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December 2nd

…in the game. The implication is clear: the marketers behind these games want you to think that this is how real warfare works, and that these are the tools used by real warriors.

The idea that these are real weapons that mimic real life is contradicted by the unembodiedness of firearms in the game. Gun usage in the modern military shooter does not foster the necessary respect for firearms. By using the same grammar as more obviously preposterous games such as Borderlands, these games teach that firearms are neat toys, magic wands to be used to “solve problems” and…

October 7th

…the comments). It is a piece by Kaitlin Tremblay about, well, “Borderlands 2 and the Surprising Feminism of the Siren Class.” She writes that

The Siren class is a subversion of a stereotypical female trope that points fun at the token female in many video games. Maya is not stereotypical as the Siren comparison initially implies. It’s part of the Borderlands joke: the game is seemingly steeped in machismo in order to poke fun at the machismo of video games. It’s aware at every turn of its own ridiculousness, and this is what makes the Borderlands franchise so

September 30th

…as a little reminder that the much-discussed OUYA console is hardly the first of its kind.

Yannick LeJacq turned up on the Wall Street Journal again this week to offer a second opinion on Borderlands 2. It’s a not-so-subtle pointed rebuke of the review by Adam Najberg the Journal ran last week, but it’s also a valuable bit of FPS retrospective. Have a taste:

To reconcile the discrepancy between its androcentric cultural aesthetic as a manshooter and its “nerdy” internal mechanisms as an RPG, Borderlands 2 bridges the gap the same way it does everything: in the

November 11th

…compelling argument in favor of “easy achievements”: “It is often wrongfully assumed that accessibility means sacrificing challenge or complexity, but it is neither – it is a way to allow people that otherwise couldn’t to experience the challenge and complexity that a game can offer.”

On Gamasutra, Andrew High wonders whether game music is really all it can be. On the subject of hypotheticals, Jim Rossignol muses on whether we’ll ever see Warren Spector’s fabled One City Block RPG.

Nightmare Mode’s Tom Auxier declares that Borderlands 2 is funny, but it isn’t a comedy. What’s the difference, you…

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017


  • Full Throttle Scenery Studies | 304 – Ben Chandler Game artist Ben Chandler examines various screens in Full Throttle, regarding the mise-en-scène and other art elements – this started on twitter, and was then collected into a PDF.
  • Tales from the Borderlands: The Oral History | Campo Santo Quarterly Review – Duncan Fyfe Duncan Fyfe interviewed most of the major creative talent from Tales from the Borderlands to uncover behind-the-scenes stories and decision making.
  • Theory/Design Criticism

    Whether focusing on the concepts of interactivity, the direction of new technologies or debates on the strengths and

    ReadySet Zam archive


    February 7th

    …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, At Vice, Kaitlin Tremblay looks at Oxenfree alongside Tales from the Borderlands and Life is Strange, to discuss the value of platonic relationships in storytelling.

    • Oxenfree: The Beauty of Traveling Together
    • Why I’m Looking Forward to More ‘Just Good Friends’ Relationships in Video Games

    Yet more talk of…

    November 8th

    …good pieces; the first by Shamus Young who, writing for The Escapist, talks about Survival Horror. The second, an interesting post by the Aartform Games blog, asks “Are games art? I think they might be more like cooking” and Kris Graft interviews Valve’s writers about their creative process for Gamasutra. The last one is a quite lengthy and crammed full of interesting tidbits.

    Mitch Krpata writes about ‘Your level best’, or the difference between pleasurable advancement and painful grinding as demonstrated by Borderlands. He notes,

    Gearbox did such a good job of spacing out the rewards, and

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    January 5th

    …themes through both their internal design and external contexts.

    • Borderlands 3: Sometimes Love Just Isn’t Enough – Uppercut Andrew Cogswell hashes out why Gearbox’s latest feels cynical and hollow in a bad way.
    • another world is possible: meditations on anodyne 2 – lotus root records lotus explores the myriad layers of anticapitalist, antibinary allegory at work in Anodyne 2.
    • UNSTOPPING – DEEP HELL Skeleton muses on the specific brand of apocalypse visited by classic SHMUPs, and how that trend is affirmed and maybe-also-kind-of subverted by modern incarnation ZeroRanger.

    “While other videogames are focused