Welcome back, readers.
New TMIVGV this week! Check out some of the goodest and coolest video crit to come out in the last while, courtesy of, as always, Connor.
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
We’re opening this week with two pieces that ask us to consider broader contexts in order to appreciate issues of access and representation in games.
- The Case for Videogame Piracy | amr al-aaser
amr al-aaser invokes the questions of access, privilege, and preservation that cannot be uncoupled from the question of pirating games.
- Exploring Hybrid Gaming Cultures through Black Cyberfeminism | American Sociological Association
Kishonna L. Gray and Brigitte Perkins position Black Cyberfeminism as a corrective to dominant games scholarship which inadequately accounts for the intersections of physical and virtual spaces experiened and leveraged by Black gaming communities and players.
“Gaming, as a medium often outside conversations on Blackness and digital praxis, is becoming a more visible, viable, and legible tool for making sense of Black technoculture. It implores us to make visible the force of discursive practices that position practices within (dis)orderly social hierarchies and arrangements. The explicit formulations of the normative order are sometimes in disagreement with the concrete human condition, as well as inconsistent with the consumption and production practices that constitute Black digital labor, pleasure, and desire.”
Two roundup regulars this week continue to deliver astonishing and engrossing reads on the histories behind old, obscure, and obtuse games.
- Battle: Los Angeles | Bad Game Hall of Fame
Cassidy is back looking at a curious adaptation of a forgettable action flick.
- I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream | The Digital Antiquarian
Jimmy Maher tells the peculiar tale of a surreal sci-fi point-and-click horror game and a co-designer seemingly categorically opposed to the very medium.
“Having entered the meeting hoping only to secure the rights to Ellison’s short story, Pat Ketchum thus walked away having agreed to a full-fledged collaboration with the most choleric science-fiction writer in the world, a man destined to persist forevermore in referring to him simply as “the toad.” Whether this was a good or a bad outcome was very much up for debate.”
Our next section brings together different angles on identity–cultural, representational, and symbolic–while unpacking different structures in games–language, settings, and avatars.
- Far Cry 6 (PS4) – Reseña | GamerFocus
Julián Ramírez finds complex and thoughtful representation and an authentic setting in Yara amid some of Far Cry‘s recurring issues (Spanish-language article).
- Object Oriented #04: Masks
Paul Walker-Emig explores the interplay between masks and identities in games, as the former alternately obfuscate, expand, and synthesize the latter.
- Games Need To Stop Using Insane As A Difficulty Level | TheGamer
Helen Ashcroft unpacks some of the ableist language still prevalent in contemporary games.
- No Escape AFK Blog #2: What Does God of War’s Thor Really Do For Fatness Representation? | No Escape
Kaile Hultner observes that the types and roles fat bodies can occupy in games remain woefully limited, and allowing the God of Thunder to be fat does little to challenge that.
“It’s better than no fat representation at all. But that bar’s so low we had to dig out a basement for it to live in.”
Aesthetics and Ideologies
Continuing on, we’re featuring a pair of pieces that unpack the attitudes, aesthetics, and ideologies at play in games that bring together recreation and labour.
- The Mother of all fishing games – Kimimi The Game-Eating She-Monster
Kimimi checks out a game where fishing isn’t just arcade action–it’s a whole vibe.
- Stardew Valley, Cottagecore, and the Politics of Fashion | Gamers with Glasses
Juniper Lewis unpacks the politics at play in pastoral pantomime, be it in fashion, labour, or gaming.
“Dreaming of different and ideal digital worlds helps us imagine how we might make our own world a better place. Encouraging diversity and thoughtful evaluations of politics in fashion and gaming aren’t just an escape from the drudgery of capitalism but a way of cultivating a more gentle and egalitarian[?] world.”
Two pieces from creatives and makers meditating on the artistic process, practical making, and more.
- Level Up Your Poetry, Part 2: Anatomy of Two Gaming Poems | Sidequest
Katherine Quevedo gets into some of the nuts and bolts of videogame poetry, touching upon metre, punctuation, imagery, and more.
- Game designer and storyteller Zain Memon on charting your own course – The Creative Independent
Zain Memon chats about creating outside the establishment, collaborating, the function (and demands) of art, and more.
“It is very important for creators to understand the role they play in society. Games, films, and stories are not just fun. Fun is merely the capsule through which insight, inspiration, and aspiration are delivered. I often meet creators and audiences who tell me that media is just fun, and that we should “keep politics out of it.” The stories that claim to not be political, are often simply reinforcing the status quo, because every story is political.”
- Mario Party, not battle royale games, embodies the heart of Squid Game | Polygon
Ana Diaz asks who Luigi wouldn’t push off a cliff for a bit of coin.
“Sure, there are no guns, but the premise is similar. Four characters compete in a series of dangerous mini games to get their chance at getting more coins and power stars, the highest form of currency in the Mario universe. These characters are in a constant state of dying and being revived, only to be tested time after time by a series of Squid Game-like mini games.”
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!