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Episode 22 – On ‘Killing is Harmless’

on the book, the reception and how things have change over time in his critical methods. We also get into musing on the book’s cultural and historical placement given the recent boom in video game criticism books.

Direct Download


Brendan Keogh

Critical Damage

Darius Kazemi Review: Killing is Harmless, by Brendan Keogh

Cameron Kunzelman’s On Killing is Harmless

Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation”

Susan Sontag’s “On Style”

Noal Carroll’s On Criticism

David Sudnow’s Pilgrim in the Microworld

Spec Ops: The Line Critical Compilation

Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

Kill Screen archive

…greatest gift videogames was telling us all shut

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  • Grand Theft Auto IV

    …himself making decisions based on what he thought Niko would do.

    And yet, Niko does show a kind of joy – a drunken appreciation of power. He shouts out boasts in the game’s firefights, and it seems that once the gun enters his hand, he doesn’t mind killing so much after all. In the cutscenes, he constantly bemoans the violence, but that doesn’t stop him from murdering his way across Liberty City once the game part starts, as Trent Polack and Shamus Young point out. While Krystian Majewski felt that Niko’s tragic background made practically any behavior plausible,…

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    March 13th

    …have one. Johannes Koski is self-confessed not “the kind of person the GTA games are marketed for” and yet, she is interested in finding out what she can find to like about the game. A new and different perspective on an old game! More of this, bloggers! Surprising herself, Koski even enjoys the killing:

    GTA games have a lot of killing, no surprise there. But it’s very interesting! The violence is so varied and presented on so many different levels. There’s the very obvious in-your-face violence of the cut-scenes, the killing sprees the missions demand, and the often overlooked collateral

    April 30th

    …in essence, a sort of queerness—a means of rejecting the values of heterosexual reproduction, principle among them the emphasis it places on the future. For Adam, 2B, 9S, and the whole of artificial life that wars over the earth, there is no future. In the absence of that hope, new possibilities emerge.”

    Long-restless spirits

    Survival, death, and killing remain important topics for games criticism, with a particular interest this week on how killing is justified in games’ narratives.

    • Outlast 2 And The Realism Of Survival Horror Motivation – Musings of a Mario Minion In this short article, the…

    Assassin’s Creed III

    …be in awe.

    Whose Revolutionary War?

    AC3 is not the first video game to pick the American Revolutionary War as its subject and setting. Nevertheless, because of its alleged “blockbuster” status and Ubisoft’s choice of a Mohawk protagonist, AC3 attracted plenty of attention around its presentation of that important historical event.

    Initially, announcement trailers (video link with autocaptions) seemed to indicate that the “outsider” protagonist angle was a cover for an old American tradition of Brit bashing. When Ubisoft released its “Connor’s Story” trailers in the US and the UK though, many noticed Connor killing colonial troops in the UK…

    August – September Roundup: ‘Catharsis’

    …weapon of Gears of War series. As Mr. Coberly explains, the use of the totally-practical auxiliary chainsaw bayonette is rife with emotional drama:

    In many games, killing an enemy is not, in and of itself, particularly tense. The badguy pokes his head out of cover, you blow it off with a sniper rifle. But the chainsaw kill is rife with tension. When you rev your chainsaw, you have to stop shooting and slowly advance towards your target…

    …It’s brutal, egregious, and incredibly satisfying. The catharsis after a successful chainsaw-kill comes not only from whatever real-life emotional baggage you might

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    July 11th

    According to my working document naming convention this is the 70th TWIVGB I’ve assembled. That’s somewhat mind boggling, and so is the number of posts this week!

    Greg J. Smith at Serial Consign usually blogs about architecture, and occasionally, we are blessed with an essay like this one

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017

    …the face of all that real, physical harm being done, worrying about truth can feel so ignoble. Further, talking about video games in this tiny sphere we deal in feels even more so. Yet, this is the platform I have. It may be flicking peas in a hurricane in the grand scheme of things, but on truth I shall not bend. I dedicate the 2017 edition of This Year In Video Game Blogging in the name of truth and the spread of whatever wisdom that may be gleaned.

    Critical Video Game Criticism

    From examinations of Nazi killing to…

    January 20th

    …product is made up primarily of different creative ways of killing. We are the ones who told ourselves it was good clean fun, while simultaneously upping the violent ante in every way possible. We are the one who paused Mortal Kombat to look up the fatalities, who try and come up with all the different ways to kill people in Bulletstorm, who praise Call of Duty for the ways it makes killing feel exciting and rewarding. We are the ones who bought, and clamored for, games in which women are sexy nuns that we are then able to systematically eliminated.