Welcome back readers.

We’ve got a fine selection of reads for you this week, including a number of new names to the site–something I’m always glad to see here.

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

The Business of Making Games

Our opening section this week is concerned with different approaches to game-making: as business, as art, as advice, as historical practice.

“at some point, a larger movement is going to develop to push for the broad recognition of games as objects of personal authorship and cultural significance. it will exist outside of product-oriented language, outside of a mere industry context of a time and place, and outside of “fun”. and it’s probably not going to look pretty, it’s probably not going to be respectable, and it’s probably going to be a struggle. it might come from weird obsessive self-interested nerds like the French critics who went on to start the French New Wave. but one thing i can guarantee it won’t be is fixated on pure ‘innovation’ for the sake of innovation, or the religious belief in creative destruction of prior spaces by new technologies. if video games are to be saved, it will happen by redeeming their past.

Body Politics

This section brings together different critical approaches to the body–the posthuman body, the disabled body, and the trans body–as they are explored through games and play.

“If there’s something to be learned from Catherine: Full Body and its lack of complex discussion at release, it’s that cis folks ought to pay more of us instead of just asking us what we think all the fucking time.”

Systemic Bias

Next up, three authors explore games as stories and systems, taking into account authorship, simulation, cultural narratives, and colonial biases.

“It feels impossible to break fantasy out of its European mesmerism while also hoping to not end up in other people’s exotic fantasies.”

Text to Worlds

This section engages games both with their antecedent texts and their forward-looking critical and thematic goals.

“I have a particular interest in texts which, despite making conscious and unsubtle efforts to avoid certain conclusions, still end up reproducing the presuppositions they’re trying to run away from. This is often because they oppose things on an aesthetic basis, but their underlying patterns of thought and belief align with what they think they oppose.”

Existential Threads

Our next trio of featured authors explore how different games approach more challenging themes–to varying degrees of success.

“Though it gleefully acknowledges its status as a work of fiction, Namco High avoids the pitfalls of shallow meta commentary by inviting the player to consider the similarities between the game world and their own. The point is not the acknowledgement of artifice, but the blurring of any meaningful distinction from the real.”

Critical Chaser

This one really is a hall-of-famer.

  • Popeye (2021) | Bad Game Hall of Fame
    Cassidy chronicles a history of play with the venerable Sailor Man culminating in this improbable and unfortunate remake of Nintendo’s 1982 arcade staple.

“What I’m trying to say here is, Popeye is the embodiment of what the inevitable wave of ”AI-generated video games” will look like, when that technology is able to facilitate such a complex undertaking. It’s almost impressive in a sense that actual flesh and blood human beings were capable of producing something so utterly soulless and devoid of craftsmanship — something so close to resembling a real video game, but ultimately missing that mark.”


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