June 10th

It’s been an intense week for games criticism, with important news stories as well as intriguing and troubling new releases. This Week in Videogame Blogging has you covered, with a roundup of all the most interesting writing and video.

Steam

A new announcement by Valve has triggered spirited debate about the responsibility of platforms and the power dynamics that support or undermine freedom of speech.

“Conservative forces in games want to make the psychological burden of being on Steam as high as possible. This policy seems to encourage them to do that, and alt-right communities basically celebrated Valve’s decision.”

Agony

A deeply distressing and offensive title has received some interesting analysis this week. Content warning for extremely violent misogyny in this section.

Agony is the kind of game conservative culture warriors will defend not because it’s good, but because it “offends” people. If someone’s upset over the way it depicts women, who cares if it’s no fun to play? In today’s Trump-fueled victimhood culture, that’s basically a win.”

Empowered

Four articles this week look at gender and femininity – the first one is mostly about ponies though.

“Though we can hope that this trend toward empowered female protagonists persists, it is lamentable that these particular females can only seem to achieve agency by not being there.”

Narrative

Discussions of queerness and inclusion continue in much of this week’s writing on narrative.

“Even as we begin to piece together all the character and time jumps, the narrative folds in on itself, creating a kind of recursive Moebius Strip.”

Business

Two pieces this week look at industrial structures around games, fandom, and marketing – apart from the issues going on at Valve.

“Lind describes parsing the space between authentic and sarcastic hyper-nationalism as a “daily challenge” for Paradox.”

Protest

Two writers look at historical and contemporary protest movements in relation to videogames.

“Even if one were to embrace Detroit’s unironic cribbing from real movements with zero added context, the game mostly sidesteps the punishing and often unfair nature of nonviolent protest.”

Vampyr

A new title from Dontnod, the creators of Remember Me and Life is Strange, is quickly beginning to inspire fascinating analyses.

“The social fabric of Vampyr’s London, held together by a spiderweb of interconnected characters within each of the city’s districts, is made of tenuous fibre.”

Comfort

Three articles discuss different forms of pleasure and ease.

“It is inescapable, but it also implies an endless, unknowable realm of possibility, much like a self-delusion born from all-consuming grief.”

Capture

Finally, this piece about screenshot methods is just wonderful.

  • Virtual Photography | Virtual World Photos 
    Eron Rauch’s history of screen photography is fascinating, and I am intensely excited to imagine it inspiring more creative approaches to videogame photography and video essays.

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