Welcome back, readers.

I’ve got a couple of updates from around the site before we get going this week. First, there’s a new Keywords in Play! This episode’s guest is April Tyack, and the topic is the research around different kinds of player experience, and especially the ideas around ordinary player experience. Check it out!

Additionally, I’d like to pass along this Call for Papers for an upcoming publication on Local Digital Game Production, in which our own Emilie Reed is involved as a co-editor/organizer. If you think your research intersects with this topic, please do check out the CFP for more details–the submission deadline for abstracts is March 1st.

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

Text and Context

Our opening section this week tackles appropriation, colonialism, and Orientalism in the industry–topical this week on account of the recent relase of Sifu, but always a topic warranting critical attention.

“Even though they hired consultants to help build the world of Marquet, the consultants aren’t the people through whose eyes we’re seeing that world. We will only ever experience Marquet through the lens of the Critical Role cast members, who have already positioned themselves as outsiders. As Orientalism has proved, the reality of who made a culture has less control over how it’s portrayed than the ones who hold the power. Consultants may have helped shape the world, but they will not be the ones to guide us through it.”

A ‘Pocalypse on all Our Indies!

Indiepocalypse–the ever-shifting assertion that there are simply too many games and/or that people should just stop making them–is trending again this week, which is bad, but the articles it has produced in response this week are good.

“The games industry is perhaps due for a shift of perspective, and for us to reconsider indie games as the antithesis of triple-A games, rather than just the conditions under which they’re made: games that break conventions, games that are deeply experimental and weird, games that look like they have been put together under a week instead of years, and games that simply don’t fit the strict confines of what constitutes a video game. In that sense, it’s easier to see that we still don’t have enough indie games, because there are so much more that can be realised.”

Stay Awhile and Listen!

There have been some really good interview-focused pieces lately, with topics ranging from labour conditions, climate sustainability, MUDS, and more. Here were five standouts that I came across in my travels this week.

Arkadia may not have been an official adaptation, and it may not be as widely celebrated or as well known as the recent Netflix series or CD Projekt Red’s games, but it was and continues to be beloved by those who played it. It paved the way for later adaptations of Sapkowski’s world and is still a unique experience for Witcher fans, letting players step out of Geralt’s now-familiar shoes and become rebels, peasants, and wizards instead — provided they can read the original language of the series.”


The list is a critically under-appreciated genre, I think. Here were three, on a range of important and relatable topics, for your more concise reading pleasure.

“For me, a good flare game needs to be calm, with easy controls that won’t put a lot of pressure on my hands, where my pain’s often pretty bad. That also means I need to be able to play the game with a controller, although many of the games on this list can also be played with a keyboard and mouse, and a few are available on mobile. Outside of controls, a good flare game lets me feel like I’m actively engaging in some way, whether by solving puzzles or completing quests, but at a low level of difficulty so I can comfortably play with brain fog.”

Genre Studies

With apologies to Art that genre is so often the critical thread I pull out of their writing, when naturally there is a lot more at stake in both of these pieces.

Jenny LeClue: Detectivú is not only a middle grade game because of its young protagonist, its bildungsroman structure, and its themes; it’s also a game about children’s fiction. It’s explicitly about what young people can handle, a question we grapple with every day as today’s youth experience climate change, violent insurrections, a pandemic, threats of fascism, and all the regular teen and tween concerns on top of that.”

Critical Chaser

A fairly heavy story this week, but a very worthwhile one, too.

“I didn’t mean to stay for this long. I might have left the island like my ex did, by omission, if there hadn’t been an update. Stepping foot on the island once more, I found it overgrown with weeds and my house overrun with roaches. As it turned out, much of the update didn’t affect me since I was not the resident representative: the first player to arrive on the island. Still, islanders could now invite me into their house and even enter mine. I could stretch with them in the town square with light, although surprisingly involved, calisthenics. I could still see smoke rising from the chimney of my ex’s house, although I knew if I went inside, it would be empty.”


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

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