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February 25th

This special edition of This Week in Videogame Blogging is curated by Zolani Stewart.

The fallacy of Black History Month is that its existence negates the need for a extensive discussion of what it means to be black. I find my voice boxed in a cell whose locks are controlled by the temporal forces of white boredom and guilt. I find my signature on a social contract whose paper my hand has not touched. I find the white man, with his property documents and his contracts, towering over me:

“You have your month, we have our status-quo.” he tells me,

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017

…Emma Anderson Emma Anderson asserts that Bogost’s assertion is sort of irrelevant, as storytelling has evolved beyond simple engagement with plot. A work’s most important aspect may not be the series of chronological events.

  • In The Shadow of the Holodeck | Medium – Charles J Pratt Instead of outright denouncing Bogost’s assertion, Charles Pratt explains the context in which much of his piece are written; a ‘debate that never happened’ over a decade ago.
  • Bad At Images?

    • Are Videogames Bad at Images? | Medium – Zolani Stewart Zolani Stewart asks the titular question not as an inherent quality,…
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    December 6th

    Hello Everyone, this is Zolani taking over for Kris on This Week in Videogame Blogging. Let’s get to it!

    Big Box

    Aevee Bee wrote two stellar pieces of writing on Destiny this week, one of them is a series of mini-reviews on the game’s flavour text, the other a longer piece on what makes Destiny curious and interesting as a massive budget title.

    Over at Kotaku, Patricia Hernandez does well articulating Fallout 4’s struggle between its role-playing roots and its streamlining towards action-game systems. At the Mary Sue, Bryan Cebulski makes recommendations of literature for Fallout fans, and Joseph Cain

    Episode 27 – Review Comes For The Arcade

    Joining us on this month’s podcast is Zolani Stewart, fellow Critical Distance contributor and founding editor of The Arcade Review.

    Coming up on its first year anniversary, Arcade Review is a publication that situates itself as an arts magazine first and a games magazine second. Wishing to break away from the stagnant circles of what is traditionally considered games writing, Zolani, with some help, has created a space where he can foster the type of writing he and others would like to see. In our podcast, we discuss how the magazine has sharpened its focus over time, in terms of

    July 10th

    Hello there! Zolani Stewart here. While Zoya is away, I’ll be taking over this week in videogame blogging, and listing some of the great writing that’s published this first full week of July.

    Looking Back

    There was a lot of writing this week that acted as retrospectives of older games:

    • What Made System Shock So Special | Kotaku Heather Alexandra made a video on System Shock series; what made the games and their successors special and their common weaknesses.
    • The Sonic series’ high point is not a game | Polygon Allegra Frank writes on the City Escape level of

    October 15th

    …Castlevania Doshmanziari sees bright, vivid colours where others either don’t see them, or don’t remember them, and gives us images to prove they are real.

  • Are Videogames Bad at Images? – Zolani Stewart – Medium Zolani Stewart pens something close to a manifesto, laying out a way of thinking about images and visual communication that has been largely neglected in games criticism until now.
  • “If videogames struggle with meaningful, powerful imagery, it’s probably because our culture has never been able to recognise the form’s unique visual language that’s distinct from a technical visual language.”


    This has been

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2016

    …takes this to its logical conclusion.”


    • The First Levels of Sonic Games | YouTube – Super Bunnyhop – George Weidman Super Bunnyhop looks at the first level of every Sonic game an what that can tell us about each game and era as a whole.
    • On Sonic ’06 | Medium – ZEAL – Zolani Stewart Everything you never knew you wanted to know about the travesty that is Sonic 2006 in Zolani Stewart’s continuing work in #SonicStudies.


    • The Dark Side of Pacifism in ‘Undertale’ | PopMatters – Nick Dinicola Undertale is a game in…

    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…

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    This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2014

    …this year, an entire site of criticism dedicated to droqen’s Starseed Pilgrim, founded by Richard “KirbyKid” Terrell and Daniel Johnson.

    Chay Close at Kill Screen reasoned every videogame is a comedy, but only a very few are in on the joke. Writing for Kotaku’s UK branch, our own Zolani Stewart advanced the concept of Sonic Studies in order to isolate where, exactly, the little blue hedgehog started to go so wrong.

    Austin Walker reviewed The Crew for Paste, seeing the America within as a postcard of the nation. He found some delight in the abstraction of the country, but soon…

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2013

    …of The Walking Dead.

    Austin C Howe explores the postmodernism nature of Metal Gear Solid. James Clinton Howell looks at MGS4 and how it calls attention to how we become indifferent to human life by its own indifference to human life.

    Zolani Stewart looks at how Mortal Kombat 4 is different from its fighting game brethren. Mark Filipowich expands upon it and charts the trajectory of Mortal Kombat‘s violence and what it meat over the numerous entries.

    Chris Plante wrote a postmortem on The Bureau: XCom Declassified‘s 7 year development cycle for Polygon.

    At Medium Difficulty, Samantha Allen wrote A…