March 2021

Welcome back, readers.

I hope this finds you well. Here’s a grouping of resources for supporting protests against racist police violence.

Happy twelfth birthday to Critical Distance for earlier this month. March brought us more excellent and creative videos, many of them of the hour-plus running time variety (You’re Welcome).

This Month In Videogame Vlogging highlights the most compelling critical videos about videogames from the previous calendar month.

Concerning: The End

To begin with, essays about the end. The end of life, the end of the world, the endings of games that reframe everything that came before them.

Passing Times

As the pandemic stretches on, meditations on the way we pass time – or used to pass time – are becoming increasingly popular. Here are two good’ns from this month.

  • A Short Video About A Short Hike – Pixel a Day (9:31)

    Kat looks at how A Short Hike evokes the nostalgic, carefree feeling of finding ways to fill time while on holiday. (Manual captions)

  • Gaming In the Quarantine Years – Errant Signal (17:30)

    Chris Franklin describes slipping into game after game where slow (grinding for) progress is incentivised, during a time in which real life has lost all its markers of change. (Autocaptions)

    Because while every day is groundhog day out here in the real world, in game I can at least entertain the illusion of forward progress or, failing that, numb my brain to everything that’s been going on while we wait for life to resume. Which, now that I say it out loud, is… maybe a little bit unhealthy.

The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated

A lot of videos this month doubled as celebrations of games, sometimes particularly games that the author/s felt had been in some way overlooked. These three did just that.

Historical Margins

Rounding out this lengthy mid-section on overlooked titles, this trio of videos gives us a bounty of work on (variously) delisted games, forgotten games, Sonic games.

  • The Girl Games Of Lost Media – Bobdunga (1:17:30)

    Raven Simone documents her own hunt for the (probably?) never-released Mean Girls title for the Nintendo DS, detouring into some discoveries about the (really) never released Clueless Fashion for the DS. (Manual captions)

  • Mysterious GBA Games – ThorHighHeels (1:11:38)

    ThorHighHeels demonstrates how the generational hardware mish-mash of the Gameboy Advance made it a potent space for wonky design experiments and “ports that weren’t really ports”. (Autocaptions)

  • The Animation of Sonic Games – New Frame Plus (1:45:05)

    Daniel Floyd looks at the character animations of every console-released mainline Sonic game. This is a long one but admirably detailed, and it includes some fun explanations about animation principles such as e.g. why motion-capture is often unsuitable for stylized cartoon characters. (Manual captions)

Playing Roles

The meaning and importance of roleplaying remains a boundless topic for video essayists, as demonstrated again by these next few videos.

Just Industry Things

Some video makers are continuing to do the good work of shining a critical lens over the processes of videogame production.

Violently Aware

Finally, this trio of essays finds their authors grappling with their complicity of in-game violence.

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