Welcome back readers, and happy Mother’s Day.
. . .Look, if we’re being honest it’s been a pretty fucked up week for a lot of moms, or really anybody who likes having human rights but isn’t a white moneyed republican. Kaile reblogged a pretty steep list of local orgs and abortion funds you can donate to if you’re looking for a way to help someone remotely.
Okay, okay, here’s the good stuff we found this week.
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Our opening segment this week brings together detailed meditations on art and genre.
- CHILDHOOD FANTASIES – DEEP HELL
Bryn Gelbart muses on the topics of genre and derivation to think through the pleasures of fantasy in games–both in novel derivatives that go overlooked, and the occasional wild successes that end up becoming their own zeitgeists.
- does art say things? | GB ‘Doc’ Burford
GB Burford unravels misconceptions and oversimplifications about how games (or really just art generally) make arguments and convey the worldviews of their creators.
“If you want to be persuasive, you need to convince your audience to care, and you cannot do this if you attempt to do so purely on an idea-driven level. People will reject it, because they’ll feel condescended to, or because their current way of life is emotionally ingrained in them.”
Don’t Sleep on It
. . . I say, wearily climbing a cartoonishly high ladder to reset my giant wall counter for it’s been This Many Days since we’ve run a dedicated section on a cool game I haven’t had time to play yet.
- Citizen Sleeper review: a subversive sci-fi RPG with tabletop freedom | Polygon
Alexis Ong eases into life on the Eye in Citizen Sleeper.
- ‘Citizen Sleeper’ Is a Game About Finding Home in a World That Hates You | VICE
Renata Price meditates on the commoditized tensions of bodily existence in Citizen Sleeper.
“I continue going through cycles to feed the cat, play games of tavla for cryo, and help out at the local bar. At first, I expect an endgame surprise, like a sadistic JRPG boss hiding in the wings (which would be a decidedly uncharacteristic move for the developer), but nothing happens. What am I supposed to do without a drive? Why am I even here? It’s almost trollish, but I realize I have no reason to expect more.”
Next up, two pieces on industry trends past, present, and future.
- Square Enix sells Tomb Raider: Gaming’s worst trend is more boring than you think | Inverse
Willa Rowe sees a trend towards less creativity and more timidity as studios are gathered up under fewer and lager corporate tents.
- Playing it the European way – A Discussion on the European Gaming Market in the 80s | The Genesis Temple
Damiano Gerli offers a detailed and demystifying history of the complex and heterogeneous market shares of consoles and micros across Europe.
“Indeed, forty years ago, well before the digital revolution and on-line markets, each nation had a different and unique approach to the industry: this included the number of “gaming” systems available. This is especially true for Europe, a market that followed quite a different set of rules than the US. In order to try and figure out how the European market worked, along with how it shaped the industry and the public for the following decades, there is one thing to keep in mind: there is no single narrative.”
A pair of solid interviews this week went out on games development in wartime and South Asian representation; check ’em out!
- Ukrainian Game Devs Work Under Missiles, Russian Occupation | Kotaku
Sisi Jiang talks with Ukrainian developers about life and work going on amidst a daily reality of war and death (content notification for discussion, beyond the war generally, of Russia’s specific crimes against humanity including rape and genocide).
- Video Games Are Lagging Behind In South Asian Representation | GameSpot
Saniya Ahmed talks with Meghna Jayanth, Chandana Ekanayake, and more about the barriers both on and off screen to meaningful and authentic representation of South Asian voices and experiences in games.
“Ekanayake explained that diversifying who is in leadership roles and funding projects can enact positive change for better representation. “Until we have more women and people of color in leadership roles, you’re not going to see a lot of risks being taken–especially for AAA games because the budgets are so much bigger, and marketing, and expectations of trying to appeal to as many people as possible–inherently there’s going to be less controversial subjects, themes or characters. They don’t think it will be as marketable,” he said.”
States of Play
Play and counterplay take centre stage in this week’s largest section.
- Cheating the Challenge Away: My Experience With ‘Elden Ring,’ ‘Dark Souls,’ and ‘Returnal’ | Epilogue Gaming
Flora Eloise rediscovers the time-honoured pleasures of cheats in modern games, with a little help from mods.
- Let Me Tell You About My OC(s): Tabletop RPGs as Disempowerment Fantasies | Sidequest
Melissa Brinks turns the tables with her subversive and indulgent tabletop characters.
- How Master Duel Taught Me to Play Card Games | Video Game Choo Choo
Walker discusses the accessibility advantages of getting into trading card games digitally, whether it’s learning the rules, finding friends, or acquiring the dang cards.
“I am of course talking about my experience with Master Duel and the overcomplicated, combo-laden beast that is Yu-Gi-Oh. But duelling simulators solve many other issues inherent to the traditional card game format, primarily those concerning time and space. Why yes, I am talking about them solving the theory of relativity, that is exactly what I mean.”
A short, raw meditation sees us out this week.
- Amisso Amico | Into The Spine
Ryan Easby reflects on friendship, grief, and Final Fantasy XV (content notification for death).
“Memory drifts back, to our joint experiences, our shared bond. One that transcends the supposed archaic boundaries of friendship and becomes something closer to family.”
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!