Welcome back, readers.

Hey! Connor’s back with a new TMIVGV, and this issue’s positively packed. Check it out!

Elsewhere, the folks over at KRITIQAL recently wrapped an essay jam centred around forgotten games, producing a bunch of cool, offbeat, and interactive works. A few highlights show up in this week’s roundup, and since I haven’t read everything yet, expect to see more here in the next week or two.

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

Observing a Creamy Moral Centre

A few different themes run through our opening section this week–videogame morality, branching paths, player choices, and observation are the big ones–as our first three selected writers unpack the deeper ideological nuances in popular games.

“The “monsters” which we have been instructed to attack and kill, by King Rhoam, Prince Sidon and Princess Zelda (not to mention the loading screen), are revealed as civilized beings. This realization brings more self-doubt to the player. Overall, narrative and environment work together to challenge the player’s assumptions, on the positioning of the “hero” vis-à-vis creatures in the gameworld, and the binary system of civilized/uncivilized in which that positioning takes place.”

In Commune

Next up, we look at player communities and maker communities, respectively, as games and the early Internet bring people together in new ways.

“Fear of the unknown has often kept creators working in different languages apart. Fear of not understanding, of looking foolish, of making mistakes, or—worst, for a creator in a fragile bubble—of being ignored. Yet as Melitón noted, perhaps this flavor of fear is one we ought to leave in the previous century.”


Which critical flaws are we willing to overlook in isolation in service to the game’s larger goals? Conversely, which ones are we unable to look past, which ultimately sink the ship? Our next section wrestles with these questions by way of three different authors and three different games.

“The problem is that the base story of the game is still bad and the game’s messaging to look beyond the base story is poorly conveyed. And in the end, I think that engaging with the meta narrative actually undermines one of the gane’s messages. And to be honest? I’m mad, but not in the way this game originally made me. I’m frustrated, because I actually see what the game is attempting to do and say, but it feels bungled.”

Detect Game

Moving along, this next segment nominally brings together a pair of detective games, but both authors ultimately peel away the surface trappings to reveal games with different ideological concerns entirely.

“Her interactive did not intentionally make a scathing indictment of our entire social and economic world order, they just made a game set in it, starring a person whose values conform to its popular values, and unfortunately it’s really hard to do that WITHOUT making it come off as a scathing indictment.”

Limit Breaks

Next up we have three JRPGs unpacked along very different critical axes, looking at narrative structure, queer community, and marketing trends, respectively.

“Part of the reason games take the “gritty” direction is because technological advancement in the games market encourages it. Rather than investing in experimental ideas of games, game designers (who are scraping by the edge of their seat or having their game refunded for not being designed around tradition) invest in recreations of reality. But these recreations are not reality, rather, they are apocalypses for the majoritarian games audience to indulge in and then obsess over in reality. Piles of corpses, burning buildings, and trauma-soaked violence give the impression that enough pain somehow validates the medium as art.”

Critical Chaser

This week we close out with two final pieces; a zine and a poem respectively, both about old, largely forgotten games. Enjoy. Or have weird, timeworn feelings. Both?

“With names like Desire Village
and the Kingdom of Enrich, this RPG
setting begged for betterment.”


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