Minisode 09 – Long Games and Short Games

February 1st, 2016 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 09 – Long Games and Short Games)

New year, new games to discuss on the Critical Distance Confab.

With the minisodes, every month, both I and a co-host, go back and forth listing off a game we think hasn’t gotten the critical attention it deserves until we’ve each done three. The hope being that some of you listening will take the initiative and fix that oversight. These games can be from anywhere. Itch.io art games, prestige level indie games or even AAA games that fell through the cracks for whatever reason.

Co-hosting with me this month is lecturer and critic, Professor Todd Harper.

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Todd’s Picks

Xenoblade Chronicles X by Monolith Soft

Dragon’s Crown + Odin’s Sphere + Muramasa: The Demon Blade by Vanillaware

Super Robots Wars Z by Namco Bandai

Eric’s Pick

Sunless Sea by Failbetter Games

Knee Deep by Prologue Games

Dr. Laneskov, The Tiger and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist by Crows Crows Crows

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 32 – Supplementary Grades

January 15th, 2016 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 32 – Supplementary Grades)

Welcome to the new year of podcasts here at Critical Distance!

Last year we went over publications, both books and magazines, in the critical video game sphere. Having, for the most part, run out of those we turn our eyes to different forms of criticism. Now we turn out eyes to video. Joining me this month is game designer and the writer behind the Extra Credits series, James Portnow.

Starting out as a final course project for fellow Extra Credits creator, Daniel Floyd, the series has only grown in the years since. Every week the crew at Extra Credits creates a short cartoon Youtube video as a basic introduction of design concepts, craft implementation and surrounding issues of the videogames industry. Over the years, supplementary shows have been added. You can check them all out (as well as specific episodes we discuss on the podcast) below!

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SHOW NOTES

Extra Credits Channel

Extra History

Extra Remix

Extra Play

Design Club

Video Games and Storytelling

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

Spec Ops: The Line Pt. 1

Spec Ops: The Line Pt. 2

Power Creep in Hearthstone – What it teaches us about games

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 31 – Back to the 2015

December 30th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 31 – Back to the 2015)

Welcome back to another Critical Distance Confab podcast, End of the Year edition! 2015 is almost behind us, so just lean back and listen as myself and a couple of colleagues skim over some of the major discussions that came up during the year.

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CAST

Eric Swain: The Game Critique

Kris Ligman: Dire Critic

Alan Williamson: Five out of Ten

Riley MacLeod: Twitter

SHOW NOTES

Colorblind: On The Witcher 3, Rust and gaming’s race problem by Tauriq Moosa

Battlefield: Hardline Review: Cop Out by Austin Walker

Undertale is Tearing GameFAQs Apart by Patricia Hernandez

Hideo Kojima is the Jonathan Franzen of Videogames by Kevin Nguyen

Punk Games by Zoe Quinn

We are not colonists by Gita Jackson

The queer masculinity of stealth games by Riley MacLeod

Video Games’ Blackness Problem by Evan Narcisse et al

Peter Molyneux Interview by John Walker

The vast, unplayable history of videogames by Gita Jackson

Should I Stay or Should I Go: How to Stay Afloat in the Games Media by Luke Winkie

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 08 – Breaking the Mold and Cultural Musings

November 30th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 08 – Breaking the Mold and Cultural Musings)

Welcome to the last minisode of the year on the Critical Distance Confab.

How this works is that each of us will go back and forth listing off three games each that we feel haven’t gotten the critical attention they deserve in the hopes one of your will take it as a challenge. These games can be anything from Ich.io art games to prestige level indie games to AAA games that fell through the cracks for whatever reason.

On co-hosting duties with me this month on this chilly November day is GiantBomb writer and critic, Austin Walker.

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Austin’s Picks

Invisible, Inc. by Klei Entertainment

Cradle by Flying Cafe for Semianimals

Cibele by Nina Freeman

Eric’s Picks

The Cat Lady by Harvester Games

Tales from the Borderlands by Telltale Games

NaissanceE by Limasse Five

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 30 – Everything’s Better Embed

November 18th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 30 – Everything’s Better Embed)

Concluding this year’s series of interviews of the authors and editors of video game criticism publications we turn our eyes to gonzo. Cara Ellison‘s Embed With Games: A Year on the Couch with Game Developers brings the long form, lifestyle gonzo journalism to video games as she chronicles her year long journey around the world to see various small and independent game artists in their element. Come and listen to us discuss the influence of an artist’s location, the Hawthorne effect, the process of choosing who to cover in the first place and much more.

We hope you enjoyed our year of interviews looking into the books and periodicals of video game criticism and also hope that they managed to add something to the conversation. Next year, we’re moving on to criticism in a different form.

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SHOW NOTES

Embed With Games

Embed With tumblr

Gaming Made Me: Tomb Raider

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 07 – Horror Games

October 31st, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 07 – Horror Games)

Welcome to a new minisode on the Critical Distance Confab.

This month we have a special Halloween edition where we will be focusing on quote/unquote horror games to highlight. As usual these are games that haven’t gotten what myself and a co-host feel is a fair shake in criticism and attention. We each will bring three such games to the table. They can be anything, Ich.io games, indie games or even AAA games you might not have tried.

With me for this theme month is fellow cohort of PopMatters Games’ section and indie horror aficionado, Nick Dinicola.

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Nick’s Picks

Uncanny Valley  by Cowardly Creations

Dead Space: Extraction by Electronic Arts

Dark Echo by RAC7 Games

Eric’s Picks

The Cursed Forest by KPy3O

The Charnel House Trilogy by Owl Cave

Fingerbones + The Moon Sliver + The Music Machine + A Wolf in Autumn by David Szymanski

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 06 – Relationships and Forward Motion

September 30th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 06 – Relationships and Forward Motion)

Welcome back for a new minisode of the Critical Distance Confab.

If you don’t know, these minisodes are a chance to introduce and highlight a bunch of games that hasn’t gotten criticism… yet. I and a new guest each month will list off 3 such games each. They can be anything. Ich.io art games, prestige level indie games, all the way to AAA games that might have slipped between the cracks.

Joining me this month is critic and writer Gita Jackson, whom you may know from Paste Magazine and the Match 3 podcast.

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Gita’s Picks

Siren for Hire by Maddy Myers

We Know The Devil by Aevee Bee and Mia Shwartz

Grow Home by Ubisoft

Eric’s Picks

Framed by Loveshack

Technobabylon by Technocrat Games

Unwind by Jijjy

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 29 – Shoot Them!

September 16th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 29 – Shoot Them!)

This month we turn our attention to the anthology book Shooter. Edited by Patrick Lindsey and Reid McCarter, the book brings together 15 essays and a forward by Clint Hocking, placing a wide variety of shooter video games in a historical and cultural context.

Unlike previous books, as this one is an anthology and in that spirit we decided to get some of the writers for some micro interviews. We discuss their focus on a broad genre as opposed to a single game, what they were trying to say with the book and the process of putting together such an anthology. Thank you to Shooter contributors Robert Rath, Corey Milne and Javy Gwaltney for joining us on this very special podcast!

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CAST

Patrick Lindsey: Han Freaking Solo

Reid McCarter: Digital Love Child

Robert Rath: Rob Writes Pulp

Corey Milne: The Serious Work of Play

Javy Gwaltney: Antagonize The Horn

SHOW NOTES

Shooter

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 05 – Text Games, Far Away Places

July 31st, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 05 – Text Games, Far Away Places)

We have a new minisode of the Critical Distance Confab.

These minisodes are a chance for me and a guest co-host to highlight some games that have gotten virtually no criticism written about them. This is our chance to correct that. They can be anything. Ich.io art games, prestige level indie games, all the way to AAA games that might have slipped between the cracks. Though generally they will skew a little smaller.

Joining me this month is Critical Distance’s own senior curator and my boss, Kris Ligman.

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Kris’s Picks

Shall we date? The Niflheim+ by NTT Solmare Corp.

Killing Time At Lightspeed by Gritfish

Tour de Akiba by AM Cosmos

Related reading: “Six Japanese Dating Sims to Fall In Love With by AM Cosmos

Eric’s Picks

Unrest by Pyrodactyl

Monument Valley by ustwo

Escape from the Man Sized Cabinet by Stephen Colbert (or his staff writer)

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 28 – Uninterviewable

July 15th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 28 – Uninterviewable)

Continuing our themed series on videogame critical publications, this month we turn our lonely eyes toward Unwinnable, which last year launched a weekly e-zine component. Editor-in-chief Stu Horvath was gracious enough to join me to talk about Unwinnable, Unwinnable Weekly and all the other Un-labled projects that he grants a platform to.

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SHOW NOTES

Unwinnable

Unwinnable Weekly

Unwinnable Weekly Special Summer Fun Issue

Unlistenable

Playable

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy