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M. joshua Cauller

May 7th

On your own in an unfamiliar place, where nothing is real, and powerful structures overshadow everything? Games critics this week venture out alone.

Technical limitations

Narrative-focused games are encouraging increasingly nuanced analyses of inaction, peace, and pacing.

  • Gamasutra: M. Joshua Cauller’s Blog – Thoughts on first-person-narrative game trailers M. Joshua Cauller’s notes on producing a game trailer are also potentially useful material for video makers wanting to document and comment on other people’s games.
  • ‘Antisocial VR’ and the power of isolation | Will Freeman interviews solo developer Martin Wheel about meditative experiences and game design.
  • Some thoughts

January 19th

…has in common with the new protagonist of The Walking Dead.

Back on GameChurch, M. Joshua Cauller talks about forgiveness in Metro: Last Light.

The Unchanging Empire of Wargamers, Wars, Gamewars, and Console Wars Bureau

Empire Down by Sam Kriss examines Age of Empires and the logic of its wars. “What’s really going on has very little to do with combat, and everything to do with resources.”

Robert Beckhusen asks, do 1,600-year-old Viking war games cause violence? The game in question is one of asymmetrical warfare, possibly meant to teach a common language of tactics much like we use sports…

August 17th

…Mass Effect series, and Stuart Arias has a critical series of System Shock 2 up on Twitch. Critical Let’s Playing is really interesting approach, and I’m excited to see more of it!

All That’s Fit to Print

On Ontological Geek, Oscar Strik reviews Cameron Kunzelman’s On August 11, A Ship Sailed into Port. Meanwhile, at Words That Won’t Sell, Edward Smith writes a very interesting piece about the sense of exhaustion and defeat that pervades the new Wolfenstein.

At Game Church, Joshua Cauller examines the risk of love in war that Valiant Hearts sets in conflict. At Videodame, Virginia Roby…

September 20th

…figures — that of the grizzled (space) marine — to a variety of other, previously ignored characters.

19th century cultural products were also on the mind of J. Stephen Addcox at Kill Screen, who traces Sunless Sea‘s heritage in 19th century nautical literature, from Treasure Island to Edgar Allan Poe.


At GameChurch, M. Joshua Cauller revels in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain‘s capacity to offer a different sort of power fantasy:

I’ve always wanted to play a game that let me love my enemies as Jesus might. MGSV becomes this enemy-converting power fantasy where I get to…

February 7th

…an understated South African quality that is in contrast to the games developed in Nigeria and Kenya where locally created games are so culturally specific they couldn’t exist anywhere else. Highway Free, a phone game about sitting in a Nigerian traffic jam is one example.”

“Everyone consulted for this article stressed that, despite the massive diversity across the continent in terms of language and local customs, success for one African developer is good for all of them.”

At Gamechurch, M. Joshua Cauller discusses how the limited verb set of Oxenfree contributes to the poignant sense of intimacy in its friendships,…

April 10th

…Black Friday’ | M. Joshua Cauller, who once had aspirations toward being a Christian missionary in Iran, offers some sensitive and self-critical reflections.

“I realize how foolish, arrogant, and just plain ignorant I’ve been—to assume that I am poised to alleviate the tension and suffering of the Iranian people. I didn’t and still don’t know enough about the religious and cultural complexities of the Iranian people (and what’s been endured from all sides), but 1979 Revolution has given me invaluable and humbling insight.”

History of Eve Online

Andrew Groen’s book on war in space in cyberspace is

October 2nd

…friendship, the other on parenthood.

  • Mechanizing Friendship in ‘Slayer Shock’ | Gamechurch M. Joshua Cauller reflects on the shallowness of a game mechanic, wondering whether real life is automatically any deeper.
  • What Does It Mean to Be a Mother: Mothering and Maternal Thinking in Ori and the Blind Forest Not Your Mama’s Gamer Bianca Batti and Jynx Boyne consider femininity and queer families of choice in a game that strongly references themes of parenting and kinship.

” Perhaps the game’s fluidity in its representations of the ways maternal thinking can be embodied blurs the boundaries between parenting roles

April 16th

This week’s writing allowed me to reflect on the way that gaming and life affect one another as well as how we look at games through time and space. I hope you enjoy what we’ve curated for you this week!

From the Inside Out…

Just like any other form of media, video games help us parse our navigation through life.

  • Yoko Taro: Weird feelings for weird people – ZEAL – Medium Ruben Ferdinand examines Yoko Taro’s execution of affect in the Drakenguard and Nier series.
  • Torment Tides of Numenera: Bastard Simulator Joshua Cauller uses the YOLO-esque nature of Torment

August 13th

…A.V. Club The title there really says it all as Matt Gerardi goes down the aesthetic and design decisions that allow the game to fulfill that purpose.

  • Religion and Psychosis in Helllade: Senua’s Sacrifice | GameChurch M. Joshua Cauller looks at Hellblade’s blending of its representation of mental illness and the character’s religious beliefs:
  • “This is the thing about Hellblade that’s the most clear: Seuna’s distinction between religious reality and mental illness isn’t something she’s equipped to handle by herself. Maybe that’s why she needs the player? It also reflects the reality of religious expression at larger: you can’…