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October 14th

…Studies journal, Carly A. Kocurek takes us on a look back at 1976’s Death Race, “the United States’ first video gaming moral panic.” In doing so, she asks a pretty pointed question: why do some kinds of violence get a stamp of approval in our consumable media, and not others?

Speaking of the provocative, Danielle Riendeau sat down with artist-activist-provocateur-professional-troll Johannes Grenzfurthner (whom I also had the pleasure of shaking hands with at IndieCade– and playing Massively Multiplayer Thumb War with) regarding 2012’s Arse Elektronika, “the world’s first sex-positive, sex-focused gaming conference.”

But if you’re saying to yourself,…

November 25th

…an all white world. At the same site Cara Ellison bears her heart out “To the Games I will Never Finish: A Love Letter.”

No. Videogames are a hazy cocoon in which I can work out where my passion and hurt comes from: as if in therapy, I wrap myself in remembering them. Videogames are something that I participate in, am active in. They are intrinsically part of my romantic life, my sex life – any life in which I have been around people or loved people or been upset with them. There is rarely a time when

December 9th

…the idea you can do anything you want with no consequences, when in all actuality, virtual actions like sexual harassment, stalking, abuse, prejudice in all of its forms—racism, sexism, transphobia, or all of the above—do have consequences.


The real issue is a lack of accountability, fostered by the idea that what happens online does not have “real world” consequences. Whether people write their hate using a pseudonym or with a real name and picture attached, they’re culturally supported in doing so because “it’s just a game.” But one’s avatar or screen name can be a vehicle of accountability…

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February 10th

…experience plays in games writing.”


Why yes, says Alexander Feigenbaum. And here’s an interesting essay on Pippin Barr’s “Duchamping” of the medium in Art Game.

Samantha Allen (say her name three times and click your heels) also turned up on Kotaku this week to pose a different hypothesis: maybe games are like a certain kind of sex.

Writing in his regular Moving Pixels column, Nick Dinicola poses that Journey’s co-op is effective in the later levels because it provokes “the more subtle emotions of safety and reassurance.” Elsewhere on the topic…

December 15th

…players according to their race and sex. We start by believing this is a medium bound only by the limits of users’ imaginations and not by the limits of racial palatability.

On Madness and Play, Amsel von Spreckelsen discusses depictions of the mentally ill as convenient enemy units in action games, while on Videogames of the Oppressed, Mike Joffe shares a wrenching personal account of how Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest not only helped him identify his own depression, but also recognize that he was in an abusive relationship.

Bryce Mainville offers a compelling breakdown of the sexual…

April 27th

…its subject and informs the other.

(End content warning section.)

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Nate Ewert-Krocker blows the dust off an old favorite from the 1990s and finds a case of gender, sexual and racial representation that exceeds much of today’s offerings. Meanwhile, Ontological Geek continues its Romance Month with this essay from Sara Davis, who criticizes the treatment of fantasy races in Mass Effect and Dragon Age as ‘sex classes’:

[T]hat is precisely what troubles me about the sexualization of certain races in BioWare fantasy worlds. Sexual and racial discrimination is written into…

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May 11th

…many years, balancing their need to blend in with their need to connect with others like them.

I could drag the comparison out, but it’s clear: the Jumi are closeted. But what drives a need for such furtiveness? In Legend of Mana, genocide.

Tomodachi Waifu

On the subject of queer themes, Nintendo’s North American PR touched a raw nerve this week when it told the Associated Press it would not be including same-sex marriage into its upcoming life sim/toy Tomodachi Life, implying that to do so would be a “form of social commentary.”

In an…

May 25th

Hello! It is May 25th – or, as we call it in the UK, 25th May. It’s a beautiful summer’s day in Britain, which means there are only a few hours until it rains again. So let’s get this over with so I can frolic in the sunshine! Welcome to This Week in Videogame Blogging!

Rules, Norms, and Laws

Nintendo’s troubling handling of same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life continues to reverberate through the blogosphere. Todd Harper writes for Polygon about how the choice between diversity and enjoyment is a false one, also referencing a talk

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July 27th

…I should run over now. At these engagements, each action takes a bit of energy. When you run out, but try to continue, the game tells you that you are tired.

It does seem tiring. […] For Mrs. Kardashian West, however, this isn’t a diversion. This is her reality. She doesn’t have a choice on whether or not she is scrutinized. She had a choice when her sex tape was released—be forever known as a woman who had a sex tape, or try and take control of that situation. She no longer gets to have “off the clock.”

August 10th

Sex [and Gender], Baby

In an open interview, Cara Ellison talks with Nina Freeman, among other things, about how sex informs her game design, and the control she garners via game creation.

Also this week, mrsdawnaway discusses the literal objectification of women in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, stating,

Painting someone turns that person from a ‘someone’ to a ‘something’; you can possess a painting in a way that it is impossible to possess a person. So when Yuga is running around Hyrule acquiring pieces for his art collection (to use his