Welcome back readers.
We’re back at it with thirteen new selections this week for your reading pleasure, so tuck in and let’s get rolling!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
I haven’t read up on the latest Resident Evil 4 game in the much-beloved Resident Evil 4 series just yet, but its success does speak back to ongoing conversations about the industry’s current love affair with remakes in general, with three picks of varying perspectives brought together here to open the issue.
- Not Everything Needs To Be Remade | TheGamer
Tessa Kaur sees parallels between the trend of remakes and reboots in both games and film.
- Why Video Game Remakes Are So Good (When Most Movie Remakes Aren’t) | Inverse
Jen Glennon brings together a number of industry perspectives on the ins and outs of videogame remakes.
- Looking For Isaac Clarke’s Voice | Bullet Points Monthly
Khee Hoon Chan wonders if, as it finds Isaac’s voice, the Dead Space remake has begun to lose its own.
“These additions work well for the new era of Dead Space: The Prestige Game, and the inevitable glut of Dead Space sequel remakes that will follow in its footsteps. But they also forsake the original’s ambiguity—a quietness and desolation that lent this macabre tale a sense of creeping unease—in favour of cohesion and completeness.”
Now In Service
Next up we have two different perspectives on long running service games, united in some ways by an interest in the construction of player communities.
- “Sexuality does not belong to the game” – Discourses in Overwatch Community and the Privilege of Belonging | Game Studies
Tanja Välisalo and Maria Ruotsalainen examine what fan reception of Overwatch‘s queer characters reveals about who is allowed to belong in the community, whether as a character or as a player.
- For all its flaws, Destiny 2’s Lightfall expansion pulled me back from service game burnout | Eurogamer
Kaile Hultner catches up with Destiny 2 as a game that continues to draw players back in spite of itself.
“Lightfall isn’t Destiny 2’s best expansion. I don’t know what caused its story problems, and I don’t know what it is that burns people out so hard in Destiny 2. But as of now, I’m willing to take Bungie at its word that the expansion was meant to be an entryway to a full year of interesting seasonal stories leading up to The Final Shape.”
Don’t mind me turning into a pile of dust over here at the thought of the Xbox 360 as an “historical” console.
- The Red Ring of Death: How a Billion-Dollar Reboot Changed Xbox Forever | Inverse
Willa Rowe recounts the history of arguably the industry’s most legendary hardware failure.
- Into the Myst: The Oral History of America’s Oldest Surviving Indie Game Studio | Inverse
Adam Morgan talks to Cyan Worlds about Myst and the Ages beyond.
“As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Myst this year, Inverse presents an oral history of Cyan Worlds according to the visionaries who made Myst, Riven, Uru, and Obduction — as well as new glimpses at some of their forthcoming games.”
Lots of cool parallels between these next two selections–both are about retro (or retro-style) Japanese games–but the linkage I’m focusing on here is the ways in which both of them test the bounds of their respective genres in productive ways.
- Hoshikage no Yakata Satsujin Jiken: A Curious and Curiouser Free Occult Mystery Game | Minidoshima
Kastel explores what a Famicom Detective Club homage with a supernatural twist adds to the mystery genre.
- Elemental Gearbolt: Arcade shooting in an RPG world | Kimimi The Game-Eating She-Monster
Kimimi plays a game that redefines the bounds of creativity and storytelling in the lightgun genre.
“Elemental Gearbolt’s an admirable game. It’s not interested in conforming to any rules, behaving itself, or making you feel comfortable—it only wants to see its imaginative idea through to completion. I’m still not convinced this was the best way to tell the complex web of tragedy that unfolds across the game’s six stages, but in many ways this “mismatched” approach only makes it feel even more like a wonderful half-remembered dream.”
Next up, a collection of firsthand play reflections bringing together different games and critical prerogatives.
- Monster Hunter Rise’s Character Creator Gives Me Gender Euphoria | Sidequest
Harry Schofield finds a lot to like in Monster Hunter Rise‘s flexible character customization options. The big swords get a nod too.
- Games That Shaped Me: Portal | Evan’s Space
Evan BG recounts forming a lasting relationship with Portal well before being able to actually play it.
- Pentiment | Have You Played?
Adrian Hon summarizes Pentiment as a very good boring game.
“Pentiment is the kind of game that gets glowing reviews by English major journalists who adore the fact that they finally get to combine their passions. It is also a game that is quite annoying to play. But you should be assured its annoyances are shortcomings of design, not story.”
The “M” in E1M1 stands for Myst, actually.
- Myst Is Now An FPS Game | TheGamer
Stacey Henley contemplates a minor–but funny–ontological crisis in what games aspire to.
“When the devs emailed me about their game, as devs, studios, and publishers often do, there was no long winded press release, no fake friendly PR speak, no fancy gifs. Just ‘we made Myst into an FPS because we thought it was funny’. And I mean, it is – Myst was designed around the idea that games could be more than arcadey killing simulators, so to go back and turn it into one after everyone has forgotten it is a good gag. But it’s also a fine piece of art.”
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!