June 9

So this week Kris Ligman is off collecting every single one of the original 151 Pokemon. I’m Cameron Kunzelman and I am filling in for Kris and boom here we go. This Week in Videogame Blogging!

Women in Games

Craig Stern of Sinister Design lays out the reasons that he decided to purposefully have women as the main characters in his game.

Maddy Myers reflects on the Tropes vs Women in Video Games videos and comes to the conclusion that there are no magic bullets when it comes to ways of speaking out against misogyny in video game culture.

The new issue of Ada, the Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology is out, featuring academic essays that analyze Xbox Live demographics, queerness and Persona 4, and the feminization of casual games.

TRIGGER WARNING: repeated use of the word “rape”: Rowan Kaiser does some shortform analysis of the hypermasculinity of “hardcore gamer” rhetoric and makes a move away from the limiting, abusive language.

The Games Industry

Jason Schreier uncovers the horrible abuses at Trendy Entertainment. Not only is the studio seemingly a bastion for sexist behavior, but the company direction appears to be based on straight-up plagiarism. A sample:

Late last year, according to four different people, Stieglitz fired the lead designer on Dungeon Defenders II and shifted direction on the game, telling the development team to start taking ideas from the popular arena battle game League of Legends. The motto floating around the company, employees told me, is “if League does it, we do it.”

“He threw out design work to copy League of Legends,” said one person.

“Interesting, creative ideas [were] thrown by the wayside because ‘we don’t have time,’ or ‘Does League do it? No? Then it’s a waste of time, we need to do what League does,’ said another person.

Matthew Kato lays out the basic barriers to entry in order to play contemporary video games and decides that they are fairly extreme compared to other hobbies.

On a similar, more Microsoft-specific note, Chris Plante notes that the Xbox One signals a choice that limits consumer rights and makes the Microsoft and select partners the most money. “If you’re low on money,” he notes, “you’re out of luck.”

Kate Cox points out the basic infrastructure problems with next generation consoles’ online needs and how they excludes massive numbers of people in rural America and abroad.

Specific Games and the People Who Think Very Hard About Them

Austin Walker writes about the various loves he has for State of Decay.

Jason Rice reflects on the mechanics of the second installment of Kentucky Route Zero.

Kaitlin Tremblay writes on Bioshock 2Borderlands 2, and Baldur’s Gate to try to get at the heart of abject subjectivity in games.

Jorge Albor works out why the decision making in Quandary hits in a particularly hard manner.

I wrote about the most wonderful moment in Remember Me.

Research and Development

Nick Degens thinks through some baseline questions in regards to the relationship between players and protagonists.

Shamus Young defends the silent protagonist.

Zack Wood presents a case for the strength of Japanese games’ ability to build worlds with interesting characters.

David Carlton wants the teleological nature of games, and game narratives, to change:

So: I’d like games that are less about saving the world, aspiring to become all-powerful; in fact, I’m curious about games that step away from aspiration completely. Having said that, that’s just me right now, not a general statement about what other people should be interested in or even what past or future me should be interested in.

Miscellaneous Roundup Because Hey, They Are All Good Too

Day 1 game reviews are biased toward being positivity. Leigh Alexander and Quintin Smith write to one another about relationship games. Mitch Krpata made a fun little quiz to find the REAL Citizen Kane of games. Jeremy Antley plays with dronesThe New Inquiry just released a new issue on games and you can read some of them here.

Johannes Köller Brings You The Foreign Language Report

Mostly quiet over here, Michael Cherdchupan of kollisionsabfrage.net ran an obituary for Japanese game designer and composer Kenji Eno, Rainer Sigl of videogametourism.at wrote about multiple choice as the narrative mechanic in The Yawgh, Save The Date and Kentucky Route Zero and also, in translating and expanding on an earlier post, about why games need to be shorter.

Cameron, Remember to Include the Regular Housekeeping Section or Kris Will Sneak in Something Embarrassing During Proofreading

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Blogs of the Round Table is still doing its May-June mega-topic and we encourage you to participate.

See you all next week!