June 2020

Hello again, readers.

It’s another month. Thank you for all your submissions, which continue to make my job easier and this column, better.

Once more I am at a loss as to how to summarise, respond to or otherwise introduce TMIVGV against the context of all of *gestures outside* this. On the one hand, I have a bunch of good, interesting, thoughtful, fun and necessary videos about videogames to recommend to you. On the other hand, since last I wrote you, my city has rapidly gone back into lockdown (due to the pandemic), Hong Kong’s new anti-activist laws have come into effect and irrevocably curtailed the freedom of its citizens, a third of Bangladesh is currently under water, and globally there are almost twice as many (~15 million) recorded covid-19 cases as there were a month ago (~8.5 million). I can only imagine what next month will look like.

Also, despite the continual slipping from view of the many ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, apparently the US now has a gestapo? Anyway:

In Critical Distance news, do make sure to check out the excellent critical compilations we’ve put up recently on Pathologic and Resident Evil 2, along with the latest episode of Keywords in Play. Also, a shoutout to Chris, who is tirelessly holding it, us and everything together over there in blogland.

This Month In Videogame Vlogging rounds up the best vods of videogame criticism from the previous calendar month.

 

Re/Play

As circumstances continued to play havoc with our general experience of time, several videomakers considered the temporality of play.

  • Shadow of the Colossus – The Frozen Frame – PostMesmeric  (11:00)

    PostMesmeric discusses Shadow of the Colossus’s construction and presentation of a perfectly-sized, dead world, the exploration of which can only be properly appreciated the first time through. (Manual captions)

  • Why Do We Love Let’s Plays? – Magdalen Rose (10:04)

    Magdalen Rose suggests Let’s Plays are abundant and popular because of the confluence of nostalgia with the precarious economic circumstances of younger generations. (Autocaptions) [Contains embedded advertisting]

  • Are Games Too Long? – HeavyEyed (17:33)

    Mitch Cramer argues that games like God of War (2018) rely too much on artificial bloat, which unavoidably affects the player’s experience of the narrative, making for a frustrating experience in comparison to games that focus on shorter and tighter games that incentivise replaying. (Manual captions) [Contains embedded advertising]

Black Lives Matter

Some important conversations were recorded in June.

Ugly Beauty

Two videos looked at the intermingling of aesthetics with game tone.

Doom’s at its best when it’s this surreal tone thing — half-rooted in some vague fiction about a Mars base and a gateway to hell and half just this waking nightmare about an ultraviolent gunfight in techno-gothic dread castles set to midis of metal music. Noticing that there’s a bit of story structure to the level progression – a smidge of method to the madness – kind of detracts from the sense that the emphasis on tone over everything else was intentional.

Like Life

The quaint, uncanny and surprising relationships of videogames to “real” things, people and events were explored by several essayists.

The Last of Uh

To finish up this roundup for June 2020 it is my duty (I guess) to present you with a couple of vids on Naughty Dog’s shiny, exhausting and discourse-hogging series.

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