Welcome back readers.

Today’s around-the-site news is that our monthly roundup of video crit is back! Kaile has served up a cool baker’s dozen picks for your audiovisual perusal, so go check it out!

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

Organizing Principles

As has frequently been the case this year, our opening section engages with the ongoing layoffs crisis in the games industry, but this week I am also happy to include writing on labour organization–all the more critical to see at this time.

“We felt sure that if we did nothing, then nothing would change. Things might even get worse, and the only way forward was standing together and standing up for one another.”

Flip the Script

In what I see as a natural complement to the previous section, let’s now look at games beyond the restrictive lens of capital and towards something more sustainabile on both sides of the screen.

“We think it’s time to seize the means of game making, spread the knowledge about the increasingly approachable tools we have and stop seeing games and video games, software and hardware as industrial products we can only consume as fast as possible while waiting for their next iteration. Inside the Warp Zone, an old game is modified and becomes a new game and an old console is a musical instrument: they are creative tools.”

Coming up Next

I was happy to see Eurogamer run a whole week of articles covering the demos being showcased during Steam’s Next Fest. Here are a few picks highlighting interesting games on the horizon.

“When I looked at that looming figure of Jupiter in the sky, I felt like maybe I could fly with Zee to the surface of that giant planet too.”

Textual Content

Our next two picks this week unpack thorny tensions on how sex and relationships are structured and authored in games.

“Queer games want to be safe. They want to be kind. They want to be gentle. And I understand why that’s the case. Our lives often feel unsafe, unkind, and callous, and it can be nice to play pretend that we’re in a world that isn’t like that for an hour or two. And, more, when sex is such a focus of the ways the world is out to fuck us, making a safe space can be critical to letting people enjoy themselves. But that’s not the only response people have to the queer condition. Some of us need things to be rougher, more cruel, more dangerous. Some of us want to be the one making the world unsafe, for an hour or two.”

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Now for some design-minded writing, with a focus on difficulty, pathfinding, and wider industry contexts.

“It’s not about yellow paint, it’s about the fact the modern AAA space has forgotten how to have a dialog with the player. It has forgotten how to enrich and has instead decided to only try and wow. Most players don’t even notice. They’re so far behind in their backlog that they want content that can go down easily, not because they’re not capable, but because they’re overwhelmed. Culture moves so fast.”

Bounding Boxes

These three selections all unpack pointed text-to-world comparisons between recent games, genre, and power structures.

“Like Citizen Sleeper and Paradise Killer before it, Solace State is part of a new tradition of games reorienting cyberpunk themes’ focus back to the sanguine and emotional human body and its inherent, threatened autonomy. These titles force us to consider how our bodies are not just passively acted upon in a techno-dystopia, but dynamically reacting to that world state right down to the level of our cells.”


Now let’s look at games and practices that are either materially anchored in or call back spiritually to days of yore.

Helldivers 2 isn’t a $70 AAA shooter with advanced water physics and a litany of customizable weapons; it’s a goofy, scrappy, somewhat clunky $40 good time, like a college party with shitty beer from a stolen keg. Eventually, someone’s gonna go through a table (or dive-to-prone off a cliff), and it’s gonna be awesome. We need more games like that in 2024 and beyond.”

Critical Chaser

I have definitely told people before that if I wait a while and revisit a game, it’s like, “Woah new game!”

“I never remember that Atlas will betray me or that the Little Sisters will save me. I don’t remember the mad characters I will meet, the disquieting recordings I will find, or the ghosts that show up unexpectedly, their horror stories played out for my benefit.”


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