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

Fresh Eyes

This week let’s start with a pair of oppositional perspectives on recent indie puzzler Lorelei And The Laser Eyes. What did our picks agree on? Well, maybe the game could have used a back button.

“Even the cleverest puzzles (like the ones toying with perspective) kept resulting in more glorified numerical passcodes. It’s reductive of what the puzzle-adventure genre is capable of.”

Talk of the Town

Our next two featured authors have fearlessly waded into Dreaded Discourse to bring back some valuable truths.

“Not to be melodramatic, but the way that Bloober Team have missed the mark on how this character’s sexuality is visually expressed as well as the actual reality of what people wear in 2024 to signify sexiness makes me want to yell into a paper bag. This should have been a no-brainer, but we ended up with a character who looks like a sensible lawyer trying on an o-ring choker because her step-daughter said they were cool as opposed to a physical manifestation of James Sunderland’s misogyny.”

New Relations

Here we pair a lovely essay rethinking our approaches to design orthodoxies with a great practical example.

“a game that looks like hellblade does not seem like it should play like firewatch. but if you come into it with that expectation, suddenly much of what the game is doing makes sense and feels less like a disappointment or betrayal.”

Context Sensitive

Our next two picks submit familiar games to new critical approaches.

“In the vast majority of our play experiences, we are, in essence, the Tamagotchi: a small and mostly powerless thing screaming into the void of omnipotent and indifferent code. All of our actions within the game are made with the end goal of continuing to survive within the world of the game, but ultimately, we are at the mercy of the game itself whether we live or die. With a Tamagotchi, the tables are turned, and our focus is no longer on our own survival, but the survival of something else, whose life hinges entirely upon the length of our attention spans. We are bestowed not with vulnerability, but great power, and we all know the line from Spider-man about that.”

Stop and Go

Now let’s talk about play at all its different paces!

“This is a Bomberman that wants everyone to just get stuck in from the moment the match begins and not stop until it’s over. It wants all four players to throw bombs around wildly and enjoy that moment when one lands right on top of an opponent, temporarily stunning them. To cheer when a perfectly timed backflip sees them soaring into the air and over an explosion that would’ve torn their health bar to shreds, to laugh when they accidentally get caught up in the gorgeous mesh-transparent blast of their own energy-bar-dependent gigantic bomb.”

Critical Chaser

Taylor Swift mentions in CD this year: 2.

“Taylor Swift’s easter eggs absolutely live up to the promise of that question Jordan Weisman asked over twenty years ago: can we do Paul is Dead, but for real” Yes. Swifties have been playing that game for years, and they keep getting better at it.”


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