Welcome back readers.

There were a lot of layoffs this week in games and culture press, as well as the games and wider tech industries. “Support independent crit”, a drum we beat fairly regularly here, is pretty cold comfort when tens of thousands of people are suddenly out of work. It did not have to be that way; it never does. We’re very fortunate here to have our own community that supports the work that we do, a fact that we’ve been reminded of very recently. It’s my hope, when you come across a name you haven’t seen before in our weekly issues, that sometimes you’ll follow their work, maybe even see if they have a Patreon. We are nothing without the outstanding critics and creators we strive to highlight.

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

Playing with Time

Our opening segment this week brings together games of time travel, themselves produced in very different time periods.

“Ultimately, A Mind Forever Voyaging insists that, above all, we must commit to fulfilling our existential duty as human beings, to resisting the fascist tendency in American conservatism, and to serving as diligent witnesses to truth. It suggests, in a way brazen for its time, that we must remain faithful in the face of encroaching white supremacy, corporate greed, and state-sanctioned violence. Meretzky’s critique calls us to become more human, even as the state grows increasingly inhuman.”

Out of Time

Continuing with the theme of time, we now look at a few games about uncomfortably near futures.

“Norco is about communication with what we’ve lost. My mother didn’t leave behind a grand mystery for me to solve. She left behind books and people. I thumb through her journals?—?loose observations and indecipherable hieroglyphs?—?and demand stories from all the people who knew her, and whose condolences trip on their tongues out of their mouths.”

Active Time

Let’s switch gears now to a pair of thoughtful meditations on battle mechanics.

“I want to make a game inspired by a particular JRPG because I loved it, and therefore want to show WHY I loved it. Get in the Car, Loser! is basically a persuasive essay on why I think FFXIII rules. That means figuring out what decisions are part of what I loved, which ones aren’t, and what context informed both!”

Greatest of All Time

Finally, we loop back around to a pair of RPG standouts from decades past.

“There’s always some way to fight back, some way to learn and improve on the last attempt, something else I can try. It’s thoughts like these that push Additional I’s players ever further into the darkness, death something the game dares you to conquer rather than merely avoid.”


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