Welcome back, readers.
This week there’s an emphasis on communities, and especially indie development communities and their relationship to larger-scale studio structures. I didn’t expect to be curating critical discourse on Half-Life: Alyx months before its release, but Trevor Hultner and Emily Rose have pulled together all of these disparate items in a really insightful way this week.
Also, I opened my door this morning to two inches of freezing rain, so I might finally get my first badge in Pokemon Sword this afternoon.
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Each of these first four selections this week intersects in some way with communities of play and production in games. What are the limiting structures that these communities face today? What opportunities and possibilities lie ahead?
- Half-Life: Alyx Might End Up Being Pretty Good – No Escape
Trevor Hultner chats with Emily Rose about what Valve’s new project might do for indie and VR scenes.
- ACID GAMES TALKS: Unlearning (Troy)
Troy studies the ways in which indie game development imitates the oppressive structures of large-scale studio development it seeks to escape, and muses on alternatives.
- Magic Champion Autumn Burchett on Gender Identity & Loving the Game | Fanbyte
Elizabeth Henges talks strategy and representation with a rising star of the MtG tournament scene.
- Diaries Of A Thin-Blood Pt. 2 – A Very Indie Gehenna | RE:BIND
Emily Rose allegorizes the state of indie ecosystem discourse via Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.
“There is a strangely pervasive and toxic notion that some very large fish cannot possibly co-exist among schools of smaller minnows as they find their banquets shrinking to much more reasonable portions, shrieking that it isn’t fair they should have to share a slice of the larger marketing mince pie.”
Bridging the Gaps
Three more excellent articles this week continue the work of prying open Death Stranding.
- ‘Death Stranding’ imagines the eco-horror of our future dystopia | The Outline
Lewis Gordon situates Death Stranding in the tradition of apocalyptic eco-narratives.
- Thoughts on Death Stranding pt 1 – I Need Diverse Games
Tauriq Moosa takes inventory of Death Stranding‘s moving parts.
- Death Stranding, and a little Healing | Prophets & Players
Dawn Davis reflects on Dads, Mads, and found families.
“I made a lot of jokes as I played this game about calling Mads Mikkelsen “daddy”, but what I never expected was for Kojima to reach down into the hole in my heart where that loneliness lives and see it so clearly. That gaze looked deep into me and saw what I’m missing, which was enough to cut in, break the scab, and let all of it come rushing out anew.”
A pair of authors examine a pair of recent releases: one indie, one about as AAA as it gets.
- REDO! – Patience Is a Virtue | RE:BIND
Mx Medea explores a slice of Survival Metroid Horror.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Turns Trauma and Fear into Cheap Tricks – Uppercut
Chris Compendio takes a tour through the traumatic set dressing of the latest CoD.
“What Call of Duty: Modern Warfare does is exploit the real-life horrors that countless people overseas, children especially, are suffering through just to make more privileged and comfortable gamers say “huh, really makes you think.” And even that descriptor may give the game too much credit, as its story refuses to engage with the reasons that truly led to these terrors and the actors that are responsible for this cruelty.”
Complementing the previous section, three authors situate games of the past in a contemporary context. Yeah, I know Shenmue III just came out.
- ONCE AGAIN (november review) – DEEP HELL
Skeleton considers what’s at stake in a remake of a largely-unknown retro brawler.
- Off the Grid: DmC: Devil May Cry – Haywire Magazine
Lockesly Winters finds charm in the much-maligned DmC reboot by treating it like a self-serious B-movie.
- Shenmue III Is a Masterpiece of the Mundane – Paste
Dia Lacina meditates on where and how Shenmue belongs in 2019.
“Just as Shenmue III has largely abandoned the path towards more cinematic or dramatic aesthetics that modern games pursue relentlessly, it also ignores interest in replicating realism in the way “simulation” typically conveys. It’s not interested in being fun or having phenomenal gameplay.”
Completely trustworthy article, definitely not written by a goose.
- Experts Say Geese Aren’t Actually As Bad As Untitled Goose Game Suggests | Kotaku
Gita Jackson, in an uncharacteristic heel turn, capes for the shadowy cabal of waterfowl overlords.
“Wild geese are more concerned with their personal goose business, and domesticated geese are for the most part just curious, and unable to manipulate large or heavy objects as they do in Untitled Goose Game.”
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