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lana polansky

September 25th

…past week. James Dilks looks at the names of video games and what they convey about what is within, particularly the unusual case of VVVVVV. Brendan Keogh is behind a barrier of his own making as he realizes that, like Red from The Shawshank Redemption, he too has been institutionalized. And Lana Polansky reviews indie game Rock of Ages and its tumultuous journey through time and Western art history.

In the ‘contemporary art corner’ over here are the submissions from the Bitmob writers collective. Sumo Attuqayefio has a short, but heartfelt piece on how Shadow of the Colossus helped…

December 25th

…rousing ol’ tale of game criticism, theory and commentary. It’s This Week in Videogame Blogging!

Our piece for the week to light up that child’s heart of yours goes to Jason Tanz over at Wired, whose new critical piece on Ian Bogost’s notorious Cow Clicker is a game in itself.

Next, two pieces on the experience of “flow” as it pertains to games. The first arrives to us by midnight post from Lana Polansky, who likens mastery of fighting games to music, describing the focused state of mind it induces in the player. The other, also emerging from…

February 5th

…it wrong.”

Michael Peterson at Project Ballad writes extensively on Persona 3 and how the game presents the concept of free will.

Richard Clark writes a response at Christ and Pop Culture about one person’s reaction to Settlers of Catan who said the game is “fundamentally antithetical to Christian vision and existence.” Clark responds: “Perhaps the #1 rule of approaching a game rightly is as follows: take it seriously, but keep your perspective.”

Lana Polansky writes a review of Oíche Mhaith for KillScreen – it’s an indie game about a girl in an abusive home, and how…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

April 1st

…of “the magic circle” is now outmoded and problematic, creating situations in which game rules trump real world decency. Lana Polansky tries a hand at defining the value of game criticism. And Jason Johnson laments how hard gaming life is out there for an ichthyophobe.

Two great interviews also popped up this week. Simon Carless sat down with Eric Caoili and JC Fletcher while John Walker strapped Jim Rossignol to a torture chair and submitted him to questioning:

RPS: How many DRMs will your game include?

Rossignol: When we’ve worked out what the most controversial DRM

May 6th

…along with the exuberant notation, “More Gold and Slaves!”

Anyone interested in classical tabletop and the artifacts thereof will definitely find Rath’s article, and PlaGMaDA , very engrossing.

From curation to critique, Kiala Kazebee made a splash on Gameranx this week with this piece satirizing the condescending tone of “girlfriend” articles. You know the ones I mean.

On the subject of formula, Lana Polansky traces the predigital origins of the feminine “helping hand” archetype of game sidekicks. And Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton expounds upon horror film satire Cabin in the Woods to reveal the formulaic imperatives…

September 9th

…numbers, because I don’t know about you, but stats make me very happy. Or, well, depressed in this case, but moving on.

Unfortunately, the issue of sexism and the lived experience on the receiving end of it is not simply a topic to be swept under the rug, even if we might want to. Lana Polansky shares her thoughts on getting tired of holding her breath waiting for things to improve: “That may seem like an attack. This whole post might be seen as a passive-aggressive dig. But it’s not; it’s simply an account of my overgrown impatience.”

October 7th


In other close readings (my favorite kind of readings), Lana Polansky has written a wonderful piece on “The Poetry of Created Space” that combines analyses of Shelley’s poetry and video game space. You know you want to know things about hubris, decline, and their effects on video games.

Making a move to meatspace, Mike Schiller writes about his daughter and her use of video games to cope with Tourette’s syndrome.

In a time where pharmaceutical solutions often take the predominant role of treatment, video games are a welcome supplement. My daughter’s favorite games have…

November 25th

…or check out the critical compilation we republished earlier this week.

Additionally, our own Alan Williamson has launched his own online quarterly magazine focusing on long form criticism, Five Out of Ten, this week as well. The inaugural issue features pieces from our own Kris Ligman, previously mentioned Brendan “does he ever sleep” Keogh, freelance critic Lana Polansky, Bill Coberly of Ontological Geek and Alan Williamson himself. It is available for purchase now.

At Unwinnable, Jill Scharr looks at Giant Sparrow’s PSN game The Unfinished Swan and they ways it defies conventions and perception by placing you in…

December 2nd

…wouldn’t be TWIVGB without a few in-depth critiques of specific games. Let’s get to it.


Josh Bycer wraps up his analysis of X-COM: Enemy Unknown‘s strategic and tactical layers.


Joe Flood, a Native living on the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota, engages with gaming’s first high-profile Native American protagonist.


Michael Clarkson digs deep with The Walking Dead‘s take on the Hobbesian “state of nature.” Also worth reading is Clarkson’s close critique of the series’s second chapter, Starved for Help.


Lana Polansky experiences…

This Year In Video Game Blogging 2012

…their reviews of the book.

Another end of year project is the inaugural issue of Five Out of Ten magazine. It features the stellar work of Bill Coberly, Brendan Keogh, Lana Polansky and our own Kris Ligman and Alan Williamson. The magazine, for which Alan serves as founder and editor, is set to be put out bimonthly.

Meanwhile, print publications are still hanging in there, as Anna Anthropy (aka Auntie Pixelante) proved with her developer call to arms Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreams, Dropouts, Queers, Housewives and People Like You Are Taking…