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This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2020

…material political conditions that marginalize many developers and writers, and also refuses to limit its political horizon to “getting paid” and the industrial pressures that come along with that.

  • La importancia de descentrarse | la era del videojuego Tom Gradep describes the broken promise that sites such as Kotaku, Polygon, and Waypoint, as well as the growth of video criticism on YouTube, might lead to radical changes in how we talk about games, observing that the discourse remains obsessed with big mainstream releases and next-gen consoles and continues to ignore culturally valuable work happening elsewhere.
  • Labor

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2018

    …not need to break those that produce them. Yet, beyond just the people they affect, the working conditions cannot help but set the tone for the wider medium both in and out of the games themselves.


    • When did we forget people – not brands – make games? | Eurogamer – Wesley Yin-Poole In the wake of Telltale’s closure and the reaction that the developers should finish their games for free, Wesley Yin-Poole asks a question that should have been asked long ago.
    • The labour of games | I Need Diverse Games – Tauriq Tauriq Moosa

    This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2019

    …get through this together.

    Broader Labor Concerns

    Of course, labor and games goes beyond unionization. It also concerns who gets recognized and the underlying power structures of capitalism, as Yussef Cole wrote in Vice on the subject of dance emote appropriation in Fortnite:

    Much of the discussion surrounding Epic’s appropriations is concerned with whether the lawsuits being brought by 2 Milly, Ribeiro, and others, are legally feasible; it centers the letter of the law, asking whether Epic is allowed to lift these dance moves. But this ignores the (at least) equally pertinent question of whether it

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    July 26th

    …under capitalism:

    When Silvia Federici wrote Wages against Housework, she wasn’t calling for hourly wages for housewives as an end in itself, and this is key — she wanted recognition of housework as labor specifically to bring it into the realm of things that can be refused and revolted against. To radically reorganize affection, love, and care in the labor market is no simple task, and Diner Dash and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood certainly offer no solutions. What they do offer is a first suggestion, incredible in its existence on a mass-market scale: to make affective labor count, to

    April 24th

    …Normative Institutions | Not Your Mama’s Gamer Ashley J. Velázquez compares the politics of Call of Duty and This War of Mine.

    “Not only are aspects of gender present, but generational constructs are as well. Grandparents, parents, and children are all bodies experiencing war in varied ways, challenging the normative perceptions of what war is, what war means, what war does, and who survives war.”


    Discussions on the gendered (and species-dependent) division of emotional labor emerge in writing on relationships in game narratives.

    • Even More Daddy Issues: Fatherhood and Gendered Labor

    August 7th

    …Self-love spectacle

    The uncomfortably intangible economies surrounding leisure are explored this week in a video about Sonic and a stellar essay on gamer identity.

    • It’s Not Easy Being Blue – YouTube (video: auto-captions) Innuendo Studios riffs about Sonic’s lack of identity, and how it relates to subjectivity in the social media age.
    • Distraction, Consumption, Identity: The Neoliberal Language of Videogames | Sufficiently Human Lana Polansky calls for mass resistance and coherent labor politics, as an alternative to the divergent identity organising that can so easily be absorbed into the leisure and consumption of games.

    February 25th

    …score so conspicuous that it feels like the most important thing about the whole work.

    Emotional labor

    In a remarkable little bit of serendipity, this week brought two separate investigations of emotional labor in games that portray romantic relationships between women and men, both of them nuanced and enlightening.

    • How to (not) save your boyfriend: examining gender roles in Mystic Messenger | Medium Giada Zavarise argues that the behavior of NPCs in this dating game places gendered expectations on the player-character, who is assumed to be female even if the player chooses to state otherwise.

    01: Subjectivity

    …locating is politically fraught, indeed. Not just in the domain of games, but in academia and elsewhere because play requires power, which is obviously not a form everyone can embody. And I mean that literally — power is a form between forms. Material relationships constitute the circulation and generation of power.

    When I play on my 3DS or my iPhone or laptop, I depend upon the power to move my fingers across the control/track pad and to press buttons. My play depends upon the exploited labor of women working in hardware manufacturing, software design, review and criticism publication… and…

    Discover a Critical Culture

    …and our broader culture. And most importantly, Critical Distance made me feel like I could be a part of the conversation, inviting me to participate in its Blogs of the Round Table and submit my work to This Week in Videogame Blogging.

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    Jenn FrankLana PolanskyZolani StewartSexHistoryLaborRacismBodiesNarrativesAesthetics

    Through Critical Distance, I’ve learned about games and sex, games and history, games and labor, games and racism, games and bodies, games and narratives, games and aesthetics. Regardless of whether or not games remain a part of my life for years to come, I know the insights of writers featured…

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2016

    …The Best Mission In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided | Kotaku – Heather Alexandra Much of the praise of the Deus Ex games goes to their multi-layered structure and Heather Alexandra gives us a close look at Mankind Divided’s best mission.


    • Overwatch and the problem of caring labor | The Meta – Ryan Khosravi Ryan Khosravi sees how Overwatch evaluates the play of its support classes as mirroring how our society values the labor of care givers.
    • Why Overwatch Fan Are Obsessed With ‘Shipping’ Its Female Characters | Kotaku – Nico Deyo A report about…