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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 glader 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.

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the first podcast in the brand new Critical Distance Confab!

We were so impressed with Mattie Brice’s moderation of our Black History Month podcast that we’ve asked her back to helm a new, monthly series. Each month on the 15th, Mattie will be tackling exciting, weighty topics flanked by special guests from across the critical landscape — and perhaps a few surprises as well!

This month, Mattie sits down with fellow critic-developers Lana Polansky and Cameron Kunzelman, to discuss how they got involved in game design, why game development interests them, and how becoming a developer has changed how they write about games.


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CAST

Mattie Brice: Alternate Ending

Lana Polansky: Sufficiently Human

Cameron Kunzelman: This Cage is Worms

SHOW NOTES

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

In honor of Black History Month or maybe, as the discussion recognizes, in submission to it, we at Critical Distance are honored to be host to a discussion of three highly intelligent black critics to discuss both the concept of Black History Month and what it means to be black in video games and the wider culture. Now, I’ll just get out of the way and let them take it from here.

CAST

Mattie Brice: Alternate Ending

Zolani Stewert: The Fengxi Box

Evan Narcisse: Kotaku

SHOW NOTES

Bow Nigger

The Arcade Review

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

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And comes close another year and along with it our fourth end of year look back podcast. 2013 is behind us and we at Critical Distance look one last time at the major points that occurred along the way. We did our best to keep the podcast as manageable as possible, time wise. This year, instead of breaking it up between the events that happen and games that came out we’ve done them all at once in a single chronological run through of the year.

CAST

Eric Swain: The Game Critique

Kris Ligman: Dire Critic

Alan Williamson: Five out of Ten

Cameron Kunzelman: This Cage is Worms

SHOW NOTES

FUCK VIDEOGAMES

Tropes vs. Woman in Video Games

The Creepy Side of E3

The Collapse of the Animal Crossing Economy and the Rise of Villager Trading

Video Game Therapist

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Part 1: Direct Download

Part 2: Direct Download

Enjoy!

For quite a while now Lara Croft and her Tomb Raider franchise has been wallowing in irrelevance. One too many subpar games with date control scheme and sensibilities holding it down. Then, earlier this year, the reboot of Tomb Raider launched the franchise back into the public eye and brought with it much examination and discussion. Three people were driven to have a voice-to-voice conversation about it. They did so. This is that conversation.

Podcast: Direct Download

CAST

Zach Alexander: Hailing From the Edge

Kris Ligman: Dire Critic

Cameron Kunzelman: This is Cage of Worms

SHOW NOTES

Tomb Raider Review Mutliplatform

The role of her life.

Legends Of The Hidden Template

Regarding The Pain Of Avatars

Tomb Raider: Lara Croft and the Secret of the Tenth Death Totem

Tomb Raider: How long does it take to become an axe murderer?

Where have I heard the wind in Tomb Raider before?

Why The Fearful Hero Is A Good Thing For Video Games

What five games say about violence

Notes on Tomb Raider

This isn’t the article I wanted to write about Tomb Raider

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Sorry this is late, but it is finally here.

Back in March of 2011 I played Deirdra Kiai’s recently released Life Flashes By and wanted to talk to her about it. I asked for an interview and she graciously accepted. Through a series of semi-ludicrous events that interview has ended up here for your enjoyment. You can download and play Life Flashes By at Deirdra’s site as well as check out her other work.

Podcast: Direct Download

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy