December 22nd

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

As the year draws to a close, keep your loved ones close, and your copies of Edge closer.

Welcome… to This Week in Videogame Blogging

New Horizons

On Paste, Stephen Swift offers an interesting analysis of how Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies evolves the franchise for the better.

Meanwhile, on PopMatters Moving Pixels, regular columnist Jorge Albor muses on recent pro player frictions at Riot, and this brave new world of eSports labor relations we find ourselves in.

You may have heard about Youtube’s recent Content ID crackdown affecting, among other things, quite a few gameplay reviews and Let’s Plays. Gamer Law’s Jas Purewal provides a useful primer on where this puts video reviewers and LPers on the platform right now.

New Aesthetics

Back on PopMatters, our own Eric Swain explores Kentucky Route Zero‘s rejection of a ‘Platonic Ideal’ of game-ness:

While Kentucky Route Zero does ostensibly exist within a video game space, it is more interested in the function of spaces within that space. It is based on the expressive forms of experimental theater, installation art and modernist literature, not on the ideal of the holodeck. It creates non-Euclidean spaces that cannot exist, not as an expression of the possibilities of video game space when unshackled by the constraints of the real world, but as an outright rejection of the common standard of video game spaces.

New Voices, New Faces

Confused about what this hubhub about ‘diversity lounges’ is all about? Gamasutra editor-at-large Leigh Alexander puts it all into context and speaks with diversity advocates for their thoughts on the initiative.

You may have also heard, recently, that a white supremacist group in all seriousness adopted imagery from BioShock Infinite (without Irrational or 2K’s involvement) to advance its views. On Design Is Law, Jeff Kunzler remarks on how unironic this is, reminding readers just how fraught with problems the game’s race representation is.

Lastly, over on Kotaku, Evan Narcisse — the son of Haitian immigrants — shares a very affecting essay on seeing some of his own heritage explored in Assassin’s Creed IV‘s new DLC:

Never in a million years did I ever think I’d hear Haitian Kreyol in a video game. And yet, there it was in Freedom Cry, as lilting and percussive as when my mom spoke it. For the few hours I steered [protagonist] Adéwalé through his saga, I didn’t feel horribly under-represented or taken for granted in the medium I write about. It’s a feeling I could use more of.

Out with the Old…

Thanks for reading! As you may already have guessed, this will be our last This Week in Videogame Blogging of 2013. Next week, our very good Eric Swain will be presenting the 2013 This Year in Videogame Blogging mega-roundup. There is still some time to send in your own nominations!

We will be resuming TWIVGB as normal the first week of January, so please keep weekly submissions coming via Twitter mention and the appropriate part of our email submissions form.

That’s all from us for now. Stay as warm or as cool as your hemisphere and personal body regulation demands. Be sure to stop by next Sunday for our year-end roundup, and — uh — sometime for our end-of-the-year podcast! Happy holidays!