How can interactive systems subvert the way we normally think things are supposed to be done? This week’s roundup features a number of articles on designing games for different ways of being, as well as examinations of how visual design can make things feel familiar.
First, two writers take on the ideological expression of games, in relation to capitalism and religion.
- Clube dos Apreciadores de Tetris – YouTube (Video: no speech)
Que Grafico Lixo succinctly and wordlessly demonstrates the anticapitalist narratives that can be read in Tetris and its appropriations by artists such as Pedro Paiva, Paolo Pedercini, and Twinbeard.
- In Thailand, Buddhist Monks Grapple with the Meaning of Video Games – Waypoint
Robert Rath interviews Buddhist monks in Thailand for their nuanced thoughts on the impact of games on spiritual wellbeing.
Four articles this week examined different ways that game systems can work for or against oppressive social systems.
- In The Game: The Game, It’s You Vs. Pick-Up Artists | Kotaku
Cecilia D’Anastasio interviews Angela Washko and explores how her latest project reinterprets the procedurality of pick-up-artistry into a cutting interactive parody.
- Can Video Games Rewrite History? – YouTube (Video: subtitled)
Gamedenke proposes that nonlinear histories could be told through narratively-detailed game design.
- Football: The Kotaku Review
Tim Rogers explains football for people who don’t care for cheerleaders and beer commercials, but who do have an affinity with role-playing games.
- Model Citizens — Real Life
Mila Samdub contributes an article on Sim City to a set of essays on Real Life magazine inspired by feminist technoscience scholar Donna Haraway’s writing on ecological consciousness.
“The everyday consciousness of ourselves as simultaneously modeling and modeled might instead be a productive site from which to imagine alternative cities and political structures.”
Finally, two critics look at visual expression in games, with an eye towards things that feel familiar, whether that familiarity is comforting or creepy.
- (9) Hygge in Video Games – YouTube (Video: auto-captions)
Satchell Drakes highlights some visual design techniques that create a sense of simplicity and coziness in some of his favorite games.
- FAITH – calei2copi0x
Celia Sanchez argues that horror is best found in the unseen, and nostalgia is best used in service to consistent narrative and aesthetic goals.
“FAITH‘s self-imposed technological limitations are attached to the very essence of the game: since our memory is terribly short, we find these Spectrum-esque graphics obscure and confrontational”
- January Roundup: Novelty – Critical Distance
Taylor Hidalgo brings us January’s roundup of themed writing.
- February 2018: History – Critical Distance
Mark Filipowich announces this month’s theme – submit writing on this topic to be included in the next monthly roundup!
- Update 19 – CRPG BOOK RELEASED! – The CRPG Book Project
Felipe Pepe has completed the first version of this collection of classic game reviews.