Welcome back readers.

Thanks for your patience while I took an extra day with this week’s issue to make sure I was happy with it. A weird spectral echo of E3 is still going on this past week, and if you’ve been feeling humdrum about too many shoot games or space horror games or what-have-you, allow me to segue very smoothly and authentically into plugging that Queer Games Bundle still on Itch for the next little bit, as well as extend an ongoing invitation to tag any critical responses you have to any of those games with the #TWIVGB hashtag so I can read them.

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

It Stands for EEEEEEEEE

In the spirit of the Not-E3 that has been hesitatingly drip-fed through livestreams over the past week, we’re opening this week’s issue with a variety of industry-minded reflections, conversations, and critiques.

“Over and over and over, the games industries have been, like most things run by entertainment giants – financially risk heavy (falling on the workers), socially conservative, labour intensive and generally reactionary, doubling back constantly in attempts to protect interests, earn funding and find the thing that you will put a thousand hours of your time (money) into. A showcase like ‘Day of the Devs’ doesn’t exist outside of that dynamic, it’s just the part of it that’s aimed at ‘gamers like us’.”

House and Village

Next up, a pair of perspectives on spaces and places in games, the values they convey, and the design intentions they reflect.

  • ihobo: The Beautiful Closed World of Shenmue III
    Chris Bateman contrasts the Shenmue series’ world design with the more ubiquitous open-world format to get at what the former is really all about, narratively and experientially.
    Sam Moore considers the reverberations and reflections between developing characters and transforming settings in games like Control and Returnal.

“It’s these points of tension – between the physical and psychological; past and present; home and what lies beyond it – that animate both the characters and the shifting worlds that they inhabit. By taking root in uncertain places, like how much of Selene’s life she can remember, and what the fragments of memories in The House might be leading her towards, it creates a landscape, both literally and metaphorically, that is full of transformative potential.”

Other Lands

Now, a broader examination of the intersections between game worlds and our own, and what’s at stake in tracing those connections.

Norco is about cults of angry white boys in polo shirts. Norco is about the bloodline of Jesus Christ. Norco is about space aliens and rockets to God. Norco is an embarrassment of riches.”

Context is Key

After all that discussion of space, let’s now shift gears to a pair of historically-minded perspectives on archives and cultural imperialism.

“Although Ubisoft’s Indian studios took charge and are regionally closer to Iran, their cosmetic and gameplay changes to The Sands of Time center around someone else’s fetishized vision, making their development perspectives seem superficial. When I was younger, the original game was “good enough” simply because that representation was so rare, but I didn’t have any frame of reference for who was behind the game. Years later, seeing changes to on-screen representation isn’t “good enough” — the people designing, animating, and writing the script matter just as much.”

Critical Chaser

Finally, to close out the week, here’s some poetry, poetry theory, and flash crit.

“My shadow
the hidden me.”


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