Welcome back readers.
You’ve got just a few days left to pick up the Queer Games Bundle 2022!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Eurogamer has once again hosted a lovely week of material centering queer and trans writers and topics, and I’m pleased to include a few of my personal highlights as the headliners for this week’s issue.
- Pride Week: Fanfiction, fan-mods, and the joy of gay fantasy | Eurogamer.net
Sharang Biswas breaks down how gay erotic mods and fanfiction not only fulfill a cathartic fantasy but get at the very heart of queer rebellion.
- Pride Week: On Difficult Queer Games | Eurogamer.net
Elia Cugini articulates the need for and value of moral complexity in queer games and characters, in the works of Christine Love and elsewhere.
- Pride Week: Real Virtual Selves | Eurogamer.net
Caelyn Ellis presents a brief history of queer identity exploration in online game and game-adjacent spaces.
- Pride Week: Make cyberpunk queer (again) – a cyborg tranifesto | Eurogamer.net
Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston draws on cyberpunk literature and cyborg theory to ask how games might go beyond merely representing queerness and towards fundamentally being queer.
“I am calling for a move through and beyond ‘representation’ – the presence in media of members of marginalized groups who can serve as spokes-people and role-models for those groups – to a more abstract, structural, but, perhaps, more conceptually thoroughgoing engagement with queerness.”
Caroline Delbert has now done over fifty interviews with creators involved in the Queer Games Bundle. Fifty! Here are two more highlights as the bundle enters its final days.
- In co-open, lowpolis turn getting lost into a child’s adventure | Caroline Delbert
Caroline Delbert talks to lowpolis about exploration, the wonder of mundane spaces, and more.
- Non-Binary explores how gendered language hems us in | Caroline Delbert
Caroline Delbert chats with owof games about their very cool queer bullet-hell language game.
“We reasoned about how words can hurt, like bullets, and from there the connection to bullet hell was instinctive. You may survive a gunshot, but the scar will remain.”
Reason in Refuge
Next up, two writers contemplate the role and experience of art in times of both personal and collective hardship.
- How ‘the earth is a better person than me’ Explores Self-Love | Epilogue Gaming
Flora Eloise explores the different branches of Kara Stone’s dreamlike meditation on earth-love and self-love.
- Games are not gonna fix this | Malindy Hetfeld
Malindy Hetfeld contemplates the role–and limits–of art in times of intersecting crises.
“Not everything has to be life-changing or even useful. Sometimes all you need is just a charm, reappearing by the bins. But in order to do that, I need to be allowed to be sad and to grieve and to take my time, because I can’t sell my grief.”
Two long-running critics take stock of their growth over the years.
- Anything | Unwinnable
Emily Price explores criticism as the ability to be emotionally honest with oneself.
- Retracing My Writer’s Statement | Unwinnable
Phoenix Simms meditates on what questions in games have waxed and waned in importance for her as a critic over the years.
“Games use action and interaction as a base unit of communication. Therefore, in this medium actions truly do speak louder. And I feel less inclined these days to fixate on whether games deserve certain titles of cultural merit and more inclined to study how systems of action are framed and employed.”
(A)histories of the Past and Future
We turn now to worlds that aren’t quite our own, not for the health packs or the robot dinosaurs, but for the way in which they warp culture and context into a corrupted reflection of our material reality.
- “I have no doubt that history will remember…” – Medal of Honor: Airborne – Super Chart Island
Oma Keeling traces the line from history to revisionism in Medal of Honor‘s representation of D-Day.
- Horizon Forbidden West: Vast World, Shallow Worldbuilding | Sidequest
Madison Butler examines the cracks in Horizon‘s worldbuilding, both in-universe and out.
“It’s frustrating that Horizon Forbidden West has doubled down on its racist tropes and white saviorism, because in doing so it also undercuts the credibility of anything it might be trying to say with its story. All of the choices in the game—both narrative and mechanical—present conflicting ideas of authorship and identity, resulting in worldbuilding that flattens its populations into a series of generalizations.”
A common theme exploring parasociality runs through these next two pieces on a long-running gaming community and a proto-dating sim, respectively.
- NOW AND FOREVER, OPEN FOR BUSINESS – DEEP HELL
Bryn Gelbart reflects on the rise and fall of Giant Bomb, the positive influence it had on him, and the rot within that gradually became impossible to ignore.
- Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School  – Arcade Idea
Art Maybury teases out tensions of agency and authenticity at the confluence of a transmedia celebrity and a transmedia text.
“The whole reason we are here, in and out of fiction, is that we are interested in Nakayama Miho due to her celebrity. But we must constantly dance around the subject, never addressing the facts head-on except when the game takes over for us. In fact, we are actively confronted with the possibility of speaking honestly and then quite deliberately suppressing it. The A/B choices demand to be read not as opposing pairs but in superposition and synthesis, as running commentary on one another, the polite conscious and the basal unconscious, each simultaneously possible and possibly simultaneous. This is the split personality of Miho/Mizuho, mechanized.”
On the Flipside
Love it when a happy coincidence plays out across the pages (web. . . pages?) of C-D. This time we’ve got a pair of articles going long and short on two of the greatest asset flips of all time.
- Majora’s Mask, Or How I Stop Worrying And Embraced the Time Loop – The Blogger On The Inside
Evan J looks back at a legend’s finest 72 hours.
- New Vegas, My Favorite Asset Flip – Into The Spine
Diana Croce interrogates the cultural baggage behind the asset flip via one of its finest examples.
“Fallout: New Vegas is an asset flip. But was it really an asset flip that put the dreaded super mutants in a pacifist commune?”
(Shaking head) flat as a pancake.
- Did Gotham Knights nerf Nightwing’s ass?: An Investigation | Gayming Magazine
Ty Galiz-Rowe gets to the bottom of that bottom in some hard-hitting investigative journalism.
“DC comics artists have a long history of giving the former boy wonder a big wagon, and though maybe not as faithfully, the more recent video games Dick has appeared in have tried to do the same. But what about Gotham Knights? The trailers for this game haven’t been shy about putting Nightwing front and center, but have they done his legendary derrière justice? I scrolled through trailer footage from both Gotham Knights and Arkham City to find out.”
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