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

Minisode 04 – Wandering Around and Feeling

June 30th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 04 – Wandering Around and Feeling)

Welcome to another minisode of the Critical Distance Confab.

Unlike our main podcast series, the 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 from 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 time is freelance writer for Paste Magazine, Imran Khan.

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Imran’s Picks

Petrichor by Sundae Month

Fallow by Rook

Rain, House, Eternity by Kitty Horrorshow

Eric’s Picks

EDDA by Diane Mueller

Small Worlds by David Shute

The Graveyard by Tale of Tales

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 27 – Review Comes For The Arcade

June 16th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 27 – Review Comes For The Arcade)

Joining us on this month’s podcast is Zolani Stewart, fellow Critical Distance contributor and founding editor of The Arcade Review.

Coming up on its first year anniversary, Arcade Review is a publication that situates itself as an arts magazine first and a games magazine second. Wishing to break away from the stagnant circles of what is traditionally considered games writing, Zolani, with some help, has created a space where he can foster the type of writing he and others would like to see. In our podcast, we discuss how the magazine has sharpened its focus over time, in terms of both its philosophical bedrock as well as the more visible aspects of its design and layout. Enjoy.

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SHOW NOTES

The Arcade Review

The Arcade Review Patreon

Why Weird Games Are Important

Glitches: A Kind of History

We Who?

Predatory Queerness: A Response to “Neighborhood Bondage”

Lana and Zolani Visit A Gallery

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 03 – B-grade Games

May 29th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 03 – B-grade Games)

Welcome to another minisode of the Critical Distance Confab.

These minisodes are something different than our main podcast series. At the end of every month, myself and a guest, will list off a few games each that haven’t gotten the attention of critical discourse we feel they deserve. These games can be anything from ich.io art games to prestige indie games to left by the wayside AAA games.

This month I’m joined by the editor-in-chief of the micro zine ZEAL, Aevee Bee.

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Aevee’s Picks

Drakengard 3 by Square Enix

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair by Nippon Ichi Software

Odin’s Sphere by Atlus

Eric’s Picks

Hand of Fate by Defiant Development

Memoria by Daedalic Entertainment

ICBM by REPUVLIC

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 26 – Five out of Na Pali

May 26th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Episode 26 – Five out of Na Pali)

This month we have a double, yet related, feature.

First, in side A, I talk with Alan Williamson and Lindsey Joyce, the editor-in-chief and managing editor respectively of Five out of Ten. We chat about the creation and ongoing process of creating the magazine, what it’s like working with a hand of experience and what it’s like learning the ropes.

Then, in side B, Alan Williamson returns, this time, with his co-author Kaitlin Tremblay to talk about their book, Escape to Na Pali: Journey to the Unreal, that came out of an upgraded Five out of Ten pitch. They explain their love of the game and the collaborative process for crafting the collection of essays.

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Direct Download Side B

SHOW NOTES

Five out of Ten

Escape to Na Pali: Journey to the Unreal

Five out of Ten Patreon

Reality Check: Murder We Wrote

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 02 – Interactive Fiction and Object Toys

April 30th, 2015 | Posted by Eric Swain in Critical Distance Confab: - (Comments Off on Minisode 02 – Interactive Fiction and Object Toys)

Welcome to a new minisode of the Critical Distance Confab.

In case you are just joining us or need a refresher, we here at Critical Distance are trying something new with a series of podcast minisodes. Here, each month, myself and a guest, will list off a number of games, aiming for a minimum of three each, that have not gotten the spotlight we feel they deserve. These are games that haven’t gotten any criticism or otherwise aren’t part of the conversation for whatever reason and we think they should be, even if just a little. These can be anything from itch.io art games to prestige indie titles to AAAs that have fallen through the cracks.

This month’s guest is editor-in-chief of Silverstring Media’s critical publishing arm, Zoya Street. Zoya is the author of two seminal books on games, Dreamcast Worlds and Delay, and is the founder of the wonderful free e-zine, Memory Insufficient.

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Zoya’s Picks

Say When by Kaitlin Tremblay + Emilie Majarian

CHYRZASunset Spirit Steel by Kitty Horrorshow

Brick BlockIslandProcedural planet customiser by Oskar Stålberg

Eric’s Picks

The Fall by Over the Moon

Life Flashes ByCoffee: A MisunderstandingDominique Pamplemousse by Deirdra Kiai aka Squinky

Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! by inkle Studios

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

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 – Owlchemy Labs

Disorder – Swagabyte Games

VA-11 HALL-A – Sukeban Games

Eric’s Picks

Journal – Locked Door Puzzle

Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut – Harebrained Schemes

Beneath Floes – Kevin Snow + Patrick Bonaduce

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