Hello again, Readers.
Well, here it is, the twelfth and final TMIVGV for 2020. This December was typically light in terms of concentrated critical content, given all the end of year retrospectives that had to be made, holidays taken etc – but there are still some great pieces here that are worth your time to check out. For those still wanting, I wholly recommend Zoyander’s grand roundup of the year’s blogging.
This Month in Videogame Vlogging is a roundup featuring the best video-based videogame criticism from the previous calendar month.
December saw several video essayists look at how the meaningful integration of choice and agency permeate in theme and design.
Fallout: New Vegas Is Genius, And Here’s Why – hbomberguy (1:37:41)
Harry Brewis carefully dissects the elements of writing, game design and world building which made Fallout: New Vegas a “timeless” game which allowed the player to make meaningful and interesting choices. (Autocaptions)
Playing as Anyone in Watch Dogs Legion – Errant Signal (33:10)
Chris Franklin finds Watch Dogs Legion’s “Play as Anyone” System to be an unfulfilling narrative generation tool in itself, but suggests it does provide room for players to creatively (if privately) role-play. (Autocaptions)
The only winning move is not to play – Mr Wendal on games (6:12)
Mr Wendal looks at the effect of some curious instances where the player is punished for following a game’s instructions. (Manual captions)
Cloudpunk, or has God Already Decided? – Curio (34:08)
Eric Sophia argues that both Ion Lands’ Cloudpunk (2020) and Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy (1320) are texts that critique the notion of agency within the binding social and economic systems that they were produced under. (Autocaptions) [Note: spoilers for the endings of Cloudpunk]
Suitably to round out the particular calendar year that was, these few essays covered games that bring the player into confrontation with unpleasant feelings and experiences.
5 Games That Help Us Confront Death – Screen Therapy (20:23)
Courtney Garcia discusses five games that encourage the player to reflect actively on the concept of death. (Autocaptions)
Four Short Games About Pain – Jacob Geller (26:00)
Jacob Geller recaps then dissects the textural use of lo-fi abrasion in the games from Kitty Horrorshow’s latest collection. (Manual captions) [Contains embedded advertising]
Demon’s Souls and How I Learned to Love Dark Fantasy – Eurothug4000 (11:42)
Maria looks at how the Demon’s Souls remake utilises existing generic visual and thematic tropes of dark fantasy, in which the unforgiving hostility of the world is taken for granted by its inhabitants. (Autocaptions)
Finally, we return to that perennial favourite area for many video essayists, which is to highlight and interrogate the design decisions that most of us take for granted.
How Accessible Were This Year’s Games? – Game Maker’s Toolkit (18:36)
In his annual survey, Mark Brown finds a lot of positive steps towards making games more accessible in 2020’s new releases and consoles. (Manual captions)
The Pursuer | Horror-Scope – Soft and Hollow (18:02)
Soft and Hollow muses on the role of ‘Nemesis’ in Resident Evil 3 to consider which elements do and don’t make for effective “monster chase” scenarios in horror games. (Manual captions)
Why Games Are Massive – Raycevick (13:04)
Lucas Raycevick picks apart one of the greatest mysteries of our time – why contemporary big-studio releases take up just so much dang disk space. (Autocaptions)
Why Are Explosive Barrels Always Red? – Adam Millard (15:19)
Adam Millard looks at how a range of colour-coded gaming symbols have been passed along from earlier design decisions. (Manual captions)
Wow! We’re finished! Year done! Thank you, everyone.
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