Welcome back readers.

We squeaked this week’s issue in just in the nick of time–in my time zone, at least! So whether you’re a night owl like me or you’re checking in the next morning, kick back with us and tuck in to eleven cool and new picks.

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

Limit Breaks

This week we’re starting with a trio of critical reviews of heavy hitters, as the authors unpack long-running series to locate their beating (or is it bleeding?) hearts.

Diablo IV turns Sanctuary into Disney World, and while the developers may be hard at work tuning the rides and attractions to play better and be more fun, the C-suite and shareholders are going to make sure it’s only going to get worse from here. That’s what we get from Games as a Service.”

What and Why

Here’s a little section on design, looking both at design choices in a specific recent game, as well as some meta-discussion on how we talk about design in criticism.

“i wish it wasn’t always a rhetorical question when people ask “what were they thinking?” i wish it could be a conversation with some back and forth at all, rather than being boiled down to angry hot takes over what is or isn’t Objectively Fun.”

Got Some Fight Left in Ya

Lots of parallels to draw here in this next pairing: both slightly offbeat artifacts, both (mostly) consigned to Japan, and both bearing oblique connections to fighting games.

“When you think of Tetris you probably think of Game Boy Tetris, the NES World Championship, or maybe even Tetris DS. What you probably don’t think of is Street Fighter, or Japanese comedy. But that’s exactly the lineage that led to the creation of Tetris the Grand Master.”

Types, Trends, and Tropes

This section is all about setting games, genres, and periods in context, looking at how key concepts and baseline assumptions emerge out of ideologies.

“While the “Japanese” aesthetic has come back en vogue — and JRPGs have become a favored genre — it can just as easily fall out of favor among Western audiences once again. Even as the term itself remains contentious, being both used as a negative and positive descriptor even among Japanese developers, we are once again watching the cycle continue. It is still a term that “others” Japanese RPGS — whether the term is a source of discrimination, or signals an aesthetic to be fetishized.”

Critical Chaser

It was inevitable.

“Final Fantasy games love a protagonist with mountains of trauma who needs fixing.”


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