I stumbled upon Critical Distance as a confused, wide-eyed high school senior. At the time, my idea of games writing began and ended at reviews, features, and news stories on mainstream outlets like GameSpot, IGN, Polygon, and Kotaku. While I grew an appreciation for games as an artistic medium on such sites, I only now recognize how many of the perspectives I read were limited by a close connection to corporate consumer culture and the machine of infinite hype. Critical Distance offered something different, something exciting, something revelatory. Critical Distance has all but changed the very way I think about videogames, opening me up to the possibilities of games and the wonders of a diverse critical community.
Critical Distance exposed me to such writers as Jenn Frank, who revealed to me the beauty of writing intimately and personally about our experiences with games. I first read Lana Polansky, Zolani Stewart, and other critics via Critical Distance, who use insightful interdisciplinary approaches to understanding games alongside poetry, photography, painting, and architecture.
Critical Distance brought me to the writings of countless bloggers and cultural critics who have challenged me to examine the (often uncomfortable and exploitative) relationships between videogames and our broader culture. And most importantly, Critical Distance made me feel like I could be a part of the conversation, inviting me to participate in its Blogs of the Round Table and submit my work to This Week in Videogame Blogging.
Through Critical Distance, I’ve learned about games and sex, games and history, games and labor, games and racism, games and bodies, games and narratives, games and aesthetics. Regardless of whether or not games remain a part of my life for years to come, I know the insights of writers featured on Critical Distance will stick with me forever. I don’t exaggerate when I say that reading Critical Distance has made me a better person—because not only have I learned so much more about games through the site, but I’ve also learned so much more about our world and the struggle to make it a better place. Critical Distance is a personal treasure of insight and expression to me and an essential resource for the games community that deserves your support.