Welcome back readers.

It’s October! This marks the beginning of the most important holiday season of the year for disaffected millennials everywhere. While I’m thinking of what costumes I should put together this go-round, I’ll also be keeping an eye out for horror-themed games writing to include in the next several issues. If you’re looking to get into the spirit of things yourself, there’s a nifty Queer Halloween Stories bundle live on Itch.

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

In This Tree

This week we’re opening with a particularly wide-ranging section on industry, bringing together thoughts on indiepocalypse, score aggregation, and sustainability.

“I want more games that are solarpunk and center communities instead of lone heroes. I would like to play more games that aren’t modeling the climate crisis as inevitable and that don’t discount everyday actions as inconsequential. And I would like to see how as architects and consumers of technology we find better ways to approach crafting interactive experiences that embody and enact the ecological imagination.”

Armored Crit

As more writers make their way through Armored Core VI‘s later, weirder playthroughs, we’re being treated to some very fine critical examiniations. Here are two new picks.

“In Armored Core VI, it’s coral as posthuman life that actually mediates human relationships with machine, bringing the two closer, and coral augmentation that led to the development of new pilots who could interface with ACs as artificial, Spartan-like Newtypes. “Building your own war machine can be a liberatory experience,” writes Dia Lacina. And cyberpunk, to me, is about the appropriation of liberatory transhumanism by the state (though some fictions aren’t so self-aware). In Armored Core as in “Helicopter Story,” mechanized war machines are the realization of transhumanist imagination under corporation, under empire, under capitalist realism. You could forget there’s a body in there. You could forget there was ever a body at all. The pilot becomes a combat umwelt.”

Bank Switching

This fast-and-loose section is about two things in differing ratios: storytelling, and the platform and design constraints that act upon that storytelling in games and which can produce both frustrating and evocative results–sometimes at the same time.

“The Sims doesn’t have any game narrative, so all stories must emerge, but those stories are not typically about the player’s experiences. They are about the characters’ experiences. The stories are idiosyncratic to the players, since they observe or enact unique character stories, but they are not about the players. In fact, ideally the players are invisible in the stories that result.”

Legacy Edition

In another thematically plural section, overshadowed games from decades past get their due alongside critical reappraisals of their lasting impacts.

“I experienced a strange moment of déjà vu when I first set foot on the Altus Plateau in Elden Ring, the breakaway hit game of 2022. There was something about the way the golden leaves of the trees swayed in the breeze that stirred my memory. I had definitely seen this place before. I had walked through these abandoned ruins. I had gotten lost on these plains, and I had died under these golden leaves. In fact, I had died kind of a lot.”

Read Receipts

How to group these next two picks? Representational analysis? Genre and form? Whatever I settle on, don’t let anyone say I phoned it in.

“The place of the smartphone in games is to be a window into the world of the person holding it. If I were a digital person, and somebody had my journal with the five faces, I shudder to think of what they’d say or do.”

Gods and Heroes

Our next two featured writers this week examine how misogyny in the culture–be it Greek mythology or competitive gaming–bleeds into and beyond games.

“Wouldn’t it be great to have a hot, nerdy girlfriend who hung on your every word, obeyed your every command, and unquestionably respected your power? While this is a perfectly fine kink to practice in spaces that are designed for it, this conception of Mercy also has a genesis in the Overwatch community’s weird behavior about her, which can be mapped over the existing heteropatriarchal power dynamics that exist outside of designed kink spaces. All of this floats under the circumstances of Musk posting a photo of Amber Heard and it ricocheting across social media.”

Critical Chaser

The theme we’re ending on this week is one of renewal in games and crit alike–celebtrations of the weird and the experimental, of keeping the fire alive.

“i miss reading stuff that’s excessive, that feels like someone trying to outrun and get an angle on their own tastes”


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