Welcome back, readers.

You’ll never believe what happened to me today, reader, for this issue to be going out so late in the evening. Well. . . actually, you would believe it. It’s all entirely believable, and not entirely interesting. Long story short, I broke my computer, fixed it (shoutout to my brother for help on that front), broke it again, fixed it again, and now we’re here!

While I’ve got you, now feels like a good time to mention that our annual This-Year-In-Videogame-Blogging submissions are now open! If we missed something over the past year (and I definitely do miss stuff, having four other jobs and a Ph.D thesis that I’m. . . working on) or if you just want to remind us how rad something you wrote or read was, let us know!

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

Working the Workers

This week we’ve got a lot of pieces that reflect on the industry in some capacity! To that end, I’ve decided to split them into two sections. This first bloc has more of a focus on workers, creators, failures of both ethics and imagination, and a call to envision better for the future.

“I think of the role of the artist, of the opportunity of the artist, as to be able to say to the audience, hey, this dark dream you’ve been sold? It’s not the only dream in town, and here, dream a better one with me. Dream a hundred different ones. There is an alternative. Let’s imagine our way out of this reality together.”

Playing the Players

Continuing the two-parter, this next section focuses more on consumers, brand loyalty, and marketing.

“The density of brand universes and their intricate interrelations with other franchises correlates to an emotional intensity of fan investment that can’t find sufficient outlet through simply consuming the products. On their About page charter, independent news site Nintendo Wire declares, “We want you, fellow gamers and our readers, to always know that gaming isn’t just a hobby in our eyes — it’s a way of living.” What more could a marketing department ask for?”

Shared Play

Continuing the theme, this next section also examines play, this time in shared contexts at two levels of scale–between loved ones and on streaming platforms.

“The VTubing space offers more than acceptance: It’s a world where trans women can transition instantaneously.”

Wide-Angle Shot

Next, we’re bringing together four authors situating their games-of-topic in their wider critical contexts, unpacking ideologies of design, play, and reflection.

BABE: So what are we OutRunning [1986] anyway?

DUDE: Death, baby.

Critical Rearview

Now, let’s look back, be it one year or ten, as two authors examine what has changed, what cannot change, and what should change in our critical understanding of tentpole titles from yesteryear.

“By connecting a real-life excavation with the vague and subtly overlapping scenarios presented in the Quran and Quran-inspired stories from One Thousand and One Nights, Uncharted 3 conjures up a perfect storyline for Nathan Drake. However, on the game’s 10th anniversary, the developers once again cited Lawrence of Arabia as their sole inspiration.”

Saga Frontiers

Continuing a focus on the past, let’s now turn our attention to a very specific point in time and genre–RPGs in the early 2000s–as our three selected authors look at back at what these games mean today.

“Sometimes fictional works include a religious reference because they’re trying to pass comment on the spiritual state of humanity and our need to find purpose within a vast and seemingly indifferent cosmos, and sometimes they do it because religion can be Mary Magdalene’s skull encased in a solid gold helmet with a glass viewing window and there’s nothing more to these echoes than copying a cool look. Xenosaga’s a bit of both, and that’s fine.”

Critical Chaser


“Freedom alleviates the frustration, or there’s never any to be found because games like Burnout and Blur understand that racing can and should be for everyone, regardless of skill level or familiarity with a genre that can far too happily leave newcomers behind. Cruis’n Blast is the perfect combination of these two factors, offering a simplistic racer with so much personality, so much variety, and so much unexpected brilliance that I can help but grin every time I find myself on the starting line.”


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