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August 25th

…to what seems to be a functional post-scarcity society. However, the cults of personality that act as its antagonistic forces are responsible for some of its funniest, darkest, and most intriguing moments. Their ideologies are sometimes a tad confused, but often align with sinister real-world ones.”

Bodies at Play

Two authors this week look at intersections of games and the bodies we use to play them. How can we create space in games for a wider range of bodies? How can we reclaim bodies from harmful or marginalizing representations? What are the stakes for thinking more critically…

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January 13th

Welcome readers! Last week I was delighted to present a whole bunch of writing on queer game studies, but since no amount of queer games writing is too much (or let’s be real, enough), this week’s roundup opens with a section focused specifically on queer masculine sexuality.

Bodies in general are a recurring theme this week: queer bodies, Black bodies, bodies in love, bodies in grief, bodies in laughter, bodies and interface devices. . . bodies are important! We only get one each, after all.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our annual roundup

Queer Games Criticism in 2021 (so Far)

…the bodies of Emil and Kainé, and how their society reads their bodies as threatening, causing them to seek solace in one another as found family. This one would be equally at home in either this section or the next one!

  • Bugsnax’s twofold queerness | Freethought Blogs Siggy introduces what I think is a cool framework here in exploring how Bugsnax’s queerness is reflected on both a character level and a thematic level. There’s often anxiety among critics of queerness being restricted to a surface level of representation, so I think this multi-level approach gives this issue some helpful…
  • February 26th

    …from the past seven days.

    Full Contact

    Our opening section this week deals in large part with bodies in all of their tired, busted-up, and occasionally necrofied glory.

    • Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, Aging, and Agency | No Escape Kaile Hultner reflects on Kiryu’s inability to escape from the Yakuza life, and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s inability to escape Kiryu.
    • Your Brain is Made of Meat | Bullet Points Monthly Julie Muncy conceives of the original Dead Space as more fixated on dead bodies than living people, and sees productive dissonances in the remake

    March 1st

    …or not.” From this she draws broader political conclusions, such as:

    There is a resistance because bodies are complicated. Incorporating subject(ivitie)s decentralizes the game object and forces designers and critics to ponder the infinite relationships bodies can have with an experience. Controllers in particular throttle the ways bodies can be recognized in the design, and is probably the main agent in the absence of body subjectivity in critique. It is impossible to know how another’s bodily reaction will be to an experience, and that exactitude is only necessary for products that promise it. That class critique is also

    December 5th

    …and outs of making a home, a life together: in-game, out-of-game, pandemic time, any time.

    “How can virtual and literal tidying be so similar and yet so extremely different? And how can different kinds of cleaning have such different valences to them, so that even when your beloved is definitely tidying, it still can feel rotten? The politics of heterosexual housework is such a tired subject. Everyone gets it, no one can solve it. We sigh and throw up our hands. Intractable!”

    Power Armor/Plot Armor

    Bodies are our next topic this week, as the

    May 9th


    Bodies are weird. The societies we live in are fraught with implicit and explicit rules about how they should present and perform, which in turn informs which kinds of bodies are seen and valued in pop culture and media. Body horror and biopunk serve as critical interventions to body normativity which guide our next selected pair of pieces in a broader conversation about the representation–and interrogation–of bodies.

    • ¿Cuál es la gracia de Resident Evil dentro del género ‘biopunk’? | GamerFocus Julián Ramírez delves into the biopunk genre, its embrace of our anxieties about our malleable bodies,

    March 5th

    …be a struggle. it might come from weird obsessive self-interested nerds like the French critics who went on to start the French New Wave. but one thing i can guarantee it won’t be is fixated on pure ‘innovation’ for the sake of innovation, or the religious belief in creative destruction of prior spaces by new technologies. if video games are to be saved, it will happen by redeeming their past.“

    Body Politics

    This section brings together different critical approaches to the body–the posthuman body, the disabled body, and the trans body–as they are explored through games and…

    April 9th

    …objectivity from another angle: the act of (self-)observation itself changes the nature of what is being observed.

  • “Glory to Mankind,” by Ed Smith – Bullet Points Monthly Ed Smith argues that Nier: Automata is misanthropic, nihilistic, and misses opportunities to embrace humanity’s complexities.
  • The Trouble with Bodies – First Person Scholar Cayla Coats makes a compelling argument for reading Nier: Automata as a transgender narrative.
  • “The entire conflict of the game is one of problematic bodies. The Gestalts’ inability to control their corresponding Replicants signifies a collective anxiety and mistrust of anatomy—the fear of the…

    October 22nd

    …the disembodied, brutalist architectural landscapes of Armored Core VI.

    “There’s this adage in some circles (or the ones I am adjacent to) that mech fiction is, fundamentally, about bodies. I grimace when I hear this, not because there isn’t truth to it, but because I feel it’s a bit myopic and jealous. Mech fiction is about a lot more than just bodies, and to reduce a genre to some core theme is obviously absurd. But as I play Armored Core VI, I cannot stop thinking about bodies. Not because of any bodies in view. Rather, their absence…