Today’s This Week in Videogame Blogging contains slightly less than the usual crop of links to the best videogame criticism and writing of the week. I think it’s partly because we’ve reached the first real lull of the year in terms of releases. We’ve met and written about the onslaught of Bayonetta/Bad Company 2/ Bioshock 2/Darksiders/Just Cause 2/Sleep is Death plus a host of others, and it now seems like we’ve collectively taken a bit of a week off.

Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw hasn’t been sleeping, however, as he writes about why he likes Kratos so much, primarily because he’s a character and not a blank slate:

The “relatable hero” thing is an idea that a lot of people in mainstream media seem to have gotten hold of, and which seems to infect a lot of games. That an audience needs to be able to project, and so the central figure should therefore be this blank, predictable everyman. The bog-standard “protagonist.” And I find it a little offensive that story writers think I would relate to most of the bland, personality-deficient bubble-people that take this role so often.

At The Border House this week Alex Raymond quite rightly points out just how worrisome a picture has been painted so far [mirror] of Gears of War 3’s treatment and representation of women, essentially, relegating them to them the role of human ‘incubators’.

Michael Abbott at The Brainy Gamer is pretty keen on Sleep is Death this week, offering some tips from his experience with theatre direction that may help both players and controllers. Nels Anderson writing for his blog Above49 also has some good advice for Sleep is death players taken from the book ‘Truth in Comedy: A manual of improvisation’.

Kyle Orland at his new website The Game Beat has a short piece about the reader/writer value proposition (with thanks to Mitch Krpata for passing word of the new site).

HardCasual’s Filipe Salgado reports on a domestic dispute that erupted over a N64 [dead link, no mirror available].

Jorge Albor at the Experience Points blog writes about ‘Salarian Dilemmas’ in the second part of his series on the politics of the Mass Effect universe.

Jun Chen wrote to me to say that he thinks “Square Enix is laughing at us, [and] that Just Cause 2 is actually a smart game posing as a dumb one”, see what you think [dead link, no mirror available]. And on the subject of Just Cause 2 – Tom Cross writes about the game also, suggesting that, “Just Cause 2 is what I thought everyone in this industry had been waiting for”, i.e. a big, dumb, explosive videogame.

Adam Ruch at his Flickering Colours blog talks about the relative lack of difficulty in both Assassin Creed games [mirror] and proposes a couple of ways to increase the sense of desperation. Coincidentally I had a conversation with a friend about this very subject this week.

Have you heard of the Vintage Game Club? It’s been around for a while, since 2008 no less, but it’s recently had a significant facelift and a re-jigged approach to playing through classic, ‘vintage’ games. Go have a look and see if it takes your fancy [mirror]. (Full disclosure: Critical Distance and the VGC enjoy a close working relationship and we have an interest in seeing the VGC flourish.)

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