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Abortion should be safe, legal, and accessible everywhere, no reasons, no qualifiers. That’s it!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Yeah We’re Still Highlighting the Queer Games Bundle
Let’s start this week with some interviews, bringing together two more of Caroline Delbert’s mini-interviews with creators, as well as Ruth Cassidy’s chat with the organizers!
- In Plush Bunch’s Boiling Over, a trans barista gets to push back | Caroline Delbert
Caroline Delbert talks to Emily Horton about the realities of service work and designing for meaningful interaction.
- Florence Walker’s poetic games explore the body and the ground | Caroline Delbert
Caroline Delbert chats with Florence Walker about theme and form, craft and birds.
- The Queer Games Bundle Is Direct Action for Pride Month | Fanbyte
Ruth Cassidy talks about the theory and practice behind the Queer Games Bundle with its organizers.
““[There are] enough queer games that you could play a new game every day for a year and not run out,” McCue says. “More valuably, it buys a future where queer artists aren’t desperate and can live as human beings with the dignity to be able to afford what they need while doing what they love. It buys a future.””
The Boys Are Back in Towns
What’s Final Fantasy about? I’ll defer to two better-informed writers on this matter.
- Final Fantasy Is about Towns | Paste
Dia Lacina describes the central structural and thematic importance of Towns in Final Fantasy over the years–even when they’re absent.
“Towns are the framework where the guys exist to do more than fight monsters. It expands the verb set of the field to include conversations with townsfolk, rest and recovery at the inn, learning about the world and why it matters. These are where guys come alive while shopping and peering down old wells together wondering about the possibility and shape of their world. These are the safe spaces for guys to bare their hearts to other guys, and remind themselves of why they set out on these journeys anyway.”
- Final Fantasy Is about Guys | Paste
Jackson Tyler celebrates all the guys active time battlin’ dudes.
“For over 30 years, Final Fantasy has been providing some of the best Guys around. Auron? That’s a Guy. Vivi? One of the all time Guys. Palom and Porom? Guys so good that Sakaguchi just used them again in Lost Odyssey.”
Identity at Play
Here we’ve got a selection of pieces examining different identity tensions in games, how they are constructed in-universe, out-of-universe, and more.
- Exploring My Queerness in Pelican Town | Sidequest
Marina Z describes the intersection between escapism and identity exploration in Stardew Valley.
- Proud Pixels – Trans Identity And Character Creators — startmenu
Alexandra Day talks trans representation, character customization, and the Jedi Knight she was always meant to be.
- Horizon Forbidden West, Authorship, and Identity | Sidequest
Madison Butler finds Horizon: Forbidden West to be caught between a desire to be expansive and open and a tendency to fall upon restrictions and right answers, both in terms of character development and gameplay.
“The authorship that Forbidden West extends its players has caveats: you can play the game on the game’s terms. Unlike The Witcher 3 or Breath of the Wild, where much of the joy of play comes from figuring out how to solve a problem—beating a boss, reaching a new location, discovering a sidequest—within the rules of game’s world, Horizon Forbidden West will tell you exactly how to solve the problem. The player simply needs to be skilled enough to solve it.”
Now, two very different pieces with a loose theme of patterns–patterns in data, patterns in play.
- What does it mean to be Wholesome in 2022? | Hilver
Hilver takes a different approach to Wholesome discourse and performs some actual data analysis, examining the most frequently recurring characters and ideas in the games showcased in the Wholesome Direct.
- Entropy Machines: On Battle Platform Antilles — Gamers with Glasses
Alexander B. Joy investigates what a tabletop wargame can teach us about AI, our tendency to anthropomorphize the alien, and the limits of that tendency.
“To play Battle Platform Antilles is to pit your most human impulses – pattern recognition, prediction, risk aversion – against an enemy who neither thinks like you nor benefits from thinking like you. It’s asymmetry with a purpose. The Antilles doesn’t simply have a goal and strategy antithetical to yours, but an entire way of being that stands in opposition to your own. You are fighting the alien – not the humanoid, but the truly inhuman: that which is utterly incommensurate with us.”
Next up we’ve got a pair of lookbacks at influential RPGs.
- Remote Control, a quintessential game made with RPG Maker | Vidyasaur
Vidyasaur digs into the history behind a console-based RPG Maker game that for a brief moment managed to break into mainstream games press coverage.
- June 2022 Update – The Only Game I Ever Replay | Clockwork Worlds
Austin Walker collects his thoughts from ten years and counting with Dragon’s Dogma.
“Insofar as I love Dragon’s Dogma, it is a waste of time to look for a single key—I am wrapped up by it, not by a single metal rope, but by dozens. The way it feels to break into a sprint. Locked. The voice of the Blacksmith—masterworks all. Locked. The sinking realization that I dropped all my healing items into storage, and have only whatever I scavenged here, deep into the shadowy isle. Locked. The escort quests—I hated these once, and now they are a pleasing punctuation in the ritual, the last thing I do before advancing to the next stage of the game’s campaign. Locked.”
We close this week with the latest Elden.
- PART 2 – DEEP HELL
Skeleton comes to the Hold.
“A mausoleum for giants, a palace of ownership. All of the ways I can turn a phrase to describe it, and really only one word is the truth: 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!