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

Releases in Review

Let’s start things off this time around with some recent reviews on new, cool, gratifying, provocative things.

“I become fascinated with a lone helmet dangling off a stick beneath a waterfall as a bit of environmental storytelling, and I return repeatedly to the Cerulean Coast just because I think it’s pretty. I’m seriously thinking about re-speccing my Tarnished to a faith-focused build so I can play around with some of the new dragon incantations, which look genuinely cool. I do not think about going back to the final boss, but remain wary of narrative payoff one might expect after conquering that particular obstacle. I know in my heart that finishing Shadow of the Erdtree will be a very different, more joyful experience when I can play with functioning multiplayer, because navigating an open-world Souls game without that key component is the most pleasureless kind of masochism, which is extremely not for me. If you go back to that iconic anecdote about Miyazaki getting his car stuck in snow and having strangers help him, this is what Souls is all about – shared suffering, the community that rises up around it, and not having to freeze to death alone. I suspect that I may enjoy the DLC more when I reapproach it on my own terms, but it won’t change the underlying problems I feel in its bones.”

The Hot Goss

Now let’s move to a pair of short, topical selections that caught our attention.

“There are plenty of things in video games more interesting than hitting monsters with a sword. And even if Echoes of Wisdom is somehow using puzzles in an attempt to be more feminine — fine! Femininity is not, in fact, a lesser trait, nor are puzzle games inferior to action games.”

Design and Practice

Our next two picks explore how the design insights of yesteryear inform or could inform promising works tomorrow.

“I think Physically Large Games and the companies that make them today are forgetting that games can be towering in size, but it doesn’t matter if the “size” isn’t felt by the player. Just because a game takes up so much of my free space doesn’t mean it feels like a place I want to explore.”

What a Thrill

Here are a set of focused and rewarding critiques which use their games as starting points for cool new ideas.

“Do men know this is sexy? Do men know that the the Survival Viewer is a JOI fantasy in which you force Snake to examine and handle the delicate opening of his situational cunt? Do they realize Snake is a girl, cautiously and fearfully self-penetrating? It’s obvious to me.”

Hindsight Insights

For our concluding section this issue, here is a collection of longer-form historical retrospectives centering key genres.

“Interactive fiction no longer lurks in the shadows as a retro-gaming relic. It’s everywhere. I’ve highlighted just some of the work done by dedicated individuals who have helped the art form to reach this stage. But as with the best stories, the truth is more than the sum of its parts.”


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