Welcome back readers.
I don’t recall the exact date without looking, but I’m right around the four year mark of doing this whole senior curator thing. In that time I’ve read… a lot of cool pieces.
So here’s twelve more!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
This week we open with an industry-focused section with an additional emphasis on labour conditions.
- Video Game Guide Writers Help Keep the Lights On But Get No Respect | VICE
Patrick Klepek talks to game guides writers about an undervalued, overexploited genre.
- The game’s Bond: the making of Nintendo classic GoldenEye 007 | The Guardian
Simon Parkin highlights the labour history behind a two-years-late licensed game that beat the odds, but not without cost to the people who made it.
- The Great Video Game Mergers-and-Acquisitions Spree | The Ringer
Lewis Gordon examines trends and consequences in genre, design, monetization, marketing, and labour organization as commercial games grow increasingly consolidated between fewer and larger corporations.
“In a sense, the current wave of deals is a clarifying moment for the video game industry, revealing its corporate machinations in starker relief than ever. With these deals, the foundations have been laid for at least the next decade, a time when video games will occupy a more prominent space in our cultural lives than ever.”
Next up, games and publishers alike pivot into new (well, for the time) platforms, demographics, markets.
- Grown-Ups Are not to Be Trusted: Cornerstone | Gold Machine
Drew Cook sets the table for IF giant Infocom’s contested foray into produtivity software.
- Battery powered dungeons – Kimimi The Game-Eating She-Monster
Kimimi plays PlayStation. . . PORTABLE.
“Pocket Dungeon’s relatively unique status as a true PocketStation only title is both a blessing and a burden. On the one hand this is an ambitious game designed for hardware that would’ve sat around “posh Tamagotchi” technology levels at the time, one so extraordinary it keeps on doing things I had always assumed the not-VMU wasn’t capable of. But on the other it’s also a paid-for commercial product that uses one of the most influential and RPG-laden consoles of all time as a glorified transfer system, making it hard to shake the feeling any money spent on this could’ve gone towards something that was good good, and not “good for what it is“.”
Let’s move now to a pair of articles which unpack the literary, cultural, and religious works which inform popular games, and which trace where those games meet or miss the mark in how those works are adapted.
- Bioshock Infinite Turns American Religious History Into A Nonsensical Nightmare | GameSpot
Grace Benfell draws on comparisons to Utah and Mormonism to trace a line from Columbia’s comparatively imprecise theological underpinnings to its resultingly counterproductive and damaging revolutionary foils.
- Elden Ring’s Malenia Is The Fairytale I Always Wanted To Hear | Kotaku
Ashley Bardhan stans a real Faerie Queene.
“Nowadays we associate them with gold dust and eternally sweet faces, but the fairy is a sort of monster. Southeast Asia’s “yaksha” nature spirits gobble up stray travelers, the Germanic “erlking” can kill a kid with its bare hands. Elden Ring’s Malenia, Blade of Miquella, emerged from a rotting blossom with tangled wings, and is renowned as one of the most dangerous creatures FromSoftware’s ever created. She fits right in.”
On deck, two authors situate their play experiences in their upbringings, identity intersections, friendships, and beyond.
- I Refused To Play “Boy Games,” Until I Realized I Was Missing Out | GameSpot
Jessica Howard explores tenderness and masculine intimacy in games traditionally marketed to boys.
- The Meaning of Home | Into The Spine
Ava November reflects on Life Is Strange and the home we find in others (content notification for abuse, death).
“I used to despise people whose sense of home was so effortless to manifest, who were born into this coveted feeling of being safe and supported. Now I see I had a home all along; it was her.”
For this week’s design section, we’ve got two featured authors highlighting breaks with tradition and roads not travelled.
- Roam Paradise Killer If You Want To | Unwinnable
Caroline Delbert continues her spatial meditation on Paradise Killer, with input from Oli Clarke Smith, this time focusing on motivation, rewards, and verbs.
- Metroid Established A Framework The Franchise Has Never Properly Explored | GameSpot
Grace Benfell asks what Metroid left behind after it went Super.
“A metal heart beats at the center of a wild world, a steel poison creeps through plant-covered capillaries. It’s legitimately poetic, but relies entirely on imagery to make its point. Even the notoriously silent Super Metroid is more explicit.”
The Berlin Interpretation of dating platforms.
- She Convinced Tinder Men To Buy Nier:Automata Then Ghosted Them | Kotaku
Glory to Mankind.
“By her count, she roped 22 men into her devious yet amazing scheme. Since it’s been a couple of years, she claims, she couldn’t show Kotaku proof that she convinced dozens of men to buy the unusually philosophical game. She did, however, have a handful of screenshots of conversations full of flirts, in which people would say that they couldn’t believe they were about to buy a video game just to impress a girl. [Editor’s note: This bar is low.]”
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!