Welcome back readers.

We’ve got another smol issue lined up for you this week, as a treat, collecting work on queer masculinities, ruins, platforms, art trends, and more.

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

Guys Bein’ Dudes

We’re starting this week’s issue off with a collection of pieces about queer masculinities, bringing together both designer and critic perspectives.

“I argue that sexy lumberjacking is about stoking / stroking the Wood Age, a nostalgic gesture to split off some aspect of Americanness that we can still tolerate. But this too is rotten wood.”

Ruminations on Ruin

Next up, we’ve got two pieces making sense of two new games that centre around abandoned urban spaces, be it the run-down ruins in Kirby and the Forgotten Land or the more recent rapturing in Ghostwire: Tokyo.

“Buried beneath layers of concrete is everything from temples, shrines, and houses, to entire cemeteries, tombs, and burial mounds. Centuries of human history hide just under our feet and—would you look at that—some just happen to be situated in prime development real estate. So, what do you do when history is getting in the way of progress? The same thing you do to the homeless and impoverished: move them somewhere else. After all, the dead can’t speak. Out of sight, out of mind.”

Mobile Meditations

Mobile games have historically been underrepresented in critical spaces, so it’s great to see Flora Eloise examining NieR Reincarnation in such detail here. At the same time, the proliferation of handheld-PC platforms suggests an ongoing blurring of boundaries between these historical platform categories with valuable takeaways for developers and critics alike.

“The suggestion that the NieR franchise could successfully translate into the mobile gaming medium felt dubious at best when announced. After several dozen hours with the game, I think those concerns were validated by the precarious balance that the game strikes between free-to-play mechanics and a gacha economy on one hand with the desire to tell an artistic, philosophical, meaningful story on the other. NieR Reincarnation does not always succeed in this balance, but it never blatantly failed hard or long enough to spurn my enthusiasm for this title.”

Win Condition

A loose section by my own admission, here we’ve got a pair of cool pieces examining genre, art trends, and different understandings of progression and motivation.

“It has been a long time since I heard the joke “What the fuck is this game? Drugs??” directed at my work. Maybe it’s the pandemic and because I stopped being around people entirely… but I feel like maybe (more likely) the weirdo’s have won and we don’t need an answer for “what the fuck” this is anymore. It’s enough to just enjoy the trip.”

Critical Chaser

Something I’ve come to appreciate about Skeleton’s yearlong ELDEN project is how it continues to reorient my feelings as it moves away in time from my own experience with the game.

“These great figures offer me no satisfaction. When they die, they never bleed, they never sit and breathe their last breath and let me drive my knife deeper into their heart or belly. I never feel the bones snap and crunch. Vanish into the ether, Margit, you coward, and know that if by some circumstance we ever cross paths again not even your status as tarnished will keep me from killing you. If you were to leave a message for others, tell them there is only a future full of blood.”


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