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September 30th

Wake me up when September ends… Oh! Wait, that’s today! Well then, it must be time for This Week in Videogame Blogging!

We’re starting out the gate with a couple tales on the theme of growing up gaming, and I warn you in advance, they are both heavy hitters. The first comes to us from Unwinnable’s Jenn Frank, on grappling with the loss of a parent, and the games of spaceflight she grew up with. The second from The Rumpus’s Molly McArdle relates to us what it’s like growing up in and out of hospitals, and inside the

Discover a Critical Culture

…about videogames, opening me up to the possibilities of games and the wonders of a diverse critical community.

Critical Distance exposed me to such writers as Jenn Frank, who revealed to me the beauty of writing intimately and personally about our experiences with games. I first read Lana Polansky, Zolani Stewart, and other critics via Critical Distance, who use insightful interdisciplinary approaches to understanding games alongside poetry, photography, painting, and architecture.

Critical Distance brought me to the writings of countless bloggers and cultural critics who have challenged me to examine the (often uncomfortable and exploitative) relationships between videogames…

January 20th

…UK and Australia exclusive Dead Island statuette titled “Zombie Bait,” which features a dismembered female torso presented to prospective buyers as a “conversation piece” for one’s desk. Many writers and outlets took issue with the design, especially in light of Dead Island‘s troubled history.

On Gameranx, Jenn “Tweets About Torsos” Frank reminds readers that the statuette follows on the heels of a long history of depersonalizing the sexualization of women’s bodies:

Stop right there. Stop in your tracks. No. Wrong. No, we would never do this to a male torso. Maybe some of us would like George

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

January 24th

It’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go. Mercifully closer is This Week in Videogame Blogging, which just happens to be right here.

Jenn Frank of Infinite Lives writes one of the best explications of the importance of feminist readings of videogames in ‘Videogame feminist of the decade; or, when “You” is a girl’. It’s a hard one to sum up in the short blurb I usually do for these sorts of pieces, so here’s a big chunk that hopefully illustrates some of its more critical points. Frank is talking about Portal here, and

January 8th

…pointed to and said “What about this?”

Also touching on non-digital games (and reminding me of L. B. Jeffries), we have Jenn Frank of Infinite Lives discoursing “On games of chance and ‘cheating’“. She starts with a discussion of what the boundaries are between cheating and fair play, and ends up meditating on Calvinism and determinism. It is clearly cross-blog conversation week, because this inspired a follow-up from J. P. Grant of Infinite Lag on “Fair Play“; I won’t include links to the subsequent posts on the blogs Infinite Logic and Infinite Ludologists, though if it were just…

September 14th

…to people who didn’t know they had it. To be honest, talking about the video games industry is boring for me now; we’ve had the same problems, just with varying scales of drama and mainstream attention. I don’t want to be treated like a victim, and it’s only when I’m abused that people will listen. I’m more proactive, generative, and loving; this just isn’t the place for me.

Jenn Frank goes into detail on her decision to quit games writing as well. It’s a decision that, while it’s a huge blow to games writing, means something more liberating…

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June 29th

…and part time game writers came forward regarding the state of their field.

The first inciting incidents came via industry veterans Jenn Frank and Rowan Kaiser, who have both joined the growing ranks of game critics/journalists with Patreon accounts (Critical Distance is itself largely supported by similar pledges).

At issue here is not that scores of writers are out of work or struggling, but that their unemployment is posed as a moral or professional failing. The fact is that if even considerably qualified writers like Kaiser and Frank are turning to crowdfunding solutions like Patreon, any supposed meritocratic…

March 30th

…Pamplemousse developer Deirdra Kiai received a standing ovation for their ten-minute speech held recently at GDC’s #1ReasonToBe panel. If you haven’t had a chance, pop on over to Kiai’s website and see why.

On Gamasutra, Storm8 developer Elizabeth Sampat has also posted the full text of her GDC talk, concerning hiring discrepancies in the game industry. Don’t read the comments.

Or, if you were like Jenn Frank and you read the comments, head on over to Frank’s post on the same site, which serves as a direct response to the claim that studios should hire based on merit,…

July 28th

Animal Crossing

Jenn Frank over at Paste Magazine uses her review to try and pinpoint what the appeal of the highly engaging game is.

Meanwhile, Juli Clover reports a recently discovered glitch that lets you double money and items at will and how it has turned Animal Crossing into “a grotesque slave exchange.”

The Last of Us

Some guy over at PopMatters is disappointed in The Last of Us that for all its supposed greatness he found that it didn’t focus on any fundamental ideas as much as its drama and ultimately felt it a work…

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This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2014

…subject of representation goes beyond the content of games, into the makeup of the industry itself. Jenn Frank wrote about The Rolodex and how the normal processes of business networking can be a self perpetuating system of exclusion if it isn’t recognized and actively countered. Responding to well-meaning but confounded readers, Leigh Alexander wrote a few Dos and Don’ts on combating online sexism.

Squinky, aka Deirdra Kiai, delivered an impassioned talk at this year’s #1reasontobe panel at the Game Developers Conference, namely on the challenges of being gender non-binary in a highly gendered industry like videogames. “Making games is…