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Episode 25 – The History of Everyday Games

April 17th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 25 – The History of Everyday Games)

This month we are joined by game historian, University of Lancaster PhD candidate and editor-in-chief of Silverstring Media’s Critical Publishing arm, Zoya Street. Zoya has written two seminal books on games, Dreamcast Worlds and Delay, and is the founder of the wonderful free e-zine, Memory Insufficient. Here, we talk about his background in design history and what that lens means for videogames as artifacts as well as what isn’t said by the artifact itself, but rather is left to the community surrounding to interpret and define. Have a listen.

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SHOW NOTES

Dreamcast Worlds

Delay: Paying Attention to Energy Mechanics

Memory Insufficient Back Catalog

Memory Insufficient at Silverstring Media

e:\>_

“Between excessive fantasy and selfish disillusionment” – Reading a Japanese essay from 1999 about visual novel ‘Captain Love’

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 01 – Cyberpunk and Personal Stories

March 31st, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 01 – Cyberpunk and Personal Stories)

Welcome to the first Critical Distance Confab minisode!

We’re trying something new with the podcast. There are so many games coming out at every level, everyday. So many of them fall through the cracks for one reason or another. Everybody has asked themselves the question, “How did this game not get talked about? How is there no criticism on it?” We are a curatorial site. As curators we see the conversations that happen and as individuals often the conversations that do not happen.

In an effort to combat this in our own small little way, we have decided to do a series of minisodes, on a trial run, that will specifically highlight those games that fell through the cracks. Every month, one guest and I will list off three games, each in hopes that the critical community sees them, tries them and maybe write about them, giving them the criticism we think they deserve. Anything goes. They can be anything from ich.io art games to prestige indie games to missed AAA titles, just so long as they are games that missed the boat for one reason or another.

This month’s guest is Polygon Senior Editor, Danielle Riendeau. Take a listen!

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Danielle’s Picks

Dyscourse

Disorder

VA-11 HALL-A

Eric’s Picks

Journal

Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut

Beneath Floes

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 24 – The Zine Knight Rises

March 26th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 24 – The Zine Knight Rises)

Continuing on with our theme of notable published video game books, we turn our eye to the other major work on 2012, Anna Anthropy‘s Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreams, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form.

As much as it was a manifesto and a revelation back in 2012, it feels even more prescient now with all the changes and advancements that has occurred on the fringes of videogame creation since its publication. I talk with Anna about not only Rise, but also her other books, games as well as her self-published zines and how they all revolve around this do-it-yourself ethos.

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SHOW NOTES

Anna Anthropy’s Patreon

Anna Antropy’s Zine Distribution Patreon

Anna Anthropy’s Twitter

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

ZZT

Choose Your Own Death: Star Wench

A Game Design Vocabulary

Zine Store

Calamity Annie

Queers in Love at the End of the World

Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars

dys4ia

Annarchive

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 23 – Books Fight Boss

March 12th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 23 – Books Fight Boss)

Continuing on the theme of video game book publishing, we decide to talk with Gabe Durham, the founder and editor of BossFightBooks, right now, the leader in single game book criticism. As of recording he had just wrapped up the Second Season Kickstarter and was taking pitches for the backer chosen game, Shadow of the Colossus.

We talk about where the idea for BossFightBooks came from, how their publishing system works and what he’s looking for in both authors and pitches to continue providing a variety of voices, styles and games.

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SHOW NOTES

BossFightBooks

Ludologica

Fuck Videogames

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

Some Thoughts on Darius Kazemi’s Jagged Alliance 2 and my own Killing is Harmless

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 22 – On ‘Killing is Harmless’

January 13th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 22 – On ‘Killing is Harmless’)

In 2012, critic and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology PhD candidate Brendan Keogh released his long form critical piece on Spec Ops: The Line in the form of an ebook. Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line was at the time the first known published book of criticism on a single game. In the years since a cavalcade of books of video game criticism has been published and more to come in the future.

Two years after initially publishing the book, we decided to interview Brendan to get his perspective on the book, the reception and how things have change over time in his critical methods. We also get into musing on the book’s cultural and historical placement given the recent boom in video game criticism books.

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SHOW NOTES

Brendan Keogh

Critical Damage

Darius Kazemi Review: Killing is Harmless, by Brendan Keogh

Cameron  Kunzelman’s On Killing is Harmless

Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation”

Susan Sontag’s “On Style”

Noal Carroll’s On Criticism

David Sudnow’s Pilgrim in the Microworld

Spec Ops: The Line Critical Compilation

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 21 – Actually, It’s About…2014

December 17th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 21 – Actually, It’s About…2014)

It’s that time again, the end of the year is upon us. Rather than exhaustively go over everything of note that happened in 2014, instead we more skim over several various broad topics of interest. 2014 hasn’t been a pleasant year overall, but in the spirit of gladder tidings we decided to focus as much as we can on better things.

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CAST

Eric Swain: The Game Critique

Kris Ligman: Dire Critic

Alan Williamson: Five out of Ten

Lana Polansky: Sufficiently Human

SHOW NOTES

Flappy Bird is Making $50,000 A Day on Mario-Like Art

You Are Mountain

Twine, the Video Game Technology For All

Cat Petting Simulator

The Terror Aboard the Speedwell

The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo

Support Games Criticism

Critical Proximity

Video Brains

Does Twitch Plays Pokemon Give You Hope For Humanity?

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Full list of games mentioned at end: Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, Shovel Knight, Curtain, 2:22 AM, LaLa Land, Kitty Horrorshow’s games, Aeryne Wright’s games, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, The Fall, 80 Days, Gods Will Be Watching, The Niflheim, Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, Coffee: A Misunderstanding.

Episode 20 – The Founderhead

September 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 20 – The Founderhead)

Our regular podcast host Mattie Brice needs a bit of extra time for her latest interview, so we’ve dug into our archives again for yet another heretofore unheard Critical Distance Confab episode. In this installment, Eric Swain interviews our very own founder and former head curator Ben Abraham.

Part of the original games blogger boom in 2007-2008, Ben Abraham has always found himself focused on the community of critics. It led him to try and bridge many of those working unknown and segregated by the internet’s distance to eventually founding a curation site (this one!) to bring all the best writing.

Also in this podcast, we discuss some of his other notable projects and his obsession with Far Cry 2, the focal point of a few of those projects.

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SHOW NOTES

SLRC

Permanent Death – The Complete Saga

Frank Bilders is Dead

A Post-Comment World

i am ben abraham

Replayability is NOT a word

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 19 – A Critic By His Window

August 15th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 19 – A Critic By His Window)

This month we bring you another interview from the unheard archives. A few years ago Kirk Battle, going under the pseudonym L.B. Jefferies, was one of the most prolific critics of the burgeoning amateur bloggers arising from the boom of 2007 and 2008. Now he is retired from the video game criticism game. We look back on his time as a critic and his view of criticism itself.

In addition to being a personal inspiration to podcast moderator Eric Swain, Kirk Battle was named Critical Distance’s 2010 Blogger of the Year.

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SHOW NOTES

Banana Peppers Martinis

PopMatters – L.B. Jefferies

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review

Zarathusra Analysis

ZA Critique: The Darkness

ZA Critique: Okami

Lester Bangs rant

Pauline Kael – 1234

Samuel Johnson and Video Games

Does Video Games Need a Lester Bangs?

The New YouTube Video Games Criticism: An Interview with “moviebob”

Does Video Games Need a Pauline Kael?

On Design Centric Criticism

Telling Tales in Gabriel Knight 2

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 18 – The Great Curator

July 15th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 18 – The Great Curator)

This month’s podcast is all about a subject near and dear to our hearts: curation.

Here at Critical-Distance we curate games writing and other forms of criticism. But what about curation of the games themselves? Steam is getting flooded with new releases to say nothing about the games that never seem to get the spotlight at all, hidden away individual projects scattered around the web.

For this month’s podcast, Mattie brings two curators of small, free indie games (Merritt Kopas and Chris Priestman) to discuss the process and the philosophy behind what games they try to give the spotlight to and what audience they are trying to reach.

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CAST

Mattie Brice: Alternate Ending

Merritt Kopas: mkopas

Chris Priestman: Warp Door

SHOW NOTES

Forest Ambassador

Forest Ambassador Patreon

Forest Ambassador Twitter

Warp Door

Warp Door work in progress

War Door Twitter

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 17 – The Blogfather

June 15th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 17 – The Blogfather)

Due to some unforeseen circumstances (namely, an impromptu digital game conference), Mattie Brice is unavailable to bring us a podcast this month.

Fortunately, we dug into the archives and found this gem: an unreleased interview with Michael “Brainygamer” Abbott. Recorded about two years ago, most of what we talk about is his historical perspective from the beginning wave of internet bloggers and critics and his own view on video game criticism.

We hope you enjoy!

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SHOW NOTES

Brainy Gamer Podcast

Bloody Play

I’m your huckleberry

A conversation about Braid

Prince of quitting

RPG Syllabus

Unplayable

Portal on the booklist

Seeking the light

Look at the camera and smile: No More Heroes and the New Wave

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy