Welcome back, readers.

I’m sorry to say I goofed it a bit last week by neglecting to mention Connor’s latest TMIVGV! Check that out if you haven’t already, and remember to use the #TMIVGV tag on Twitter when nominating video content.

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

Object-Oriented Deprograming

We open this week with three pieces exploring the uncomfortable tensions between labour, ownership, games and gaming communities, and economic mobility.

“I wondered what it must be like to have natural light in every room as I stuffed boardgames into the glass-fronted TV-stand. I thought of how nice it would be to have a dedicated office as I laid Instagram-ready succulent planters and a perfect pothos on a windowsill. It started to feel less like the relaxing exploration of a familiar process and more like creating my own unattainable product-catalogue dream.”

Countering Culture

Out this week are two pieces approaching gaming culture and its more toxic elements from opposite ends with a common question: who writes the narrative on games, gaming, and its reputation in the mainstream for violence and toxicity?

  • Being Willfully Bad at Games | Unwinnable
    Ruth Cassidy distinguishes between challenging games and the toxic culture that enshrines them, making that the case that the former deserves better than the latter.
  • The Man with the Gun is a Boy who Plays Games by C. A. Kocurek — Journal of Games Criticism
    Carly A. Kocurek critically unpacks the long American tradition of offloading the blame for white male violence onto videogames as a cultural scapegoat, thereby absolving white males of their violence (content notification: this article deals extensively with numerous American school shootings and media scrutiny of the perpetrators and their gaming habits, from Columbine onward).

“By externalizing the cause of white violence from perpetrators, these narratives both assume and reinforce white innocence, abdicating mass shooters for responsibility, and scapegoating a single entertainment form without meaningfully interrogating the broader culture that has produced it.”

Save States

Next up are two pieces about two very different games, a full 60 years apart in time, united by the conversations of preservation and historicity.

“Will the world miss a handful of niche sub-AAA RPGs that most never knew about? Probably not. There are other games, for sure. But preservation is important. And one rule about preservation is having more versions of a thing in more places means it’s more likely to endure.”


One of the oft-repeated talking points of contemporary meta-hucksters is the potential for metaverse platforms to disrupt geopolitical and digital borders. But those outcomes, on a conceptual and ideological level, are extant and ongoing in contemporary independent games authored and assembled on somewhat less ecocatastrophical scales. That’s my reasoning for putting these very different pieces in conversation, at any rate.

“Using theories of performance from Dorinne Kondo and others, the author shows how queer indie visual novels are primarily aspirational, in that they build queer, utopic, and seemingly anti-racist worlds through the Asiatic space of the visual novel form. In so doing, they also allow players to explore the Asiatic as a means of repairing the traumas and distances of American imperial cultures.”

Critical Hits

On deck we’ve got three single-game critical meditations delving into the comfortably uncomfortable, the uncomfortably comfortable, and more.

“In some sense, I do admire what Lake is trying to do. It uses the tools of AAA games to move away from bombast and towards smallness. It wants to reaffirm the validity of communal work. Its stalwart refusal of conflict undermines its noble intentions. It tears out the context of its time, thereby removing real power from its setting. It deemphasizes the regular heartache of life, making its joy powerless. Its narrative frame can have real power, even in escape or simple joy. Even simple stories, though, are better with shade and contrast.”

Critical Chaser

This week we’re closing out with a blend of poetry and critical reflection.

“I’m proud of the line “basically my head is a cube.””


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