January 21st

This week, a number of games critics looked at the agencies and capacities of female characters, and examined stories that center women. We’ve also got some discussions of cops and hackers, and puppets!

Resurrection

Reforms to a character’s abilities and the launch of a new esports league has brought Overwatch back into focus for some writers this week.

“Mercy herself, mechanically and culturally, represents Blizzard’s fumbling with their own desires as designers of a game that is both for fun, casual competitive play and now is moving speedily towards a marketable esports package. Resurrection is the place where these things wage war […]”

Familiar

Sad, strange games about exploring memory and personal effects are examined by two critics this week.

Fantasies

Literary analysis is front-and-center in these three pieces that look at character development, agency, and intertextuality.

Inchoate scream

Four articles look at different ways that games have engaged with systems of power, and explored the possibilities for subverting them – or even the pernicious reverse fantasy, held by those who wish to benefit from systems of power without hearing voices of dissent.

“The game that resulted is a pathetic piece of wish fulfillment from a man in disgrace: A roiling, inchoate scream that blue lives matter, and they shouldn’t have to hear any criticism.”


Plugs

Finally, the “plugs” section this week is a little longer than usual, as I have a few things I want to share separately to the roundup itself.

Subscribe

Critical Distance is community-supported. Our readers support us from as little as one dollar a month. Would you consider joining them?

Contribute

Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!