Welcome back, readers.
Gosh, this is a very late video-content roundup. It’s been one of those months. Sometimes these things get away from you (in this case ‘things’ meaning ‘watching vods about videogames’, and ‘you’ meaning ‘me’). My apologies. Hopefully this has given you all a bit of extra space to appreciate Chris’s excellent collection of fantastic queer games criticism from the first half of this year.
This Month In Videogame Vlogging highlights the most compelling critical videos about videogames from the previous calendar month.
Videogame history videos are a personal non-guilty pleasure of mine, so I’m pleased to begin this roundup with a healthy bouquet of them.
RollerCoaster Tycoon | Noclip Greatest Hits – Noclip (37:03)
Danny O’Dwyer and co. ruminate on the history legacy of the first two RollerCoaster Tycoon games. (Manual captions)
Neopets’ black market pet controversy, explained – Polygon (15:51)
Simone de Rochefort recounts how changes to Neopets in 2007 led to artificial scarcity, which in turn led to the emergence of a complicated black market, which in turn led to a black-market controversy. (Manual captions)
A Eulogy of Flash – Cyril Focht (14:02)
Cyril Focht remembers the role of Adobe’s Flash in 2000’s indie game development, its influence on the corners of the web, and the intersection of technology changes and neoliberalism that led to its recent discontinuation. (Autocaptions)
Of Shamblers, Shades, and Sectors: Children of Doom Episode 6 – Errant Signal (42:33)
Chris Franklin weighs up Quake – for its technological innovations – against Duke Nukem 3D – for its ‘concrete and glass’ settings – for his pick of most influential shooty game of 1996. (Autocaptions)
The Origins of Streets of Rage’s Groundbreaking Music – Game Score Fanfare (9:14)
Mathew Dyason links the soundtrack of Streets of Rage to specific 80’s club music scenes and associated synthesiser technologies. (Manual captions)
The intersection of spaces, stories and character are artfully interrogated in these three pieces.
Descent and Ascent in Dark Souls, Hellblade, Dear Esther and Celeste – Pixel a Day (19:02)
Kat explores the way vertical world designs are tied to player and/or character arcs in several games. (Manual captions)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2 Vs. Joseph Campbell – Noah Caldwell-Gervais (1:56:48)
Noah Caldwell-Gervais unpacks in detail how the two Knights of the Old Republic titles have contrasting relationships with Joseph Campbell’s influential 1949 theory of the ‘monomyth’. (No captions)
Golden Rays of Sunshine – Past, Present, and Future – Umbrella Terms (7:48)
Umbrella Terms examines how the relationship of identity to the past selves is explored in post-apocalyptic lo-fi RPG Golden Rays of Sunshine. (Manual captions)
In the Real World
Once more must we confront the uncomfortable truth: virtual worlds are imagined and made from a real one.
The Influences of Resident Evil Village – eurothug4000 (11:19)
Maria relates personal familiarity to the geographical and folkloric influences on the setting and story of Resident Evil Village. (Manual captions)
The Curious Story of China’s Indie Gaming Scene – NeverKnowsBest (2:23:34)
In this lengthy but engaging essay, NeverKnowsBest discusses the role/relationship of the Steam storefront with China’s burgeoning indie developer scene, reviews some games, and delves into some of the issues faced by Chinese developers, such as censorship, licensing and localisation. (Autocaptions)
Ubisoft’s Blockchain Experiments Are Bad for the Planet – People Make Games (15:58)
Reminding us how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies tend to use exorbitant amounts of fossil fuels and accelerate the climate catastrophe, Chris explains why Ubisoft’s recent experiments with blockchain should be cause for concern. (Autocaptions)
Here we have two of the requisite essays on formalist design for May 2021.
Why Do So Many Games Have Tanks, Healers and DPS? – Adam Millard – The Architect of Games (19:40)
Adam Millard discusses the strengths and limitations of the so-called “holy trinity” combination of player roles. (Manual captions)
The Isle video essay – Experimenting with the survival formula – SovietWomble (40:57)
SovietWomble explains how the asymmetrical pvp design of dino-survival game The Isle and player-enforced rules leads to a novel “player-run ecosystem”. (Autocaptions) [Note: ableist slur]
The ways videogames elicit specific feelings from players are explored in this next trio of short videos.
How Red Dead Redemption 2 Makes You Laugh – evanonline (8:12)
Evan deconstructs an unexpectedly comedic scene from the early moments of Red Dead Redemption 2. (Autocaptions)
Feeling Empty When You Finish A Game | Psych of Play – Daryl Talks Games (17:15)
Daryl talks through the psychology behind the feeling of attachment players sometimes develop to videogame narratives. (Manual captions)
Darkest Dungeon Wants You to Succeed – Static Canvas (8:22)
Thomas Ife finds some hidden player-assist mechanics underneath the foreboding veneer of Darkest Dungeon. (Manual captions)
Let’s finish up with a few important pieces about linking videogames, the labour that produces them, and the ways games represent labour issues.
Cyberpunk 2077: some cyber, no punk – Curio (1:18:00)
Eric Sophia lambasts Cyberpunk 2077’s problematic pastiche of orientalism, poor representations of mental health, a lack of imagination for a world post capitalism, and how when it comes to trans perspectives, ‘that conversation just never got had’. (Manual captions)
Play Labour | Mario Is a Class Traitor and Other Stories – Transparency (44:35)
Transparency analyse the way labour exploitation is represented in Sokoban, Mario Game & Watch, and Wilmot’s Warehouse. (Manual captions)
Why You Should “Say No! More” – eurothug4000 (10:40)
Driven to consider the deeper meanings of Keita Takahashi’s (ostensibly cheerful and silly) games, Maria thinks about the representation of office politics and exploitative dynamics in Say No! More. (Manual captions)
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