First, an investigative piece about paying people to chat and play with you, and then a reflection on the voices of the dying.
- I Paid Women to Play Overwatch With Me, and It Was Fantastic | Kotaku
Cecilia D’Anastasio reports on the nature of the service work carried out by Overwatch players-for-hire.
- The Horrifying Sound of Death in Games – Waypoint
Cameron Kunzelman discusses sickness and demise as aethestic and emotive objects encountered through music and sound.
“the sounds of death are not shorthand. They are the things we are supposed to be paying attention to. Those sounds are supposed to grab us and keep us. They’re meant to haunt us beyond all reason and thought, and they work, at least for me.”
Two pieces on remembering games this week suggest different ways of approaching our memories of games.
- Stalingrad was Call of Duty’s Perfect Moment | Unwinnable
Matthew Byrd argues that nostalgia isn’t about the past as a whole, but about the moments of goodness that create attachment.
- The true legacy of the Atari 2600 | ZAM – The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information
Jody MacGregor finds in the Atari the basis for modern game development.
“There’s a lot to remember the Atari 2600 for beyond the cautionary tale about movie tie-ins and a New Mexico landfill full of literal shovelware. The console gave us third-party developers and 2D platformers, upgradeable cartridges, and a global market for games.”
Two approaches to relating to characters in videogames are found here, positioning the player-character as an avatar and as a representative of gaming as an activity.
- Nathan Drake Is Crash Bandicoot: Uncharted 4 and Acceptance | Midfalutin
Steven Scaife argues that the resolution of Nathan Drake’s character arc amounts to a shrugging acquiescence regarding the state of videogames.
- Dimensions of Identity in Games – First Person Scholar
Lindsay Meaning uses Adrienne Shaw’s Gaming at the Edge to think about what it means to identify with a videogame character.
“While researchers and game designers tend to assume that players automatically identify with the avatar or character that they control, Shaw discovers that this is not the case. Rather than the interactive aspects of games driving the process of identification, she argues that it is the affective qualities of game narratives that build connections between players and characters.”
Finally, two writers consider the meaning of interacting with the tiny details of a videogame world.
- The Whole of the World: Positions of Consideration in Games – Not Your Mama’s Gamer
Alisha Karabinus highlights a theoretical approach to worldbuilding and environmental narrative that offers a response to the question of what kind of storytelling is best suited to videogames.
- Miniature Mansions | Gnog | Heterotopias
Zach Budgor talks dollhouses and miniature worlds.
“Gnog is about trying to understand the world, about breaking it into functional pieces and mechanical architectures. There is merit to the notion that miniaturizing life makes it more comprehensible; the fetishistic detail of Luyten’s dollhouse exists on a spectrum with a Lego set. But Gnog manages to escape the desire to have everything just-so”
Did you think that roundup was over quickly? I did! I’m not sure why there were so few pieces remaining by the time I got to the final list this week. If I missed something that you thought should have been included, let me know and I’ll consider it for next week.
- Heterotopias 002 by Heterotopias
There is a new issue of the PDF version of Heterotopias, a new blog that has fairly consistently made the TWIVGB roundup since it got started earlier this year.
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!