I hope you’re well. Here are January’s vods and odds.
This Month In Videogame Vlogging highlights the most compelling critical videos about videogames from the previous calendar month.
In Defence of Maligned 3D Platformers
A couple of essayists go in to bat for 3D platformers they feel have received the rough end of the reviewer’s stick.
The Complex Beauty of Super Mario Sunshine – Skyehoppers (32:00)
Skyehoppers argues that many of Super Mario Sunshine’s perceived flaws can be seen as necessary (or at least, understandable) design adjustments, compared to other 3D Mario titles, when considering both the game’s more cohesive world-building and its complex depiction of the adverse ecological impacts of tourism. (Manual captions)
Balan Wonderworld Is the Game of the Year | A Provocative Essay – Transparency (58:00)
Transparency builds a case that many of the criticisms levelled at Balan Wonderworld are overblown and unreasonable. (Manual captions)
Game World Feels
We now move on to a couple of pieces that contemplate different sorts of feelings effected by game environments.
Nature’s Harsh Truths in Outer Wilds and Rain World – Pixel a Day (25:25)
Kat analyses how both Outer Wilds and Rain World use static environmental difficulty to represent ‘nature’ as powerful, indifferent, and not to be trifled with, actually. (Manual captions)
World of Warcraft and the Pleasure of Mundanity – Afterthoughts (27:52)
Sam Kern compares definitions of ‘play’ and ‘fun’ against recollections of enjoying more passive and repetitive forms of engagement – particularly grinding and exploring – in World of Warcraft. (Autocaptions)
Concerning: Hypothetical Futures
These next four videos look at different intersections of technology, ideology, online communities and anxieties about contested versions of ‘the future’ being played out in current discourses and marketing schemes. As a whole, this section is maybe as adjacent to ‘videogames’ as I’m likely to get when selecting these things, but I do think these are all important conversations to have.
I Don’t Know What the Metaverse Is (But No One Else Does, Either) – Straszfilms (36:14)
Strasz argues that ‘the metaverse’ is an essentially meaningless term. (Autocaptions)
VR is NOT The Future of Video Games – Graythorn (17:36)
Graythorn reasons that the way movement in virtual reality is necessarily tied to the player’s body limits it as a potential ur-platform for videogames. (Autocaptions)
The Alt-Right in Tabletop Games – John Battle (56:21)
As a way of explaining fascistic infiltration tactics, John Battle does a deep dive/explainer on the activities of some pundits active in online TTRPG spaces. (Manual captions)
Line Goes Up – The Problem With NFTs – Folding Ideas (2:18:22)
Dan Olson methodically explains why NFTs are a terrible scam, both philosophically and in practice. (Manual captions)
Politics? In GAMES?
Hyper-aware that they aren’t ‘meant’ to be talking about politics in games, our final videoists for this month decide to do it anyway.
Ideology of Resident Evil | Resimania – Sophie from Mars (1:15:46)
Sophie unpacks the way themes of institutional control, eugenics, and American imperialism are depicted and explored across the Resident Evil series. (Autocaptions) [Embedded advertising]
The Politics of Yakuza 0 – Big No No (46:14)
Big No No discusses how the eighties setting of Yakuza 0 emphasises parallels between Yakuza authority structures and predatory capitalism, with game mechanics that directly demonstrate “the destructive power of money”. (Autocaptions)