Welcome back readers.

No major updates around the site this week. Instead, let’s dive right in to this week’s picks.

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

Past, Present, Future

We open this week with a pair of industry-level perspectives looking alternately at the preservation of what we’ve made and the new stories yet told.

“This is the beautiful part about Indigenous culture and storytelling. There is so much to know about the traditional custodians of this country; how Indigenous storytelling can give us so much insight into a wonderful culture and history that is rarely spoken about in a positive light.”

Historical Friction

Different questions and tensions emerge in this section on approaches in games to the representation and simulation of historical atrocities both inside and outside of living memory.

“I’m not sure how to feel about this, and that growing unease in the pit of my stomach makes it hard to recommend over games with fictionalized settings. While people trying to be smart will now point at titles like Medal of Honor or Call of Duty and their use of World War 2, I’d say that my experiences with Six Days in Fallujah have left me feeling more unsettled about those games, too.”

Reload, Revisit

Different design angles come together here in meditations on randomization, genre, and good old gunfeel.

  • Yearning, Once More, to Forget | Bullet Points Monthly
    Pao Yumol compares the less-predictable but less-reliable randomized approach to horror in Amnesia: The Bunker to the more curated format of the original Dark Descent.
    Skeleton zeroes in on that ur-text of FPS gun porn, the shotgun, via an example from the zenith of US imperialism’s fucking around phase.

“The American Shotgun carries with it a feverish, pacifying quality. Good for home defense. Exorcise a devil, a ghost, or a robber: in some paranoid imaginations, one of them is all of them. After all, who could be looking into my neighborhood windows? Thinking about everything I’ve worked Real Hard for that they don’t have…or maybe motivated by a type of maliciousness towards all that I’ve fought for by clocking in and clocking out every day. A shotgun can look like a nice piece of decoration next to a night stand, and the cops have them in all of the magazines.”

Role Playing Gains

Next up, four intersecting perspectives on character and story in an increasingly blurred genre space.

We’re never truly invited to see Benedikta’s perspective. We get so little of her inner life. We get hints, but she mainly exists in relation to the men she slept with. We see her through their eyes, not hers. She exists to further their stories, not her own. By the time we finally start to deal directly with Barnabas and reach Waloed, she may as well have never existed at all with how little lasting impact she has. And this will become a recurring problem with the game’s handling of its female cast — and, hell, the male villains don’t fare much better, either, when it comes to having any real depth.

…But, uh… at least the combat’s fun, right?

Critical Chaser

A little RPG denouement from Spine.

“Not everybody appreciates the fickle math of these games. Yet, I love that the SaGa cosmos is governed not by elemental forces, but by petty jerks with their own wants and needs.”


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