Welcome back readers.

I think somewhere around here I’ll stop apologizing for occasionally taking until Monday to put out an issue. It’s a good problem to have, as our community grows and I’m put in touch with more and more writing I might not have seen otherwise.

If you haven’t seen already (I’m told it got some attention), Critical Distance is organizing a fansite creation jam through the month of March! Yes, really! Check here for the details, then come join the server and tell us what you’re gonna build a shrine to.

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

People in Games

While I’ve tagged this as the “industry” section, in truth our first three sections this week all encompass different topics and issues in the games industry. We’re starting off here with a focus on layoffs and their continuing impacts.

“As a longtime fan of League, I’ve followed the specific creators who create champions, story arcs, and other bits of fiction. The recent round of layoffs has removed some of these people from Riot, leaving their creations behind. I worry about how sustainable the current approach is, and I can’t help but look to comics, where the people who have created iconic characters often end up making a fraction of a fraction of the profit corporations make using them in movies and shows. I care about League of Legends because of its lore, and the people who write that lore. Riot moving away from prioritizing these things is, in my eyes, a bad sign.”

Seats at the Table

Our next section looks specifically at Black visibility and representation in games, both as a medium and an industry.

“Nelson has said before that, while El Paso, Elsewhere is based on some of his own experiences, it’s not autobiographical. Touching on issues as volatile as abuse, addiction, and racism is tricky no matter what, and they can be even harder to approach with respect when they’re not your direct experiences. But Nelson says that shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to try.”

Text to World

Let’s shift focus now to a couple of pieces about how games–again as both a medium and an industry–are created and consumed in changing and challenging societies.

“But that’s part of being a practitioner in games: you don’t always get to plant every seed. But as a practitioner I will also continue to carry that seed with me. Maybe I’ll get a chance to plant it somehow in the future. Or maybe it will grow in my heart as I tend to other people’s story worlds, and the shape of it will surprise me in a different way.”

Sickos’ Corner

Now let’s look at mechanics and design with both interviews and analysis.

“It was while beholding the scrambled slab of my spaceship during my second run that certain aspects of the presentation and mechanics alchemised behind my eyes, and I came to a Sudden Realisation. Of course: this isn’t a spaceship. It’s a paddle. I am customising a paddle. And by extension, Cobalt Core is not a roguelike deckbuilder. It is, in fact, one of many, very creatively concealed homages to Breakout and Pong.”

The Boys Are Back in Town

Characters and themes take precedence in each of these next three picks.

“Raiden’s ever-changing, ever-improving cyborg body lines up with annat?’s doctrine that there is no single ‘essence’ that a person is tied to and cannot be changed — in this case, Raiden’s human body is being left behind as he embraces his changing existence. His continual look towards the future also accompanies the philosophy of annica — he is always trying to bring the world forward, while Desperado attempts to maintain the status quo and keep the world as it is.”

Critical Chaser

Et tu, Zacny?

“Before I go, I wanted to add two notes about the future of the 9th, one personal and one administrative. First, it has been the honor of my life to lead you these last years, but the time has come for me to return to my estate in Italy.”


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