Welcome back readers.

Whether you happen to be recovering from a holiday weekend or just business-as-usual, thanks for stopping by! We’ve got eleven new picks for your reading pleasure, so let’s dig right in.

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

State of the Art

This week we’re opening with new meditations on the role of the critic, as well as on the corporate convergence towards which the games industry is ever-lurching.

“The more Unreal Engine is absorbed into a vertically integrated “ecosystem” of content and sales and education platforms, a sort of Big Soup Pot into which goes everything everyone does, the more control Epic has over your work and your life and the less control you have. At some point, like with YouTube, the line between using a tool to have fun or as part of your own job or artistic practice versus being simply an unpaid employee of a giant company who is visibly exploiting you starts to become very blurry.”

Crit Shelf

How about a couple of book reviews? Press Start has just published a wide array of them, and I’ve earmarked two here I’m hoping will be of interest.

“The concepts Jagoda presents here are both integral in designing experiences in this contemporary moment but are equally analytical tools that can allow for the critique of neoliberalism. According to Jagoda, then, these concepts offer a holistic toolkit to engage with, and challenge, the existing norms around gamification and neoliberalism (precarity, regulation, policing, rationality) through making or analysing games.”

Art Forms

Here we’ve got two pieces on the ways in which games both reflect on and foster communities of art-making.

“I could sit here and try and persuade you of the ways in which ‘theme park design’ is a novel artform. But to some extent, the real beauty of this kind of work is that it doesn’t have an external audience. The visual arts, literature, film—people who don’t do them, still appreciate. Nobody else cares about RollerCoaster Tycoon, except the people who care about RollerCoaster Tycoon. There is a particularly pure joy to be found in such holistically creative collectives.”


Prey is officially, canonically recent until I can finally find the time to play it. Thank you for your understanding.

“The question at the heart of Prey is whether Morgan is more human than alien. That’s decided by biology, but it’s also decided by movement and interaction, by the relationship between Morgan and their environment, how they choose to traverse space and play with it. It’s not as simple as friction vs. efficiency, but it does operate within that binary – as Morgan simplifies their world, takes the parts of each element that suits them and builds it into a form that they find pleasing, they say something about themself, and about the material shape of their reality. How they live, how they intend to live, who they are.”

Critical Chaser

Actually I need to finish this one too.

“Mario’s just a bit of a square, a bland normcore hero. Meanwhile, Wario couldn’t care less what people think of him; as a kid, I idolised him for that.”


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

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