How does sound affect videogame storytelling and the effect that games have on our emotions? This latest roundup features a fantastic section on soundtracks, as well as writing on sexism, social movements, and criticism itself.
This week brought a slew of reviews of the latest Yazuka game, as well as some meaningful reflection on other games in the series.
- How the Michael Jackson References Work in Yakuza 0’s Localization « Legends of Localization
Clyde Mandelin surfaces some remarkable creative choices that add a layer of in-jokes while also managing to contribute positively to the game’s atmosphere and tone.
- Yakuza 6: The Song of Life review | ZAM – The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information
Kris Ligman (our Director of Finance) highlights the specifics of how the latest Yakuza game portrays fatherhood.
- In ‘Yakuza 6,’ Family Is More Important Than Fists – Waypoint
Janine Hawkins looks at how fatherhood sits comfortably in relation to the series’ themes as a whole.
“Caring” is not just a weakness waiting to be exploited. It’s a way of life, and the only characters who are beyond redemption are the ones who reject that altogether.
I love it when there is enough writing on music or sound in games to warrant a section in the roundup – this week brings two soundtrack-focused analyses.
- The Anxiety of Celeste and its Music | Game Score Fanfare – YouTube (video with accurate subtitles)
Matthew Dyason highlights narrative and musical moments that explore the theme of mental distress, focusing on Lena Raine’s composition techniques.
- The rise of the ambient video game | The Outline
Lewis Gordon links music and software design to the regulation of emotions in post-bubble Japan.
“Video games […] are, after all, a subset of interactive systems that include Microsoft Office, email services and internet browsers. When we grow weary of these programs’ austere bureaucracy, perhaps it’s unsurprising that we turn to video games[…]”
Inquisitions and hunts
Kotaku reported on two responses to sexist harassment in games.
- In South Korea, gamers stage an inquisition against feminists | Kotaku
Cecilia D’Anastasio investigates harassment, activism, and responses to videogame sexism in Korea.
- ‘Bully Hunters’ organization claims to hunt down harassers in games | Kotaku
Nathan Grayson has been reporting on a controversial, headline-grabbing scheme targeting online gaming misogynists.
In more writing on inclusivity issues in games, three critics explore intersectional issues including gender, class, and religion.
- Where The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt Goes Wrong in Depicting Women (and Why it Matters) – NYMG
Elizabeth Ballou provides a thorough analysis of The Witcher’s problems with female characters as conquests.
- A Microhistory of Play – Historian On Games
Historian On Games experiments with personal history, to explore its benefits and limitations, and try to link individual experiences to intersectional and structural conditions.
- Alcohol and Alienation in Moscone | Unwinnable
Mahli-Ann Butt critiques booze culture at the Game Developer’s Conference.
“Aspiring workers are drinking to network to get into the industry; burnt out workers are drinking to cope with being in the industry.”
- Far Cry 5’s Hyper-Videogamification – Bullet Points Monthly
Ed Smith offers a meta-commentary on the terror of attempting a critical reading of a giant, incoherent object.
“I start to sense there is so much here that I could never comprehensively, resolutely criticise it, a kind of paralysis wrought by the uncertainty of one’s analysis.”
- Letter From the Editor (Inaugural Issue) – NYMG
This week also brought the first issue of the new accredited academic journal from Not Your Mama’s Gamer – I featured one post from it above, but you may want to peruse the whole thing.
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!