October 6th

Well, if it isn’t our special guest, awake at last. Forgive the stasis field, but we can’t have anyone sneaking through the ventilation shafts. It’s awfully dangerous in there.

Go ahead, take in the sight. What you see up there is only a small section of the stars and systems scanned by our operation. What you don’t see is the thin layer of transparent aluminium protecting us from decompression.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

I’m afraid you missed Kris Ligman, sorry. She’s busy infiltrating IndieCade, and has moved me up from designing protocol droids to overseeing the final steps of our little project. Don’t kid yourself, you are far too late to stop it of course. Do you take me for such a rookie? Perhaps you expect me to explain our plan too. You are only here to witness its glory my friend, and then, well, you’ll see.

The Bataillon of Uniformly Terrifying Technical Supervisors informs me that the Cerebral Unicycle Transformative Information Engine has been successfully wired to our knowledge beams, so I fear our time is up.

You! Begin transmission TWIVGB-06-10-13! It’s time for This Week In Videogame Blogging.

Mine is an evil laugh!

Ahem.

Conference Thoughts

Freeplay, No Show and now IndieCade: The current series of critical get-togethers seems to have a lot of critics, as well as our senior editor, distracted. On the other hand, word of their content is slowly reaching the general internet.

First and most important is the transcript of “How To Destroy Everything, Or, Why Video Games Do Not Exist (And How This Is Great For Everyone)”, a brilliant talk given by Marigold Bartlett and Stephen Swift at Freeplay, and by “brilliant” I mean “Why are you still reading my words and not clicking the link already?”.

“Games are art” means listening to voices of dissent. It means engaging in these discussions about what our culture and our games say. That collection of words, as a predicate, is not a belief. It is a practice. It’s something you do, not something you say.

Seemingly innocuous opinions on what constitutes a video game, or how polished a game should be, or what aesthetic fits in to your taste: All these things are politically charged, whether you think they are or not. They’re all informed by a culture where certain parties control the means of production, who control the conversation.

Here Nathan Altice takes us to the intersection of games and fashion, exploring the similarities of two industries caught between personal creation and mass-produced consumerism.

Elswhere, Critdistance emeritus Ben Abraham shares a recent lecture he gave about the history of videogame journalism.

Though technically from last week, this piece by Robin Yang debunking conference myths about diversity feels very fitting now.

Academic Words

Building on prior attempts with Halo, Samantha Allen describes her experience using Bastion to teach about intersectionality.

Bastion‘s accessibility also allowed me to better illustrate my point. During my Halo activity, only a handful of students could participate at any given time, playing on two XBox 360s with just two different configurations of skulls. I simply did not have access to more systems and televisions. During my Bastion activity, however, almost all of my students could play at once in a standard university computer lab, each with their own configuration of idols.

On Play The Past, Richard Bell posits that Gone Home might be more suited to a historical view of source comparison than traditional textual analysis.

And while we are there, here’s David Hussey relating the history of videogames to the cold war.

Ashley Brown offers a glimpse of her studies of erotic role play on First Person Scholar.

L. Rhodes on the morality of Tiny Thief.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Dark Souls, by Kyle Bolton.

Videogames?

Okay, technically these aren’t videogames, but Chris Franklin has some unsorted thoughts on theme parks and how they are a bit like games anyway.

L. Rhodes wonders what a state of constant satire means for the world of GTA V.

Dan Cox talking Digital: A Love Story.

On Unwinnable, Eddie Inzauto discusses Suda51’s obsession with adolescence.

Zoya Street and Samantha Allen offer two different takes on Everlove: Rose‘s treatment of sexuality.

Eron Rauch writes about Dwarf Fortress being exhibited at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.

Soren Johnson looking back at Spore and Andreas Wangler looking back at Shelter.

The Red Cross is criticizing war crimes in videogames again, and so is Michael Schulze von Glaßer in this German piece. Another essay from the local games crit powerhouse WASD, still a thing you can buy.

Knowledge Beams Fired Sucessfully, Recharching

That’s about it for this week. Be sure to check out the current Blogs of the Round Table prompt though, and let us know if you happen upon any quality games writing, either by email or by Twitter. See you all in T minus seven days!