Welcome back, readers.

Things remain a little quieter this week in the back half of summer, but we’re still here with a slate of new, urgent, and provocative critical pieces gathered here for your reading pleasure.

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

Industry Spotlights

Two very different documents open our issue this week, spanning the topics of games preservation and industry abuse. The latter will doubtlessly be difficult for many to read, but let’s not allow this conversation to die on the vine.

“I have found that predators were enabled in all departments across Blizzard regardless of level, gender, age or race. It would appear that Blizzard was and is a place where bullying and harassment is encouraged and rewarded. These disturbing behaviors appear to be normalized deep within the walls where bullies and harassers are promoted and their victims are ignored, stepped on, pushed out, or let go.”

New Game

Next up, we have some crunchy pieces this week on structure and design as they correspond to narrative, world, pacing, and level design.

“Make the audience want to know what comes next, and do it by making moments necessary.”


Moving on, we’ve got two articles this week situating popular titles in relation to their objects of critique in our own world, evaluating their successes and shortcomings of imagination and execution.

“I challenge you to consider if the ideas and systems that have come before are the only choices we have going forward. Consider the societies that preceded coal burning and print pressing. Consider hundreds of peoples before which constructed their societies around the welfare of their people. Consider the one who has everything they need.”

Active Timeless Battle

Our next section this week is all about Japanese role-playing games in one way or another, looking at their structures, accomodations, design hallmarks, and their place in the contemporary games landscape.

NEO guides you towards acting like a local by refusing to give you the video game-y conveniences in games like Grand Theft Auto or Insomniac’s Spider-Man. There is no mini map or fast travel, and the connections between streets don’t necessarily signal themselves to you as a player. You can definitely get lost in Shibuya if you’re not paying attention, and it’s up to you to pay attention to your surroundings so you don’t.”

Queer Horizons

We turn now to thorny tensions in queer representation across games and series. Whether its the protracted fights for bare-minimum representation or the flawed and fraught depictions and allegories we actually receive in popular games, queerness remains… messy. Read on for more articulate insights.

“In theory, the asari represent a break from traditional, human modes of gender. In practice, they recreate specific queer discourses of human history, offering either assimilation or death to its queer analogs.”

Critical Chaser

This week we have the pleasure of concluding our issue with two critical art exhibits, author and critic-curated, respectively, situating two well-known and well-loved games into overlooked and underappreciated contexts.

“The point of this exhibition is pain. The pain of shifting focus as an observer. The pain of how, after so many decades of feminist analysis, I can read fifty articles about how modern art and film are just like Silent Hill 2 – full of conjecture about art that looks similar by important cisgender men – and not see any of the works by artists I know are direct aesthetic parallels. Here are a few of them.”


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