Welcome back readers.

Let’s start this issue off with some news from around the site. First up, new Keywords! This edition’s guest, Dr. Gejun Huang, is our first in a miniseries highlighting intersections between Chinese and Australian games scholarship. Check it out here!

Our other news item this week is that we’re bringing on a new member to the team! Serial-roundup-includee Kaile Hultner is joining our curatorial crew to manage our monthly newsletter and end-of-year reviews. Who rounds up the roundups, you ask? Well. . . it’s Kaile. They do it. Lol.

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

Mask of the Rose

So this came out a short while ago and the friction reviewers are picking up on in how it presents and constrains its storytelling systems is interesting! I’m hoping to see more people talk about this one.

“There is an awful lot to do in Mask of the Rose, and it’s not just that you can’t fit it all in one playthrough – it’s difficult to fit one thing in one playthrough.”

Zelden Throne

When Breath of the Wild came out, one of the main objects of critical comparison was, perhaps inevitably, Skyrim. Six years later the discussions on open world games have progressed and Tears of the Kingdom now finds itself most readily in conversation with Elden Ring.

Elden Ring succeeds in depicting a world that has been devastated by the beings in power, but leaves its setting so hostile and barren that choosing to destroy it all feels like putting bodies on a funeral pyre.”

Low Tech, Highlight

There’s admittedly almost nothing in common between these next two selections other than they’re both about sci-fi games and they’re both good!

Cyberpunk’s disastrous launch state was alluring. I had enough of seeing the disaster of myself in the mirror, enough of seeing the disaster of the world outside, so why not go check out something else busted to make me feel a little better about this fucked-up world, and my place in it?”

Items and Icons

There’s a bit more in common between these two picks but my attempts to articulate the connection are coming up short. They’re both about how games are about. . . stuff. . . beyond their surface-level representations? Never mind me, read the articles.

“When I started to write this article, I thought my hypothesis might be that the very process of training the audience’s focus on the microscopic and momentary gestures within the “magic circle” was as a magician’s misdirect, leading us to fixate on trees with an intensity that blinds us to the forest. But I fear that this game is not wrong in its own stereotype of (white) Americans as generally huge fans of racism, that that might be a reason for its success and endurance equal to its star power.”

Critical Chaser

This one about curation is just the right kind of meta around these parts to be featured in this week’s closer.

“I’m under significant (self-imposed) time pressure to review these games, and I simply do not have the time to play them all. But that’s how most people review game pages. If you make it easier for me to write about your game, you also make it easier for the casual player to learn more about it.”


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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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