Welcome back readers.
Ok, we are really, really getting close to the deadline now–that’s next Monday–to submit your recommendations for our end-of-year review. We are past the event horizon of kidding around now!
As an added bit of site-news, TWIVGB usually takes one week off around the holidays. This year that day will be the 31st, so while our weekly won’t run that day, stay tuned for our annual!
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
Keighlin’ and Reelin’
As 2023 draws to a close, there’s really no way to dodge the assessment that no matter how good a year it’s been for games releases, it’s been a pretty terrible year for games labour, whether it’s game dev or games press. That’s been the undercurrent of much of the industry-focused writing we’ve seen over the year, and that trend continues here.
- ¿Fue 2023 el PEOR año para los videojuegos? | GamerFocus
Julián Ramírez digs into the hows and whys of what has made this year such a terrible one for the industry.
- The Videogame Crash of 1983 Helped Turn Games into a Boys’ Club. Could It Happen Again? | Paste Magazine
Maddie Agne compares the contemporary layoffs crisis in games to the crash of ’83 and wonders what the industry will learn this time in the aftermath.
- The Game Awards Winner Speeches We Didn’t Get to Hear | IGN
Rebekah Valentine gives floor time to the winners that the Keighleys didn’t.
- The Launcher Postmortem | ReaderGrev
Mikhail Klimentov debriefs on the untimely shuttering of WaPo’s gaming vertical.
“I had hoped, naively, that Launcher could be something of a “forever home” for games writers, where we could deputize them to chase the stories and leads that most mattered to them. This felt like a healthy alternative to what a lot of other outlets were doing. I’m not sure how possible this is without a wealthy owner — and even that’s not always insurance enough.”
Now let’s look at a few individual titles and the different ways they connected with writers.
- Play the Lottery | Tap Repeatedly
Amanda Lange relates undergoing IVF treatment (so content notification for all those details) to the routines and probabilities of gacha games.
- Alan Wake 2 | Games of the Year 2023 | GamesIndustry.biz
Sophie McEvoy thinks about the Dark Places we carry with us in our own lives.
- Bomb Rush Cyberfunk | Games of the Year 2023 | GamesIndustry.biz
Jeffrey Rousseau zeroes in on Bomb Rush Cyberfunk‘s anti-police subtext.
“BRC doesn’t set out to have your characters do something unbelievable, like dismantling the institution of the police. More poignantly, it has them understanding their circumstances and that they have to navigate through it. I’m glad it doesn’t end with kids abolishing a corrupt institution through skating and graffiti because that effort, at least in the US, is still being worked on by dedicated people collectively who envision a better tomorrow.”
Next up, design and craft feature in both critique and interview form.
- Getting To Know Jack: How a Jackbox Pack Is Born | Unwinnable
Elijah Beahm sits down with the developers who have furnished the binding agent for your extended family get-togethers for the last decade or so.
- Imaginary Worlds | Talk And Play
René Martin talks process when it comes to making your game characters and worlds say something.
“Depiction without Perspective means you’re not showing anyone anything and you can’t have a Perspective without Premises.”
Let’s close this week out with prose and poetry in equal measure.
- Making the Right Choices | Videodame
Rachel Atchley lays down some verse on Witchy Life Story.
- Swan Lake | Into The Spine
Jenny Stevens reminisces about videogame music, love languages, and Parodius.
“Music holds such power over us, to transport us back to places that we wish we could stay forever in, and places we’d much rather not have to visit. Music holds the power to command our emotions and bring them forth, conjuring whatever scenarios are associated with that memory or emotion. It’s why the scattered piano at the beginning of the track known as ‘Theme of Laura’ in Silent Hill 2 makes me quiver with fear, or why ‘A Travel Diary’ in Soulblade brings fond memories of my dad spending hours trying to learn it on his recorder (it paid off, he learned it).”
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!