March 26th

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

Every week, games criticism seems to get better and better at pro-actively addressing the political and historical circumstances we occupy. This week is a stellar example, with pieces covering prisons, futurism, and feminist readings of horror.

Muñoz, Camus, Watts

I’m starting this roundup with a section in which every piece gets a pull-quote, because I was struck by how each piece uses quotation in order to locate games in a wider political project.

Muñoz argues that no one is truly queer, and queerness is always an ideal that we chase. Queerness is always “not yet here.” […] Ask any VR evangelist and they’ll confess the technology is “not yet here” but argue there is still so much untapped potential to explore.”

“Albert Camus said that we have to imagine Sisyphus, the Greek man doomed to roll a rock up a hill for eternity, as happy. The very absurdity of his task gives him purpose.”

“Speaking in the mid-20th century, for Watts that looming threat was the Atom bomb. In the early 21st Century context, that particular inextinguishable threat remains, but it’s combined with a new catastrophe, climate change, a sickness brought on by the industrialisation of individualism.”

“At the heart of Everything lies a contradiction. Though the narration dotted around this seemingly infinite universe—cherry-picked from the archive of philosopher Alan Watts—speaks of “interconnection”, of life being “one organism,” the game itself is obsessed by the idea of discrete, separate, identifiable objects. “

Jail

Two stories about educators in prisons came out this week, both of them fascinating as well as provoking questions about how games as machines for user agency function as art works among people whose freedom has been explicitly taken from them.

“Pedro Paiva told me that one of his students, in a playful mood, once said that he would distribute the games he was making while drug-dealing. I thought it was a funny scene. The administrative personnel weren’t so appreciative of the project’s humor, though. One day a police officer entered Pedro Paiva’s class without notice. “

Special girls and the monstrous feminine

This week there were a lot of pieces that all touched on different aspects of feminist horror and its opposites.

Content warning across this section for violence against women and children, body horror, and sexual assault.

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Tabletop

Two articles gave readers a great starting point for considering tabletop games as a creative and community-based hobby.

Breath of the Wild

Finally, Breath of the Wild has inspired a lot of discussion. Here are two highlights.

“That mark on your map means you can go there. That mark on your map means you should go there. That mark on your map means that there is #content waiting. That mark on your map deliberately defines a Something, and whether it means to or not it simultaneously defines the space between itself and the next mark as a Nothing. Here are the points, the five dozen points, that you need to pay attention to. Ignore the rest. It’s fly-over flavor.”

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