This week’s roundup asks where violence fits in political discourse and how to care for yourself in a troubled environment.
(Content Warning:discussions of violence and racism)
- YouTube’s Edgy Jokes Are Part Of A Bigger Debate In The Comedy World
At Kotaku, Gita Jackson contextualizes the Felix “Pew Die Pie” Kjellberg affair with a larger discussion of the push for “edgier” comedy.
- The limits of free speech (when you have 50 million YouTube subscribers) – Polygon
Mona Ibrahim, a lawyer and contract consultant in entertainment industries, explains the legal reasoning behind Disney’s choice to drop a contract with Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie after the popular youtuber made anti-Semitic comments during a stream.
If you are an Influencer, your continued support from your backers is contingent on your compliance with whatever non-disparagement language you’ve agreed to. Almost every platform available to you is offered by a private entity. Surprise! Welcome to Capitalism!
A Better Alternative
- Should GDC Move to Canada? | GamesIndustry.biz
Faisal Sethi, a Muslim game developer, makes a case for moving the annual Game Developer’s Conference to Canada in light of America’s travel ban.
- Not Your Plot Twist by @sammmtastic | I Need Diverse Games
I Need Diverse Games features a post from developer s.b.r. about the inaccurate and irresponsible depictions of mental health in games and media particularly in the horror genre (Content warning for discussions of mental health).
- Trying To ‘Make It’ As A Twitch Streamer Could Have Killed Me | Kotaku
Joe Marino writes about his two years as a full-time Twitch streamer and the health consequences of trying to “make it” as a livestreamer.
- Some More Self-Care: Jynx’s Collection of Happy Games – Not Your Mama’s Gamer
Jynx Boyne adds their thoughts to the site’s earlier discussion on games and self care. Boyne offers a list of games they play to feel happy, along with some personal reflection about how some games can wind up connecting with a player.
- Playing for real: Not with a bang but with a winter | Haywire
Haywire Magazine features a post by Jesse Porch on Fallout and The Long Dark through the lens of traditionally defined “apocalyptic” fiction that refers more to total change rather than total destruction:
Traditionally, apocalyptic literature was a form of religious writing that dealt with the supernatural destruction of the current order, but the destruction itself was not meant to be the focus. Rather, the writers used stories of destruction to impart wisdom about the true nature of reality. By envisioning the end of the world as they knew it, the audience could glimpse beyond their own experience to the underlying fabric of the world.
A Rabbit Hole
- Thoughts on Assassin’s Creed: Liberation | Vorpal Bunny Ranch
Denis Farr, a familiar name for us at Critical Distance, returns to his blog, Vorpal Bunny Ranch, to pen his thoughts on Assassin Creed Liberation’s protagonist, Aveline, and how mechanics of space and costume interact with the game’s setting. For Farr, Aveline’s black heritage and racial markers problematize the series’ otherwise straightforward “Assassin = Good; Templar = Bad” conflict.
- Gender, Race, and Robot Dinos in Horizon Zero Dawn – Waypoint
Danielle Riendeau writes her part of Waypoint’s letter series on Horizon Dawn Zero about how surprisingly beautiful and personal the game felt in spite of its robot dinosaurs.
- Hardcore Girls and Bullet Hell: A Conversation with the Makers of ‘Nier: Automata’
At Waypoint, Sayem Ahmed sits down with Taro Yoko, Yosuke Saito and Takahisa Taura, three of the main creative voices behind Nier: Automata, to discuss the game’s direction in contrast with its ambivalently received predecessor from 2010.
How to Tell Stories
- How app-based storytelling is reviving the novel of letters | Alphr
Sirena Bergman explains the role that app-fiction and games have in reviving epistolary storytelling (stories told in a series of letters between characters).
- Video games can and should inspire entire societies to do better – Polygon
Brian Crecente excites the blood valve behind EIC-Emeritus Kris Ligman’s eye by discussing the potential for games to be great art. Kidding aside, Crecente discusses mission operations lead at NASA Jeff Norris’s involvement with Blackbird Studio’s attempt to translate the experience of a potential Martian colony into a game.
- Gamasutra: Tanya Short’s Blog – Maximizing the Impact of Procedural Personalities
Developer Tanya Short offers some tips for designing personality traits through procedural systems.
- Identity Crisis – Playing a mixed heritage character in a modern day video game
Vivek Bhurtun discusses his experience voice-acting the main character of Herald an English raised Indian man like himself in a piece for Gamasutra
In the UK, I am often treated as an outsider because of my ethnicity. On many occasions, people are genuinely surprised when I open my mouth and a completely British accent comes out. When in India, Indians do not regard me as Indian because I come from the UK, the nation that ruled over India for almost 200 years. Of course, it doesn’t help that I don’t speak an Indian language and, even more importantly, don’t follow cricket. So where do I fit in?
A Second Look
- The Bleak Lessons of Heavy Rain | Waypoint
Cameron Kunzelman’s weekly column at Waypoint, Postscript, covers death, endings and finality and this past week he took the opportunity to reconsider the overlooked themes of Heavy Rain.
- Sex, Death, Redemption | Polygon
Simone de Rochefort offers a retrospective praising the bizarre messiness of Catherine.
- Visual Essay Jam
Friendly reminder that we have rounded up our recent jam, and it’s ripe for your viewing pleasure
- Blogger of the Year
Lastly, our blogger of the year, Miguel Penabella, reflects on the award and recommends some of the work from our journalist and video essayist of the year, respectively Heather Alexandra and Chris Franklin. I want to add my personal congratulations to all three of our featured writers and it’s such a joy to see all the well-earned support they’ve been getting. Take a look at our announcement to see more of their work.
Critical Distance is community-supported. Our readers support us from as little as one dollar a month. Would you consider joining them?
Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!