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jenn frank

Discover a Critical Culture

…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…

September 30th

Wake me up when September ends… Oh! Wait, that’s today! Well then, it must be time for This Week in Videogame Blogging!

We’re starting out the gate with a couple tales on the theme of growing up gaming, and I warn you in advance, they are both heavy hitters. The first comes to us from Unwinnable’s Jenn Frank, on grappling with the loss of a parent, and the games of spaceflight she grew up with. The second from The Rumpus’s Molly McArdle relates to us what it’s like growing up in and out of hospitals, and inside the world

January 20th

…Dead Island‘s troubled history.

On Gameranx, Jenn “Tweets About Torsos” Frank reminds readers that the statuette follows on the heels of a long history of depersonalizing the sexualization of women’s bodies:

Stop right there. Stop in your tracks. No. Wrong. No, we would never do this to a male torso. Maybe some of us would like George Clooney to shut up and be pretty, but that is no mainstream fantasy. The rest of us actually do like him with a head and arms. We expect him to be heroic and masterly in movies, and we pay him for it.


March 30th

…If you haven’t had a chance, pop on over to Kiai’s website and see why.

On Gamasutra, Storm8 developer Elizabeth Sampat has also posted the full text of her GDC talk, concerning hiring discrepancies in the game industry. Don’t read the comments.

Or, if you were like Jenn Frank and you read the comments, head on over to Frank’s post on the same site, which serves as a direct response to the claim that studios should hire based on merit, rather than gender, as though the two were mutually exclusive criteria.

O Brave New World With Such People In It

September 14th

…mainstream attention. I don’t want to be treated like a victim, and it’s only when I’m abused that people will listen. I’m more proactive, generative, and loving; this just isn’t the place for me.

Jenn Frank goes into detail on her decision to quit games writing as well. It’s a decision that, while it’s a huge blow to games writing, means something more liberating to Frank than initially thought:

It’s almost ugly to say, but I’m actually grateful to GamerGate. All this time, I’ve felt beholden to video games, and to the people who make them or play them or…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

June 29th

…veterans Jenn Frank and Rowan Kaiser, who have both joined the growing ranks of game critics/journalists with Patreon accounts (Critical Distance is itself largely supported by similar pledges).

At issue here is not that scores of writers are out of work or struggling, but that their unemployment is posed as a moral or professional failing. The fact is that if even considerably qualified writers like Kaiser and Frank are turning to crowdfunding solutions like Patreon, any supposed meritocratic system is busted.

Paste associate editor and fellow industry veteran Maddy Myers puts it quite well in a personal blog post, in…

January 8th

…art” arguments by now, but I found Lantz’s approach to the topic rather refreshing. Also, as somebody who has spent rather more time playing go than any other game, I was particularly taken by his positing that

I think it’s also true to say that go is beautiful because we’ve been playing it for hundreds and hundreds of years, that in a way go is just a corner of the universe that somebody carved out and pointed to and said “What about this?”

Also touching on non-digital games (and reminding me of L. B. Jeffries), we have Jenn Frank of…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

January 24th

It’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go. Mercifully closer is This Week in Videogame Blogging, which just happens to be right here.

Jenn Frank of Infinite Lives writes one of the best explications of the importance of feminist readings of videogames in ‘Videogame feminist of the decade; or, when “You” is a girl’. It’s a hard one to sum up in the short blurb I usually do for these sorts of pieces, so here’s a big chunk that hopefully illustrates some of its more critical points. Frank is talking about Portal here, and the

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

May 11th

…others to see you in a new light. You have the potential here to get lots of young people interested in global politics — why not take it?

Apart from hosting Call of Duty ads, Vice also serves as the latest platform for Jenn Frank, who returns with a tale of the heyday of college campus piracy and shareware procrastination that seems almost transcendent and mystical. And she’s talking about Snoods, for gossakes.

Space and Place

For his latest Patreon-funded piece, Stephen Beirne has produced a dense, satisfying analysis of worldbuilding in Demons Souls.

Meanwhile at Paste, Gita Jackson questions…

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2013

…in one.

Jenn Frank for Gameranx deconstructs what Dead Island Riptide‘s headless woman torso statue says about the culture that produced it and what it represents.

Trigger Warning end.

Polygon’s Tracey Lien looks into the past to find the story the now calcified stereotype of video game being for boys.

Samantha Allen wrote An Open Letter to Games Media about their comment policies and the image they are projecting at re/Action Magazine.

In addition, she wrote about her work using video games to teach intersectionality at Emory University, first with Halo‘s Skulls and then with Bastion‘s Idols.

Simon Parkin wrote…