Welcome back, readers.
I hope this roundup finds you well, wherever you are.
This Month In Videogame Vlogging is a roundup featuring the best videogame criticism to be made using a video format from the previous calendar month.
To begin with, these two essays consider how the coronavirus pandemic makes us reinterpret plague settings in videogames which themselves predated our particular crisis.
The experience of playing Pathologic 2 during the pandemic informs Yaz Minsky’s consideration of how shifting contexts affect the interpretation of art across time. (Autocaptions)
Dishonored’s portrayal of class struggle in a world stricken by plague foresaw some of the now-familiar ticks of our own, observes Writing on Games. (Manual captions) [Contains embedded advertising]
Looking for Something
The following four essays are interested in how games engage the player’s detective impulse with fragmented and parallel quests for meaning.
Pim argues that Paradise Killer succeeds in the rare task of getting the player to do things the hard way for their own satisfaction. (Manual captions)
Jacob Geller turns to Italo Calvino’s novella Invisible Cities to understand the different ways Disco Elysium allows the player to come to know its fictional city-setting, Reveschal. (Manual captions) [Contains embedded advertising]
Eric Sophia observes how Disco Elysium’s nuanced roleplaying system reflects Harry’s social inaction back through the player’s choices. (Autocaptions)
Red Angel and Game Professor extensively analyse the structural roles of the characters in Coffee Talk. (Manual captions)
These Messy Processes
Here are some pieces that were difficult to categorise elsewhere, but collectively they deal with the indeterminate zigzags from A to B, the happy hazard-a-go’s, the malicious failures.
Chris Franklin remembers the ups and downs of “cool-if-flawed experiment” flight/FPS, Descent, contextualising its strangeness within the gradual standardisation of shooter design. (Autocaptions)
In vignette style, Matthewmatosis discusses the historical and creative forces that influence how (games) criticism is produced. (Autocaptions)
Alexandra Orlando takes a critical look at (giant porn company) Mindgeek’s attempt at setting up an adult games platform. (Manual captions)
At the end of things, these two videos consider (sort of, from very different angles) the meaning and merit in completing games.
Gymnast86 looks at the combination of accident, deliberation and collaboration that has gone into the discovery of some significant time-saving glitches in the speedruns of various Zelda titles. (Manual captions)
Razbuten considers the pluses and minuses of achievement implementation and extra-narrative tasks, and how these affect a player’s understanding of what it means to finish a game. (Manual captions) [Contains embedded advertising]
That’s all for the first video roundup for 2021! Hopefully I’ll be back in good time with another batch. In the meantime, please keep sending us your TMIVGV recommendations.
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!