September 2020

Welcome back, readers.

My apologies about the lateness of September’s gaming youtube directory. I had it basically ready two weeks back, at the ‘normal time’, but then formatting and posting it became, for some reason or another – like everything else in this temporally soupy mess of geographically dislocated late 2020 waking fever dream – inexplicably difficult, one more thing to move to tomorrow’s to-do list, to shove behind another run, or a run at Hades, or whathaveyou. My city is seemingly about to emerge from a four-month lockdown just as many of you are facing record case numbers and new restrictions. I feel like I’ve lost the context necessary for parsing meaning in every group chat, discord server and twitter in-hug, and that I’m now swimming forever upstream to find it. Our experiences of this global crisis are all different, and bad. If there’s one thing that seems globally consistent though, it’s the way governments have used the excuse of the pandemic to further entrench marginalisation of Black, Brown and Indigenous people (as I’m reminded this week by my state government literally using the announcement of lockdown ending as a distraction for the entirely avoidable destruction of sacred sites). Chris has been sharing this good resource for how to contribute to protests worldwide.

Emilie is hosting a Bitsy essay jam for us next month, so that’s nice. I’m going to make a thing. Come join in if you aren’t doing Nanowrimo. Perhaps even if you are.

This Month In Videogame Vlogging is a roundup of the most interesting video-based criticism about videogames from the previous calendar month.

Surface/Depth

I loved each of these three essays that looked at the intersection of visual clarity, viewpoint and the affective power of scale.

Sown Seeds

Videos about videogame history are rarely in short supply, but this month was a good one for short, alternative narratives about quietly significant designers and decisions.

Motivated Play

The subject of how games reward players was a focal point for a trio of different essays.

Context Sensitive

Binding these three video essays together are analyses that seek to understand particular games’ narratives and themes in the context of their place and time.

These Old Guns

Some notes on old and old-style shooting games, to end this one ominously.

  • CO-VIDs: what makes an fps arsenal good? – Innuendo Studios (16:55)

    Ian Danskin wonders why he hasn’t been enjoying retro-FPS Ion Fury all that much, and comes up with a plausible theory about how weapon arsenals are best designed to internally complement… themselves. (Autocaptions)

  • ACTION BUTTON REVIEWS DOOM – Action Button (3:30:21)

    Tim Rogers reviews Doom (1993), by which of course I mean this is like 98% Tim Rogers discussing the process of Tim Rogers reviewing Doom against his self-described history as a “Doom poseur” along with its subsequent saturation and endless iterations in American and ‘gamer’ life, the point of which is weirdly interesting because hey how do you “review” something that is now so culturally embedded? But yes, it’s very long. (Autocaptions)

That does us for September’s edition. See you all again soon enough. Oh, but do remember to vote, American friends. (I know you will).

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