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January 21st

…Game Protagonists And The Ultimate Modernist Man – Sneaky Bastards – YouTube Daniel Hindes reads a 2012 essay by James Patton on the modernist aesthetics of stealth and the fantasy of achieving tactical mastery within a complex system.

  • Unreal: How a Survivor Parody Explores the Artificiality of Games and Reality TV :: Games :: Features :: Survivor :: Paste Dante Douglas examines the rhetoric of a game that reflects contemporary media issues around participation and spectatorship.
  • How Sierra and a Disgraced Cop Made the Most Reactionary Game of the 90s – Waypoint (Content warning: racism) Robert Zacny reports…
  • April 15th

    …‘Ni No Kuni II’ – Waypoint Cameron Kunzelman contrasts Ni No Kuni II with Far Cry 5, arguing for a utopian reimagining of the state.

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Ending was a Letdown | Kotaku Gita Jackson talks about the problems with certain character arcs, and the lack of resolution or payoff in the game’s ending.
  • “The more I play, the more I see the limitations of world and its characters, the missed opportunities for more nuance and depth.”

    Shared recognition

    Ableism, sexism, and racism are explored in these four articles about games, the

    October 7th

    …of blackness in games • Malindy Hetfeld charts the slow trajectory of black representation–especially black women representation–in games from hackneyed stereotypes to more nuanced and ordinary inclusion, while pointing out all the work that still needs to be done.

  • The Antagonist in Life Is Strange 2 Is Racism | Kotaku Gita Jackson explores how Life Is Strange 2‘s most successful examinations of racism arrive in small moments of discomfort and othering.
  • The Uncomfortable Thoughtlessness of Spider-Man | Unwinnable David Shimomura describes how “Spider-Cop” (really, Insomniac?) racially codes and stereotypes its “bad guys”.
  • Spider-Man: The mediocre and…
  • May 2020

    …or hollow symbolic gestures without instituting any meaningful structural change. This is a truth we must remember regardless of where we live, regardless of whether police brutality and racism are clearly visible around us or more insidiously tucked away.

    Hopefully I’ll have more to share on the matter in June’s roundup. In the meantime, do watch Renegade Cut’s critical look at policing in Disco Elysium, from April. Reread Marina Watanabe’s essay from December about how people of colour are pushed out of critical video spaces. And if you can, consider donating to/checking out the following links (as compiled by…

    July 2020


  • Why I Love Super Mario Beach Levels – eurothug4000 (11:31)

    Maria continues her exploration of visual aesthetics with a personal ode to the beach levels of Marios Sunshine and Galaxy. (Manual captions)

  • Identity

    Under this large umbrella are four videos grappling with issues of identity and inclusion around games, game-makers and game communities.

    • Let’s Talk About Whats Going on In Magic: The Gathering – MelinaPendulum (22:23)

      MelinaPendulum uses Zaiem Beg’s callout doc, “The Wizards I Know”, to discuss how permutations of coded racism in Magic The Gathering cards are echoed as

    ReadySet Zam archive–knuckes–knuckles–knuckles—part-2—part-1

    November 1st

    …Broomfield-Reid, and more about the systemic obstructions that exist for Black people in all corners of the game industry, as well as what kinds of work need to go into dismantling those obstructions.

    “Systemic racism in our societies means some issues overly affect Black people, and the industry needs to hold itself accountable. Showing that games is a viable professional career to a wider range of educational institutions, changing our recruitment practices to have access to a larger pipeline of talent, and addressing the racism within our companies will all be instrumental to an in-depth change leading…

    February 28th

    …games from the past seven days.

    Blackness in Games

    Uppercut ran a pretty rad slate of articles over the past week, ranging from interviews, to critiques, to frameworks, to looks ahead at what Black representation can and should be in games. Check ’em out!

    • Highlighting Black Twitch Streamers on the Rise – Uppercut Marc Griffin chats with Pink Giratina and DataDave about streaming, representation, and what they’re playing!
    • Why Video Games Need More “Very Special Episodes” – Uppercut Najee Walker distinguishes between depicting racism and practicing anti-racism in games.
    • The World of The Last

    This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2023

    …cause to question the presence of these works in relation to their ludic predecessors. Prominent game developers spoke out on issues ranging from established genres and their knock-on effects to development sustainability and investor reluctance to greenlight new projects. We watched the last of the major mergers-and-acquisitions from 2021 and 2022, Microsoft’s absorption of Activision-Blizzard, finalize despite government pushback. Game developers around the world continued the years-long push to unionize the industry, with some successes and some setbacks.

    The industry also once again found itself having to contend with social issues around colonialism, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, and…

    Mission Statement

    …warning policy

    If we have to link to something abusive for the sake of context, or if something deals with a tough subject in a way that might be triggering to others (for instance, a post on sexism might recount the author’s experience with abuse), it will in all circumstances be bracketed by content warnings. At present, Critical Distance provides content warnings for at least the following: racism, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, child abuse, graphic violence, and graphic nudity.

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