Welcome back, readers.

First things first, thank you this week to everyone who circulated our Patreon Update or became a backer! We’ve seen a boost in support that has helped pull us out of immediate peril, and we’re incredibly grateful for that. We’d like to push this a bit further in the hopes of building up more long-term security for our work, so if you haven’t already retweeted the original post or are interested in becoming a backer yourself, we’d love that!

Now, on with the usual good stuff.

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

Representation Matters

Meaningfully diverse representation has to be more than just the characters on-screen. It has to extend to the stories being told, the influenes they draw upon, the themes being wrestled with, and–most critically–the people telling the stories.

“To live in the Global South is to brave apocalyptic conditions enacted by the West. They appropriate our stories, but they change the setting, they make up a villain, and then they cast themselves as the hero. Their empty dioramas are filled with caricatures of cruelty and sadism. Their “reality” is voyeuristic and escapist. After all, they’re only tourists here.”

Design Constraints

Our next section this week is about tactics, choices, and affordances in games, and the ways in which systems and worlds impact those decisions and outcomes.

“Ultimately, Starfighter: Eclipse is a game that defies its own boundaries to deliver stories of love and sex within containment. From the literal confines of a ship far off from human civilization to the unique challenges of basing a visual novel on more linear source material, Eclipse balances the realities that shape all romance: uncontrollable circumstances and the free will to navigate them.”

Art Lessons

Here we’ve got two breakdowns of the culture and context which inform in-game art assets.

“Unlike Mordor, Oblivion sought to follow the Tolkien tradition of map-making, even if it’s not as finely illustrated as his maps. The game is set in the province of Cyrodiil, which is also known as the Imperial Province or the capital province of the human empires in Tamriel, one of the Elder Scrolls series’ many continents. And what we know of maps, in essence, is that they are more than just a way to inform people of the specifics of a province, country or region, but they’re also inherently political, capable of shaping our collective worldview, while also a reflection of the cartographer’s priorities.”

Time and Place

Our next three featured writers situate their games and platforms of study in their original cultural moments to better understand their influences and legacies.

Spellgram is described as a “space fantasy” incorporating heraldry and hidden spells. Unfortunately, this hint is close to the only taste of what the game might have been; the catalogue is vague about the story they hoped to tell and how it would have played. The screenshots don’t reveal much about gameplay, though they imply an interesting setting.”

Critical Chaser

A beautiful comic to close out the week.

  • Extra Lives | Unwinnable
    Sara Clemens reminisces, via Shiek and Ocarina of Time, about girlhood and a world hostile to it.


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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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