July 14th

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

I should probably start this off with a corny allusion to Pacific Rim, or the EVO tournament, or the Steam summer sale currently ruining everyone’s wallet. I ran through a bunch of permutations. But cheekiness just don’t seem like it should be on the table this week. So, moving on.

A short but sweet This Week in Videogame Blogging.

READINGS AND ANALYSIS

Alex Duncan has just started up his critical blog The Animist and kicks things off with a rigorously academic reading of Journey as a reconfiguration of game space.

On Games That Exist, Alex Pieschel delivers an excellent analysis of a text-based “shooter” written in Twine, Tower of the Blood Lord.

On Unwinnable, Stu Horvath wonders what it would be like to play as a sidekick. And Push Select’s Jeff Wheeldon offers up a reading of The Legend of Zelda‘s Link as a Christ metaphor.

ROGUE LEGACIES

(Not actually about Rogue Legacy. I just couldn’t think of a better subheader.)

Eurogamer continues its stride of sturdy retrospective pieces with this one by Rick Lane: the story of Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines.

On Not Your Mama’s Gamer, Alisha Karabinus recently introduced her young son to Left 4 Dead 2, and muses on the tough balancing act between engaging one’s children with games and avoiding desensitization.

On Burning North, George “Dramatic Reading” Kokoris argues compellingly that we shouldn’t write off technical advancements when it comes to communicating emotion through games — but the polycount matters far less than evocative animation.

MISANDRY

On The New Statesman, Cara Ellison dismisses all this so-called sexism masculists are crying about in games.

On Nightmare Mode, Alex Law draws up a valuable primer on the male gaze as it applies to games, and provides a sample roster of games with a different sort of gaze.

Meanwhile on Kotaku, Kirk Hamilton hails one of the great unsung heroines of videogames.

HIDDEN BARRIERS

Stephen Beirne shows up on re/Action with a piece concerning the price point of games, and how the fast pace of digestion of new releases unfairly marginalizes players with less spending cash.

Over on Ontological Geek, Tom Dawson offers a few additional thoughts on the prohibitive cost of games, and why that’s helped drive Dawson to adopt Nintendo as a cheaper, more welcoming alternative — both in terms of price and nostalgia.

GERMAN INTERRUPTION

Sebastian Standke is less than impressed with the Ouya. Jagoda Gadowski likes Animal Crossing: New Leaf. And Rainer Sigl interviews our own Johannes Köller regarding his publication Haywire magazine. (There you are, Joe.)

ASK NOT WHAT VIDEOGAMES CAN DO FOR YOU

Warren Spector notes that games criticism enjoys plenty of great writers these days, but where is our Roger Ebert?

On Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Nathan Grayson calls the fundamental premise of comparing games to film into question:

[E]veryone waiting for those shining beacons of cultural acceptance to descend from on-high utterly fails to understand two key points: 1) in this day and age, creating direct analogs to those landmarks is actually impossible, and 2) games and games criticism are in the midst of a renaissance. An unstoppable explosion of evolution and creativity. The formation of an identity that is, frankly, far more exciting than film. Why aren’t we championing that to everyone with (or without) ears? Why are we instead breathlessly awaiting the day our medium suddenly and inexplicably conforms to somebody else’s standard?

Lastly, Mark Filipowich points out a more fundamental issue facing game critics: with articles disappearing from the web at an alarming clip, shouldn’t we be more focused on preserving this writing, in addition to the games themselves?

Trust us, this is a question we’ve been debating internally for a while as well.

SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH

That’s it for this week. Please remember to keep submitting your recommendations by Twitter mention and email.

Also, if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out this month’s Blogs of the Round Table.

Take care and stay safe out there, everyone.