Welcome back readers.
No major news to report around the site this week, and since we are apparently once again Doing A Discourse, I’ll count my blessings on that front. Let’s get right to the writes!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
This week we are naturally, inevitably talking about Baldur’s Gate III. We are also reluctantly, necessarily talking about talking about Baldur’s Gate III, which is not to denigrate Brandon Sheffield’s excellent piece but rather the sorry circumstances that required it in the first place.
- We brought a third into our marriage and it’s Astarion | Polygon
Sadie Gennis highlights BG3‘s couch co-op virtues.
- Dragon Age: Origins walked so Baldur’s Gate 3 could dash | TechRadar
Cat Bussell positions Baldur’s Gate III and the original Dragon Age as different stanzas in the same thematic poem.
- Baldur’s Gate 3 Largely Lives Up to Its Unrealistic Expectations So Far | Paste Magazine
Grace Benfell comes away from BG3 with measured, satisfied expectations.
- That IGN video | insert credit
Brandon Sheffield, a retired journalist, does the critical legwork that IGN’s videographer ought to have done in the first place on why triple-A games so often release in the state that they do.
“There was an opportunity to give players context for why games release the way they do, but instead, this video was designed to incite anger directed at a few devs. That was certainly accomplished, as Xalavier is getting harassed relentlessly, but is that really the kind of anger you want? Is that the tactic you want to take in a post-gamergate world?”
Other games came out too, it turns out! A particularly attention-grabbing one right now is musical RPG Stray Gods, but the reception has been pretty mixed! Here are some highlights from that conversation.
- Stray Gods Review – A Gift from the Gods | Gayming Magazine
Aimee Hart is picking up what the recent RPG musical is putting down.
- In Stray Gods, A Chorus Line Does Not Get a Callback | Inverse
Willa Rowe likes the idea, but not the execution of Stray Gods.
- Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is a Messy But Worthwhile Show | Uppercut
Ty Galiz Rowe enjoys the characters in Stray Gods even if they don’t quite come together in a wholly satisfying story.
“Those coming to Stray Gods for a compelling who-dunnit are probably going to be disappointed. But if you enjoy compelling worldbuilding and characters that feel real, this game is worth your time.”
While I’m bringing them together under the banner of design, these next two selections courtesy of Unwinnable offer distinct and valuable observations on different modes of engagement with games, whether through genre conventions, cognitive approaches, or the use of space.
- Space in Space | Unwinnable
Jay Castello rethinks space and how games design for it while dropping a bunch of apples.
- The Unsettling Mindfulness of Horror | Unwinnable
Emma Kostopolus proposes an axis in horror games between more cerebral-mindful approaches to play and more intuitive-reflexive flavours, with Dead Space and Callisto Protocol on opposite ends of the spectrum.
“When we play, do we want to be challenged intellectually with mindful problems? Or do we want to engage in a more heavily sensory and affective flow experience, where our muscles take over and some parts of our brain take five?”
Just bear with me as we close out with some fun stuff about games old and new.
- The very strange yet promising yet too-weird world of Eternal Champions | Eurogamer.net
Jennifer Allen looks back at a 16-bit fighting game that stood apart from its peers for how hard it went.
- I broke Baldur’s Gate 3 by playing as a party of bears | PC Gamer
Christopher Livingston causes problems.
“Since bears can’t pick up the short bow that’s lying conveniently nearby to shoot Lae’zel’s cage open, I can’t actually rescue her, so I leave her behind and confidently march, in bear fashion, to the nearby ruins. If the bandits there turn out to be just as clueless as the two tieflings I just mauled, I’ll be able to bear-slap them to death without so much as a counter-attack! I’ll kill everything in this game without ever taking a scratch?”
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!