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August 9th

…in an incomplete picture–whether that lies in critiquing misleading, incomplete, or inaccurate representations of identities and ideologies in popular games, or looking at what ideas can get left behind in the face of that very criticism.

  • The Spectre of Fascism | Bullet Points Monthly Andrew Kiya examines how years of historical revisionism, mythologization of the samurai, and ultra-nationalist exploitation of both inform works like Ghost of Tsushima.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2’s Depiction Of Jim Crow Racism Doesn’t Add Up | Kotaku Isaac Monterose critiques the omissions and inconsistencies in RDR2‘s middling depiction of post-civil war racism in

This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2021

…stories showcase humanity at its worse? These aren’t easily-answered questions, but we asked them quite a bit in 2021. This section has a blanket content warning for discussion of racism, sexism, harassment, assault, and trauma.

  • IT DOESN’T MATTER WHEN YOU KILL ALL THE CIVILIANS – RESTLESS DREAMS Ed Smith questions the assumptions that underlie how we talk about the link between player and player character, and the idea that a game’s narrative has any bearing on a player’s morality.
  • Why Video Games Need More “Very Special Episodes” – Uppercut Najee Walker distinguishes between depicting racism and practicing

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

Rachael Webster / PixelVixen707, Part 2

Her quality of writing was top notch. None of this meta stuff would have worked if nobody wanted to read her blog in the first place. Her critiques were sharp and witty, incorporating references to pop culture and other mediums that were notable for the simple fact they didn’t seem forced. For example, in “Left 4 Dead is PUNK AS FUCK” she compares Left 4 Dead to a moshpit, some of its players to hardcore punks, its campaign structure to a film, and then includes a throwaway joke mentioning how the Obama election failed to reform XBL racism. And

December 9th

…in videogames of what I like to call the ‘jungly corridor’, then, may be taken as a sophisticated joke about man’s struggle to negotiate modernity using his woefully inapt primate heritage. What looks like lush, natural rainforest or tropical island vegetation turns out to be a series of corridors no less soul-destroying than your local council offices.


[This section carries a general trigger warning for discussion of sexism, racism, bullying and rape.]

Reacting to the hastily-pulled “Hire Hitman” Facebook app in which users could put out…

July 21st

…around an Island where some Frenchman with my last name owns someone who looks like my father. And that might make me wince a little.

Dr. B of Not Your Mama’s Gamer in light of the events this week with Trayvon Martin and looks back on 3 years of her writing and career and what it means to be a black woman in the field of video games.

Jon Shafer looks to Ethics in Game Design and what small choices in games compound into larger ideas in our mind with regards to sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia etc.

December 15th

On Salon, Sidney Fussell observes how kneejerk reactions to the word “racist” prevent evolved discussion of problematic race representation in games:

So how do we start the conversation on racism in video games? We start with the right question: “Are gamers willing to call out video games for their racist elements?” We start by confronting the stifling, retaliatory climate that forecloses all conversation. We start by questioning our comfort with other players’ erasure. We must examine why massive anxiety is triggered by accusations of racism and sexism, but not by the huge disparity in the treatment of

January 31st

…carry this point home.”

Former US Marine Chris Casberg praised and problematised fantasy revolutionary violence in Just Cause 3. Jay Barnson used his memories of playing Go and learning AI to put the news of a Go-playing AI in perspective.

Recognising erasure

[Content warning: racism and harassment] Tanner Higgin shared an article published in FibreCulture exploring the racial semiotics of 4chan raids on Habbo Hotel and World of Warcraft.

“[…] trolling more generally oscillates between harassment, lulz, and protest/intervention, creating controversy not just between troll and trolled, but between trolls. I would go as…

February 7th

…in a video about Undertale by Rantasmo. Also on Undertale, a meta-post about Let’s Play videos on Looping World discusses the game’s “manipulative soul”.

  • Undertale Needs More Gay
  • » A study of UNDERTALE


Matthew Kumar’s post on Watch Dogs and Ed Smith’s article on Grand Theft Auto both call out the games’ racism in connection with portrayals of urban crime.

  • Every Game I’ve Finished — Watch Dogs (Sony PlayStation 4)…
  • Grand Theft Auto and the airbrushing of history

“Watch Dogs is the kind of crap where you

December 4

  • Opened World: On the Margins of History | Haywire Magazine Miguel Penabella laments that the fictional history created in Mafia III provides insulation against the real history of racism in 1960s New Orleans.
  • Thus, the game expresses racial anger obliquely, directing it not towards real structures that lawfully maintain oppression like the police force, but towards fictional abstractions like the Southern Union and the Italian mafia. Rather than confront the historical sources of oppression in New Orleans as outlined by Whitaker and Moore, Mafia III defers to fictionalization that obscures the relationship between racism and state

    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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    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…