Seems everyone’s sick but me, so I will be taking control of Critical Distance this weekend to bring you TWIVGB. MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Kirk Hamilton has been on fire recently. We don’t often link to reviews, but Kirk’s piece on L.A. Noire at Kill Screen isn’t the normal consumer review and goes the extra mile in expressing the existential dilemma the game made him feel. He also has a new column on Kotaku whose inaugural post compares the feel of playing a game to the rhythm of playing an instrument.

The PopMatters crew is also on fire this week. G. Christopher Williams writes about the fatalism of the noir genre, its very American sensibilities and how it comes across in L.A. Noire. Our own Kris Ligman decides to talk about the first Dragon Age for a change to look at its presentation of class and how in the end everyone always ends up a white middle class male. And finally Scott Juster looks at one of his favorite games of last year, Vanquish and why he would apply the ‘f’ word to it: fun. Extra thoughts here.

Daniel Golding at the Kill Your Darlings blog talks about his adverse reaction to telling people what he’s studying when asked:

My unwillingness to reveal my interest in videogames was partly based on the kinds of reactions I imagined I would get. Nobody wants to be the videogame guy. Or, more to the point, nobody wants to talk to the videogame guy. And, worse than that, I’m the videogame guy who thinks they’ve an interesting enough topic for a doctoral thesis. In dinner party stakes, I’m only a few steps up from the editor of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Philosophy or someone who writes Star Wars fan fiction.

Amanda Lange at her Second Truth blog takes a look at “What’s Social in ‘Social Games’?” She looks at the common complaints of the genre and see if they are true from the player’s standpoint.

How should we judge indie games?” asks Northernlion at the Saving Progress blog by checking out three titles and the criticisms lodged at theme by reviewers.

Indiana Hamilton-Brown has a short interview with RPS critic and author Jon Rossignol about space and architecture in their roles in games.

Michael “Brainy Gamer” Abbott works on a reading of games as an existential expression of the nonself or as being the self of someone else and what they can achieve. Unless you like philosophical wank war by an Objectivist, I’d avoid the comments.

New game blogger Joel Jordon starts off The Game Manifesto blog with a big one. It’s on the theme of relationships in Portal 2.

Adam Ruch takes a look at the concept of canon in the medium of video games and what it means, because binaries only exist as possibilities before you chose one. Or to put it another way:

For example: Liara can romance either a male or female Shepard. Does this make her a ‘bisexual’ (in human terms, she’s attracted to both sexes and this has nothing to do with her own lack of definite gender)? Or is she simply (human) straight and attracted to a male Shepard in that case, or a (human) lesbian being attracted to a femShep? Given that it requires two fundamentally different playthroughs of the game to demonstrate her bisexual availability, is it fair to assume the same from one playthrough?

Paul Haine says “Jack Marston is a Prick, But That’s Probably OK.”

The wungergeek at Go Make Me A Sandwich blog weighs in that because Bayonetta is a fictional character you have to look at her creator because she can’t make any choices that many critics have ascribed her to making.

Writing for Gamer Dork, Chris Green theorizes that the new Lara Croft game, however good its intentions are, may just be exchanging one set of stereotypes for worse ones.

Here is a video of Chris Crawford talking to a class about “interactivity and the future of computing/games.”

Mike Schiller on his blog takes a gander at the concept of home as presented by Dragon Age II.

Leigh Alexander takes her turn at Rock Paper Shotgun’s Gaming Made Me series to take a look at one of earliest gaming experiences: Colossal Cave Adventure. It’s a lightly emotional read.

It hit me hard. Colossal Cave Adventure is a love letter to the things that don’t exist anymore; little me, little Charlotte. I cannot read maps anymore; I managed to grow up with no sense of direction. I live in a place where nothing is green, where everything is ordered chaos, the hollow voices tell me nothing, and I turn in circles like a compass who wants north, or like a girl who wants her father.

And lastly Destructoid’s knutaf creates a classification of multiplayer experiences.

Don’t forget you can send suggestions every week to Ben through email or the Critical Distance twitter account.