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July 11th

…myself relating to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in the toughest moments of our time. It’s also the story of how it came to an end in late 2020, and what followed afterwards.”

Material Stakes

Questions of art, exhibition, materiality, and embodiment abound in our next section with a focus on art installations, adaptation, serious games, and more.

  • Enter The Data Dungeon: Sex Work & Digital Domination | Immerse Lena Chen situates the goals of the online art installation/performance Play4UsNow in a digital landscape increasingly hostile to sex workers.
  • Getting physical with…

September 25th

…the enjoyment of Immortality less in the twist as the thing and more in its context–the story it is embedded in, the interface which must be mastered to explore it.

“I do think that, for its many exquisitely played ‘normal’ scenes, Immortality’s design relies on the thematic reveal, the interface meta, to pull a twist on an already compelling story. A piece of fiction about people trying to make films, be human and take joy in art, to have sex and resist abuse, then to tell stories about sex and abuse, is heightened supernaturally in a way…

February 18th

…in the sky, I felt like maybe I could fly with Zee to the surface of that giant planet too.”

Textual Content

Our next two picks this week unpack thorny tensions on how sex and relationships are structured and authored in games.

  • The Industry Is Divided On How To Write Video Game Romance | Kotaku Kenneth Shepard puts creatives in conversation, looking at storytelling approaches ranging from more defined characters and sexualities to more free-form “playersexual” designs.
  • Queer Porn Games Just Don’t Do It For Me | cohost Callisto Jupiter-Four asks who actually has…

March 10th

…Here are the final three pieces in the first issue of the Adult Analysis Anthology. Check ’em out!

  • The Surprising Likeability of DoHna DoHna | cohost Iyane Agossah finds a crunchy critique of institutional power structures in a sex trafficking eroge (content notifications for discussion of games involving sex trafficking and sexual assault).
  • Patching in holes and hogs in adult games | cohost Mr Hands documents a patchwork history of gatekeeping and access of adult games on Steam (content notifications for discussion of games involving sexual violence and exploitation, incest, and underage characters).
  • Fuck this Game:

No More Feminism: Post-Feminism and No More Heroes

…start of 2008. Who else but the critical gaming crowd writes about games a whole year after their release? As such, I feel no compulsion recommending ‘No More Feminism: Post-Feminism and No More Heroes‘ to Critical Distance readers. Here’s the money quote:

No More Heroes positions itself as a postfeminist videogame that hails the player as a masculine male and plays on gender and sexual stereotypes of heteronormativity with a tongue planted firmly in cheek and a knowing wink directed at the gamer from behind the yellow pair of hipster shades its protagonist wears, an effect which ridicules

Critical Distance: The First Month and the Future

…been the larger, more comprehensive ones. Specifically, Denis Farr’s recent Achievement Unlocked: Sex which, while focused on the discussion of a single post, elaborates on certain points with links to other articles and the ideas contained within them.

This is where I see the most fruitful area for the future of Critical Distance coverage – in being able to bring together and synthesize a new post and new coverage from disparate arguments and multiple sources. Think of it as providing the community with access to your memory, your own history of reading, your store of knowledge gained through the…

Punk and Indie Games

Japanese designer Suda 51 has also called for more “punk games”, albeit with a fairly unique definition of what that means.

Suda said that a truly punk game will strike a chord with gamers the same way the Sex Pistols, Joy Division or Nirvana impacted his view of music. “We need to create that kind of game… I’d like to ask publishers to help us and support us [to make more punk games],” he said.

However, Greg Costikyan pokes holes in these comparisons:

The punk aesthetic is relentlessly anti-intellectual. …[However,] the Ramones

May 31st

…playing as the racist, sexist, misogynistic protagonist in The Witcher. He makes a great point about how, if we are expecting games to evolve and mature, then we are going to have to get used to [edit: mature content] in them, much like in other media. He says,

If we want mature games in the truest sense of the word then at some point they will need to engage with themes of prejudice and intolerance. It stands to reason that such games will need to feature characters who are sexist, racist or otherwise prejudiced and offensive.

July 26th

…first game I’d played that actually used sex in a non-awkward, compelling manner. Here’s an excerpt in which he talks about

Javier: …if I can extrapolate from my experience with other games: at best the story is “decent” compared with linear media such as movies or TV, and the point of [mainstream] games is not really playing the story, but the story is a device to “dress up” the game. In Masq the story IS the game.

So, that’s last week covered – now we can get into This Week In Videogame Blogging.

David Wildgoose…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

August 2nd

…woman) on-screen – that’s me. I don’t want to just sit there watching myself have intercourse if I can’t control it. And I definitely don’t want to control it, because trying to steer a sex act using a game controller is as ludicrous as ludicrous gets.

The most prominent piece of news this week was that Gay Gamer respectfully declined to be a runner-up winner for EA’s Dante’s Inferno “Acts of Lust” contest. As Tom Chick said on his own blog, “Hell hath no fury like that of a gay man ridiculing heterosexual folly.”

The Runner is…