Welcome back readers.
We’ve got a compact and varied issue of the good stuff ready to go for you–please enjoy!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Let’s start this week off by looking at different kinds of connections–the connections we form with player characters, the connections we perceive between character, story, and theme.
- The Witcher 3 Is The Perfect Allegory For Otherness | TheGamer
Jo Rowan relates her autistic experience to the prejudice, misinformation, and ostracization that surrounds witchers.
- Sephonie – Indie Hell Zone
Dari traces the different layers with which Sephonie engages with interconnectedness.
“Much like how the connections the characters make with Sephonie transcends space, society for a time had to cultivate connections through long distance. Connections were frayed through distance and illness, but people tried their best to maintain something.”
Eurogamer just ran a whole week’s worth of articles on videogame cities, and I encourage you to go check ’em all out. These are merely the two that spoke most readily to me.
- The Video Game City Week: on the vivid authenticity of Midgar’s slums | Eurogamer.net
Nic Reuben examines the culture and context behind the bricolage of the Sector 7 slums.
- The Video Game City Week: Yakuza’s arcades are clean, oddly studious, and a delight | Eurogamer.net
Grace Curtis celebrates the dreamlike pleasure of Kamurocho’s arcades.
“There’s something a little perverse about sitting alone at home with your console plugged in, walking around simulated streets, and killing a few hours on a simulated device in a simulated room, playing at the experience that machine under your TV helped to kill.”
I’ve read a few times in a few places that on some level we need to let go of Silent Hill 2–that our two-decade love-affair with the game ultimately holds the survival horror genre back from breaking new ground. I suspect, however, that this is advice more intended for developers than it is for critics, and even then only if developers have already sat down with the game and listened to it speak in the first place. At any rate, a remake probably isn’t the way forward, either.
- Here’s Why Silent Hill Fans Really Don’t Like The Medium | TheGamer
Jade King compares The Medium unfavourably to Silent Hill 2 in how both games approach the trauma of their characters and weave it into their respective thematic tapestries (content here for discussion of the sexual abuse in the plot of The Medium).
- TANGENT ONE – RESTLESS DREAMS
Ed Smith ponders the against-convention, inverted relationship between the mental decline of Silent Hill 2‘s protagonist and the growing firepower of his weapon inventory.
“On the contrary, as his guns become more powerful, James as a character seems to pass by them going down the other way, his emotional and mental condition becoming assonantly, anti-confluentially weaker and more frayed.”
The Aggro Crag
This section is all about making sense of in-game enemies and their impact on play, world, and theme.
- Dark Souls’ Basilisks Are The Best-Worst FromSoftware Enemy | Kotaku
Ashley Bardhan reflects on her instructive time with one of Dark Souls’ more bullshit foes.
- Real Reality | Bullet Points Monthly
David Shimomura considers how the spirit denizens of Ghostwire: Tokyo have far greater thematic consequences beyond their gameplay role as enemies (and occasional shopkeeps).
“It is easy to strip agency from a being you do not consider even there. Tokyo was once the domain of those whose clothes now litter the streets. Few acknowledged the existence of something beyond the tangible. The few that did, like KK and his fellow investigator Rinko, fight to preserve a way of life, if not an entirely balanced one. Lack of acknowledgement is poor inoculation for that which seeks little else than to reclaim the city now that its keepers are reduced to floating blue bodies. But the truth is that it is not “our” or “their” city, it is and always was “all of ours.””
How about some poetry to take us out this week? Something a little more longform, a little heavy even?
- Making Better | Videodame
Rachel Tanner, Garden Story.
“Even now, in this hour,
as I am fading away back to
my beginnings, my spirit
rising above the library, two
grapey middle fingers raised high,
I need you to remember this:
I am a better fruit than you.“
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!