Welcome back readers.
I took a day to myself this weekend to attend some local Pride festivities, so we’re operating on a Monday schedule this week. Speaking of which, let me plug that Queer Games Bundle running on Itch through June once more. Now, on with the picks!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
The Hot Goss
Oh look–I get to bring back our tentative discourse-themed opening segment with two pieces on recent discourse-heavy games! Here they are.
- Maybe I just don’t like Zelda? | No Escape
Kaile Hultner offers that perhaps the only thing harder than avoiding Zelda’s massive, fomo-powered gravity well is forming a unique opinion about it.
- Diablo 4’s onslaught of MMO features hints at a questionable live-service future | Polygon
Alexis Ong bears witness to a richer but colder, lonelier tapestry as Diablo continues its slow mutation into a forever game.
“Diablo has always been transactional, but in the best of times, those transactions were made between players without Blizzard barging in like a chaperoning nun. Today, most interactions are dictated by preset emotes, and the closest thing I have to feeling “together but alone” is lurking near someone else for a small experience buff.”
A Strand Between Worlds
I’m not going to push the “strand game” thing too far here, but this next section does centre Zelda games as a focus for connection between people.
- Nintendo, Zelda, and Me: Finding Refuge in Video Games | Sidequest
Kamie Wootan describes glimmers of solace during an abusive childhood.
- Cooking in Hyrule
Coty Craven shares a love for creativity and connection across generations.
“I’ve been spending more time outside after I play this. Making me notice things I didn’t before, little things I would mostly ignore. I don’t think most folks feel awe at their everyday surroundings. Hell, some folks don’t even like ’em. But I’m playing with Link and he finds all these things in his world that help him keep going. You know, when I cut the grass with his sword, there’s crickets I can use. Look up in the trees and there’s puzzles to give you those little seeds. So, you know, now I’m outside at my house looking at all these same things and wondering. What’s under this tall grass, what’s up at the top of that tree? I mean I’m 96 and ain’t climbing no trees but I can still wonder. I guess I’m liking outside more than I thought I did from this game.”
Both of these next two selections combine genre and history in differently productive ways.
- Game Pile: Kings Quest I | press.exe
Talen Lee does a little bit of genre genealogy amidst a very short history of videogames.
- History is political: games are propaganda | SDHist
Non-Breaking Space proposes and contextualizes a more holistic approach to wargaming as a hobby and a simulation of the production of history.
“With over half a century of history in the hobby, there is room for reflection and charting a path forward that broadens the scope to include more contexts and provide a better understanding of the historical impacts of warfare through the games we play.”
Memory–imperfect, incomplete, unreliable memory–runs through this next trio of picks.
- Nostalgia and Grief – A Space for the Unbound Review | Gamesline
Franny dips into a magical realist interactive story that’s been making waves.
- Flooded Memories | Unwinnable
Jay Castello reflects on flood myths, and imperfect memories that perfectly capture human warmth.
- And then over the horizon | Videodame
Autumn Wright plays Season and dwells on memory, forgetting, and the history that forms between the two.
“This Season of Haunting is a post-apocalyptic dreamscape. I remember it forever in golden hour. It looks like autumn. It looks like America.”
We brought out The Goss this week, so let’s also bring in some poetry!
- Gloom | Into The Spine
Diego Nicolás Argüello weaves a little verse about Tears‘ dreaded malaise.
“In gloom he falls
In death he stands
Whispers of a demon
Bring warmth at last”
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!