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lana polansky

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2015

…at Kill Screen, as he tried to define and understand the genre — or rather the movement — of the “first person walker.” It’s a term that he admits is imprecise, yet still better than the proposed alternatives.

In her essay “Against Flow” Lana Polansky jump-starts a conversation about the “flow” convention of “traditional design,” claiming it numbs subjectivity and side-steps politics in art. Cameron Kunzelman pushed Polansky’s “ideological container” concept further by exploring flow’s origin as a vague term slowly stripped of that vagueness, turning instead into a conservative moniker. Heather Alexandra continued the train of thought left by…

May 10th

…of games published in the last decade doesn’t pull any punches:

Created works always reflect the times they are made in and we all contribute to the tone of our time. The American zeitgeist is dominated by hopelessness. How could it not be? Debt cripples our students, the people meant to protect and serve citizens are little more than militarized thugs and our politicians vote to restrict the rights of the marginalized. This hopelessness isn’t unique to America; there are problems everywhere. It’s global.

A Personal Look

At Sufficiently Human, our own Lana Polansky profiles the work of indie developer,…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

Episode 16 – The Artist Formally Known as Critic

…weighty topics flanked by special guests from across the critical landscape — and perhaps a few surprises as well!

This month, Mattie sits down with fellow critic-developers Lana Polansky and Cameron Kunzelman, to discuss how they got involved in game design, why game development interests them, and how becoming a developer has changed how they write about games. Direct Download


Mattie Brice: Alternate Ending

Lana Polansky: Sufficiently Human

Cameron Kunzelman: This Cage is Worms


Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

October 19th

…look at the recent wave of dismissiveness toward reflexive games (what he calls intertextual games; that is, games which comment upon or are “about” games) and concludes that by doing so we not only diminish these titles but risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Speaking of taking things one level above, here’s Stephen Beirne reviewing an interactive review of Dontnod’s ambitious but flawed title Remember Me.

And here’s a couple plucked from our own contributors. At Paste, Lana Polansky describes her recent venture into card gaming, in particular the simple 1965 game Nuclear War and its critique of…

August 7th

…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.

“The spectacular dimension of capitalism has a way of defanging and absorbing any form of resistance or dissent

Discover a Critical Culture

…videogames, opening me up to the possibilities of games and the wonders of a diverse critical community.

Critical Distance exposed me to such writers as Jenn Frank, who revealed to me the beauty of writing intimately and personally about our experiences with games. I first read Lana Polansky, Zolani Stewart, and other critics via Critical Distance, who use insightful interdisciplinary approaches to understanding games alongside poetry, photography, painting, and architecture.

Critical Distance brought me to the writings of countless bloggers and cultural critics who have challenged me to examine the (often uncomfortable and exploitative) relationships between videogames and our broader…

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017

…Memory Insufficient – Lana Polansky Lana Polansky’s piece engages with video games in our current times, the class politics of digital media, art as a political force and their intersection.

  • What Happened | brendan vance – Brendan Vance Brendan Vance responds to a piece that drew a line from early internet edgelords through Gamergate to the current crop of political reactionaries. He find fault in the logic as it ignores that these beliefs and systems have always been here, bubbling under the surface and sometimes above the surface.
  • Joysticks & Killing Joy: A Game Scholar’s Take On Sara Ahmed’s Living…
  • Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2018

    …Studios Need Unions Too | Waypoint – Dante Douglas Dante Douglas brings up an often-forgotten sector of the industry when it comes to unionization– independent and freelance development–and how organizing benefits these creators as well.

  • Worse then Scabs: Gamer Rage as Anti-Union Violence | Rhizome – Lana Polansky Lana Polansky focuses on the other size of unionization: the efforts of union-busting. In the 1920s it was the strike breakers, now it’s the frothing masses of internet gamer rage. And yet, in the face of it, Game Workers United is optimistic about the future.
  • Dev Culture

    • Sex, Pong, And…

    April 21st

    …the misanthropic jerk in Dragon Age, or the fallout of an industry that makes bank on the narrative trauma of its creatives, there’s some great work to consider here.

    • Dragon Age’s Isabela is a Catgirl (Kind Of) | Sidequest Angie Wenham recuperates the catgirl trope by centering Isabela as an irreverent, independent, sex-positive counterpoint to an otherwise grand-destiny-oriented cast.
    • Notes on EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK: Actually It Isn’t – Sufficiently Human Lana Polansky, in reviewing Everything Is Going To Be OK, takes time to reflect on the economy of trauma in the indie scene.
    • Cracking the Egg,

    This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2019



    Strictly speaking Bandersnatch came out at the end of December 2018, and also are we actually calling it a game? Whatever, nuclear option, everything is a game, your dog is a game, in 2020 we’re going to stop having this discussion.

    That said, as Emily Short points out in her rich analysis, some of Bandersnatch‘s interactivity comes across amateurish — almost like a film director was discovering games for the first time! Lana Polansky (formerly of this very site) was likewise skeptical of this Black Mirror experiment in interactive storytelling, seeing it as part of a trend of…