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December 2nd

…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 neutralize targets. Behind their cosmetic differences, smart-talking laser guns in Borderlands 2 and AK-47s in Call of Duty: Black Ops behave exactly the same.

This lack of respect seems to foster dissonance in both discussions of…

October 7th

…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 great.

While I’m not sure…

September 30th

…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 loudest, most blatant way possible. Whenever you shoot an enemy, numbers

November 11th

…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 ask?

Games are defined by their verbs. Borderlands 2 is a shoot, loot, and level sort of game: you shoot enemies, loot guns, and level yourself up. None of these are funny verbs. They’re all deadly serious. Tokyo Jungle, meanwhile, has you eating, marking, mating, and dying. These are comedic verbs in part because of their rarity,

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017

…the final choice and your personal reading of the game.

  • 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

    October 18th

    …can go on without Hideo Kojima.

    Who Do You Think You Are?

    At FemHype, Ashley Lynn’s interpretation of Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio leads to an exploration of how women are presented within Ezio’s world, and Nico W. reveals in The Mary Sue how she discovered her sexuality through Borderlands 2:

    It was without a doubt one of the most enlightening experiences of my life, and as I read through story after story that could have all been written by me, I felt a weight lifting off my shoulders. I had been wrong—I wasn’t broken—I was just asexual. It quite honestly changed

    November 17th

    …on the threshold of something more critically provocative without ever quite getting there.

  • 2019 was the year that capitalism became video games’ greatest villain | Windows Central Carli Velocci traces a growing collective awareness of oppressive neoliberal power structures across games by way of Borderlands 3, The Outer Worlds, and Disco Elysium.
  • Lay Down Your Burdens – The Outer World’s Subversive Approach To Player-Centric Narratives | RE:BIND Emily Rose studies the small-scale, slow-burn storytelling approach on display in The Outer Worlds and examines how the developers challenge much of their own extant scaffolding in the genre.
  • “The Outer Worlds…

    August 13th

    …hide behind assumed names because of their birth circumstances.

  • Tales from the Borderlands: The Oral History | Campo Santo Quarterly With interviews from over a dozen people who worked on the game, Duncan Fyfe compiles a bunch of behind the scene stories of how it got made.
  • How American Game Companies Avoid Paying Income Tax | Super Bunnyhop (Video: no captions at time of publication) George Weisman does some journalistic digging into the specifics of tax shelters game companies use and have lobbied to create.
  • Movie Length Criticism

    Warning, these videos are long and comprehensive.

    • Prey – A…

    Kill Screen archive

    …new york division

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  • September 25th

    …Co-op Gaming Steve Bailey shares a personal story about low-budget living and gaming without the internet

    “One building was a former university science lab – on Friday nights, I’d drag a giant beanbag, projector, Xbox 360 and surround-sound system down to the lecture theatre at the far end of the corridor where I lived. There I’d play Borderlands on a makeshift screen the size of a cinema display, at preposterous volume, in maximum comfort. Other people from the building would often join in, because even split-screen modes offered the kind visual acuity that makes a modern flatscreen shrivel with…