Welcome back readers.

There was less to read this week. And that really is, I want to stress, a loss for everyone.

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

New Quest

This opening segment changed around a lot as I was putting the issue together. It was never quite cohesive and topical enough to be called Hot Goss. For a while it was about adventure games, but visual novels are of course a distinct if related genre. Now it’s simply about stories–in games and around games–and that’s no bad thing. Pull up a seat, weary traveller; let’s begin.

  • How Should We Be Talking About Visual Novels?
    Kastel criticizes opacity, insularity, and inaccesibility in a community that is too often reacting to misconceptions rather than fostering more productive conversations about visual novels.
  • Leisure Suit Larry [1987] – Arcade Idea
    Art Maybury returns to evaluate the ways in which Leisure Suit Larry, in his characteristically bumbling fashion, both affirms and subverts the tenets of transactional play.
  • notes on norco
    lotus has written, to my mind, the best piece on NORCO this year.

“NORCO is an archive not of Norco but dreams of Norco, Norco as it resides in the imagination. It is a map to a place that no longer exists, that only ever existed in the minds of those who lived there.”

Emotion Engines

I’m not sure there has been a home console since the PlayStation 2 that has left such a profound and lasting impact on the contemporary landscape of games. Here are two pieces on PS2 games and their legacies, looking alternately behind and ahead.

“Games remain trapped by this need to give the player exactly what they want. Drakengard is a massive middle finger to this idea. There is no part of Drakengard that attempts to be welcoming to a player, instead actively trying to make them quit the game.”

Off Script

Next up, we’ve got three different and delightful explorations of critical themes–each of them slightly incongruously executed in their respective games.

“Disney Dreamlight Valley is, in many ways, an odd place. The oddness of it may get an easy pass, because look there’s Mickey, yet look closer and in Mickey’s hand are the coal mining and fracking licences he just got approved.”

Replay and Slay

Two compact and thoughtful play meditations on recent and topical games.

“I think the thing I love about Splatoon is it presents all of this not just as valid, but as awesome. It all fits with the chaos of the world and the game. So, your pink high-tops don’t match your luminous green hair and paint? Who cares?”

Critical Chaser

Bear witness.

“i get a sweet release knowing i’ve got you and can get you again with someone else.”


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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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