Welcome back readers.

No major news from around the site today, though I have realized it may be a good idea to occasionally bump our own Patreon up top here, as opposed to just quietly linking it at the bottom every week. Every little bit helps, you know?

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

Bringing Down the Walls

We don’t reblog a ton of academic game studies material, partly owing to a problem many authors in this issue point out: it’s paywalled, or otherwise inaccessible. Right now, however, the doors are open, and the whole issue is worth a read. This is just a taste; I’ll be coming back to this in subsequent weeks.

“We need to work to show why subjective analysis is not a problem and explain why no research can ever be “objective.” This might involve more carefully explaining how issues of media representation are tied to broader social structures and systemic oppression, and more collaboration between scholars using different methods to argue the same points. I am not suggesting that close reading needs to be “proven” by other methods, rather I feel there is no need for methodological divisions when it comes to feminist intervention—we should use whatever tools we have to communicate with the public and dismantle oppressive systems.”

Time and Place

Next up, two lookbacks at games from the 2000s where context is key, and understanding the movements both in the industry and wider popular culture at the time is vital to really getting them.

Midnight Club 3 captures a very specific moment in time. In 2005, hip-hop was reaching new commercial peaks. Its ties to car culture could be seen everywhere, from shows like Pimp My Ride to the pages of DUB Magazine, but Midnight Club 3 was its videogame champion.”

Looking Back

Sarah Stang’s article above argues for the importance of writing the self into research as part of a feminist practice. While she’s talking from an academic context where there remains much resistance to this idea, it’s a well-loved genre in other spaces–though you don’t need me to tell you that toxicity isn’t exclusive to the domain of the ivory tower, either! Anyway, here are two fine pieces that do just that–weave the self into a compelling meditation on a game.

“Orpheus fails. He looks back at Eurydice and dooms her soul to eternal captivity. In his grief, he plays a mournful song and is torn apart by beasts—damning himself to the underworld. Don’t Look Back, meanwhile, reveals the player’s quest is a fantasy. There is no saving your love. There is only the acceptance of your own isolation and loss.”

The Way We Play

Here, I’ve brought together a variety of pieces–a how-to guide of sorts, a critique on gacha, and an interview touching upon genres, art movements, and playstyles–because they’re all about, well, play! That is to say, they’re about what motivates us, what entices us, and what we do to make games our own.

“As much as a lot of us (including me) love games that can fall under the increasingly popular and valid categories of “cozy” or “wholesome,” sometimes the best mindful games are the ones that resemble the golden age of edgy comics and rock music.”

Human After All

Now, we’ve got two articles approaching the question of what it means to be human, from both bodily and emotional standpoints.

“Looking at Norman Reedus’ bare ass reminded me of the ease with which my straight friends could inhabit the world, an ease that I could access in flickers and spirits, until that part of me died.”

Critical Chaser

This is cheeky and I like it.

“What if we removed all the combat, the platforming, skill-based anything? What if we only had press w to move forward, mouse to look around, dialogue, environmental storytelling, audio logs, item descriptions, cinematics, choices that matter, and a dash of light puzzling to taste? Walking sims are so simple, surely it should be easy, right?”


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