Responses to the Trump administration’s meeting to discuss links between videogames and violence feature prominently This Week in Videogame Blogging – but this roundup starts with some art history.
Two Unwinnable articles this week argue for aesthetic reclamations of bad art.
- The Joy of Jank | Unwinnable
Ryan Cooper outlines the aesthetic value of crappy games.
- No More, Please | Unwinnable
Gavin Craig refers to Susan Sontag’s notion of camp in order to reclaim the works of David Cage.
“If camp in part is about the reclaiming of pleasure — a vigorous celebration not just of “bad” art but of the “bad” in art — it is also not infrequently about reclaiming art from the artist.”
Three articles look at the points where history and games meet – histories of games, and games portraying history.
- A Short History of Hentai Games – YouTube (video: auto-captions)
Alexandra Orlando argues that pornographic games are an essential part of the history of game design in Japan, and touches on the future of the genre as a thriving part of the indie scene.
- Mixed Media: Inheritance – Haywire Magazine
April Tyack reads Monster Hunter: Worlds through philosophical thought about colonialism and the construction of identity.
- Civilization is all rise and no fall | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Alister MacQuarrie examines narrative structures in conventional storytelling and in 4X games, arguing that how we imagine the narrative arc of a civilisation has implications for how we make sense of the big problems facing humanity.
“It’s vital we think of alternatives that challenge the myth of perpetual growth, instead of uncritically repeating it, not simply to create variety in strategy design, but also because that same myth is partly responsible for the destruction of our own world.”
Social issues portrayed in games are critiqued in three articles this week, looking at adoption, disability, and postcolonial utopia.
- Looking back at Yakuza 3 and its rare portrayal of orphans in Japan | ZAM – The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information
Kazuma Hashimoto compares the portrayal of adoption in Yakuza 3 to the contemporary reality of adopted children in Japan.
- On the Afrofuturism, Representation and Intent of Crest – Historian On Games
Seva Kritskiy raises problems with a recent game’s claim to an Afrofuturist aesthetic.
- Mad/Crip Games and Play – First Person Scholar
Adan Jerreat-Poole summarises some key issues for disability activism in writing about games.
“Feminism isn’t smooth, singular, linear, gentle, ordered; it can’t be mapped out, pinned down, marked off with chalk or yellow tape or a magic circle.”
One article this week provided a deep dive into the music created for an iconic game.
- The Untold Story of ‘The Sims,’ Your First Favorite Jazz Record – Noisey
Alex Robert Ross investigates how Maxis created a soundtrack that engenders instant nostalgia and “blissful naivety”.
In the aftermath of the White House meeting with game developers, three critics look at the relationship between games and violence.
- How Video Games Are Funding Gun Manufacturers // HeavyEyed – YouTube (video: subtitles)
Heavy Eyed refers to a 2013 Simon Parkin piece on the business relationships between games and weapons brands, bringing his work up to date in dialogue with recent games and political responses to mass shootings.
- Opinion: There’s a Huge Problem With Fighting the Anti-Video Game Debate With a #NotAllGames Mentality – IGN
Chloi Rad argues that it’s not enough to ask whether or not a game portrays violence or other ugly aspects of life; to do the medium justice, we need to ask what it does with those topics.
- Watch These Satisfying Particle Simulations TOTALLY EVISCERATE Donald Trump | Unwinnable
David Rudin argues that Games for Change’s response to the White House’s violent games montage is an example of shallow, saccharine culture war politics.
“Who, exactly, is supposed to be swayed by visual rhetoric to the effect of “Oh, Mr. Trump, you missed a sunset?” None of these visuals actually refute the point about videogames often being incredibly violent.”
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