Welcome back, readers.

I don’t have any major site updates to share this week, but if you aren’t doing so already, give Uppercut a dang follow and maybe check out their Patreon. Reporting often falls slightly outside our scope at Critical Distance, but their coverage of Activision Blizzard’s abusive workplace culture has been essential, and they do it all on a shoestring budget. So yeah.

This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.

Industry Introspection

We open this week with a pair of industry-minded critiques: some theory and some practice (I refuse to call it praxis here godsdammit).

    Matteo Lupetti examines what wholesome games as a discourse erases and leaves out by situating them in a larger framework of meme apolitics, social algorithms, and pol(wh)ite neoliberal society.
  • Assuming Control | 4xisblack 
    Brendan Vance proposes alternative tactics to personal boycotts in light of the Activision-Blizzard revelations.

“I don’t think Boss Guy cares whether he loses you to boredom or to disgust; it’s possible he only cares about the newly-acquired eyeballs who are more likely to pay him than you are, & so frankly I think he’d love for the players who most care about workplace abuses to go off & care about something else. That’s why, if you really want to fuck with him, exodus might not be the answer; maybe instead you can hang around as long as it’s still bearable, trying your best to make it so all the new players hate Boss Guy too!”

The Test of Time

Next we turn to legacies, and games which over time have made lasting impressions–some good, some not-so-good, but all of them influential.

“it’s the hybridized synthesis of instant-gratification arcade games and longer-lasting computer games, which is the traditional territory of the console game since Adventure [1980]. Some would argue it wouldn’t find its proper home until it hit the Famicom. Tower Of Druaga being spiritually a console game in the arcade (and Pac-Land [1984] too) feels indicative of a change in the weather, maybe even a passing of the torch.”

Story Tellers

Next up, three pieces on worldbuilding, narrative themes, and storytelling tools.

“I wanted to expand the expressive capacity of the system in directions that would be more surprising and less effortful. And I also wanted the project to acknowledge the way that these iconographic systems are never just one person’s invention.”

Intrepid Interviews

Three more in-depth and wide-reaching interviews this week.

“I do not lack for strong women in my family to look up to (hey, Ma!). But so often, Black women and women in general are often taught that the strength we need to survive must come at the expense of our humanity and the things that bring us joy. If we must work twice as hard for half the credit, then there is no time for games. Ms. Guillory’s Black womanhood matters because not only did she make time for games, but used her experience with them to forge life and career that’s made her happy—a story she hopes will inspire others.”

There and Back Again

We return now to the topic of legacies, but this time we do so in relation to games with remakes, re-releases, and updates. How do these games make the transition? How do they continue to speak to us in their original form?

“Ultimately, a director’s cut only greatens the disparity between the “artist” and the team that is also creating the art. Quite simply, auteurs couldn’t create their works without money, a team, and somebody helping to manage the whole thing, and more often than not it feels like that goes unrecognized. In addition, they fail to recognize how much it would help if they stood aside and lifted up names other than their own at times. They fail to realize that diversity and uplifting in the games industry isn’t done by creating characters and telling stories, but by including and supporting those around you.”

Critical Chaser

A little poetry to close out the week.

“I’ll find a wife within reach and
we’ll get married while
all our neighbors watch, all hoping
that they’re next. Hoping that love
is just formulaic”


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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!