May 27th

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

It’s a lovely week for games criticism, with poignant examinations of grief and in-depth study of strategy among other delights. This is our roundup of The Week in Videogame Blogging (and other forms of criticism). Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to check out a very special call for submissions for Blogs of the Round Table!

Playing the field

First, two pieces on how games and play are studied in academia.

“Red play identifies and responds to current problems and tensions. It clarifies social and personal divisions. It resists complacency. It reveals new opportunities for change.”

Wellbeing

Two pieces this week look at grief, while one looks at commodified emotions in the videogames industry as reflected in one game that features a hypercapitalist societal collapse.

“Videogames will abandon this holding pattern only when it becomes unprofitable; in other words, when conditions at a global level support human wellbeing.”

Wreckage and dust

Looking further at a sense of loss and collapse, two writers consider landscapes that express these internal struggles.

“It revives the past but offers the player no healthy means to engage with it. All they can do is destroy it, leaving behind corpses and wreckage and dust.”

Biographical histories

Three pieces this week look at portrayals of cultures that are often exoticised, while another piece looks at inclusivity issues very differently, exploring positive and negative feelings associated with a sense that one’s capabilities are limited.

Horizon forefronts the materialism of media cultures and their spatial and temporal relations to our environment over our technical and biographical histories.”

Simulation

Strategy games were considered in depth in two articles this week, that look for the expressive texture in the design of their systems.

“Free from perception management or special interest groups, you feel pressure to actually make a tangible impact on people, if only so they’ll let you keep your job. That, more than any miscalculated social issue cause and effect, makes the game seem more like a fantasy of politics than a simulation.”


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