a character experiencing a form of one what might call psychosis (Arciniegas, 2015), I also argue that challenges remain in representing specific mental disorders in videogames — a medium that, by definition, actively subverts distinctions between reality, fiction and personal agency.”

Space Exploration

We move now to a pair of spatial meditations, looking alternately at the familiar and mysterious.

“But how to describe, really, the way a stretch of wall recedes? the height of an archway? the situating of some windows relative to the floor? We could measure each of these things, perhaps saying this and that about proportionality and the human body as a metric; but even then we would, I think, find ourselves at a loss for what the total composition stirs in us.”

Building Character

Now, two pieces exploring how characters are written and conveyed to the player, and how they resonate with their games’ wider thematic structures.

“Leliana is so compelling to me not only because the very fact of being a queer person of faith is an underrepresented experience, but because it’s characterised by Dragon Age in a refreshingly sensitive, nuanced, and compassionate way. It doesn’t fall into tired tropes that represent faith as inherently queerphobic, it doesn’t depict Leliana rejected by a faith community or a religious family, and it even conveys her finding and navigating faith rather than losing it. These aspects of her are not in opposition, but irrevocably connected; it’s complicated, certainly, but faith offers genuine meaning and empowerment to Leliana.”

Critical Chaser

Told ya.

“Almost every woman you exchange more than four words with eventually admits she’s got a massive crush on you but her devotion to her duty means you can never truly be together, which only makes you more handsomely intriguing, and then gives you a beautiful jewel (the Zora’s Sapphire, the Silver Gauntlets, the Forest Medallion, a spirited mare) to remember her by. It’s the Pretty Pretty Princess game for non-threatening boys. “Everyone wants to date me! But they can’t! Everyone is pining for me at a safe distance and offering expensive in-kind donations!””


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