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Episode 22 – On ‘Killing is Harmless’

…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.

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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

Kotaku UK archive

…of Cthulhu subverts the horror genre with player choice

  • Partying with Steel Rats
  • Another view on the Vampyr
  • Battlefield V: how not to reveal a game
  • Rumu and Juliet
  • More like Persona 510 amirite?
  • Taro Yoko on friendship, religion, and killing kids
  • Inside the 100000 magic deck
  • MGS5’s soundtrack is all about the kojima konami split
  • The landscape of the Last of Us
  • The artists and paintings that bleed through Bloodborne
  • The doomed heroes of Dark Souls
  • Why Gwyn must die
  • The games that dare to sail…
  • Kill Screen archive

    …timeplay horrible pre movie advertising game

  • journeys greatest gift videogames was telling us all shut
  • canadas manifest destiny game
  • everybodys gone rapture and more human kind apocalypse
  • killing lara croft
  • honor arkham knight we replayed worst batman games ever made
  • shrugging mental illness rise tomb raider
  • soma and horror perception
  • reconsidering epic violence god war saga
  • watching sports vr returns power viewer
  • fez it follows conversation disasterpeace
  • history photography could predict future videogames
  • satoru iwata 1959 2015
  • fork road
  • friendzone q
  • shut her story

  • Grand Theft Auto IV

    …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, others were not so convinced. Spencer Greenwood felt betrayed…

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    March 13th

    …now I 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

    April 30th

    …In this remarkable essay, Julie Muncy finds a queerness in the alternative temporality of robot life.

    “Automata‘s death drive takes on an odd metaphorical resonance. It becomes, 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

    Assassin’s Creed III

    …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 trailer (video link with autocaptions), and only hostile redcoats in the shortened US version (video link with autocaptions). In this regard, Carol Pinchefsy at Forbes mused that the UK trailer was “more historically accurate”:

    It’s unsurprising that Ubisoft left out that part [Connor killing bluecoats]

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    February 23rd

    …justified, or necessary?

    • The Righteous, Musical Violence of Ape Out – Haywire Magazine Stephen Mansfield explores the energetic violence of Ape Out as a counterpoint to the more meditative examination at play in Hotline Miami.
    • On Killing Hitler | EGM Michael Goroff delves into the history–and the critical limitations–of Hitler revenge fantasies in games and beyond.

    “Killing Hitler is an easy choice. Who is more universally recognized as deserving of a violent death? But Hitler’s evilness is largely left abstract in video games, presupposing a knowledge and understanding of why Hitler’s death should feel

    November 15th

    …to a meaningfully progressive ideological framework without all kinds of caveats and asterisks. Anyway, here’s three of this week’s highlights unpacking difficulties and tensions within the series.

    • Killing | Cole Writes Words Cole Henry studies the evolving thematic implications of killing across the Watch Dogs series.
    • In Watch Dogs: Legion, queer identity is still flavor text | Polygon Carolyn Petit finds dissonance in the fact that the indentity intersections of your operatives in Watch Dogs: Legion have so little bearing on their struggles against fascism.
    • Watch Dogs: Legion Is Completely Detached from Reality | Paste Jackson

    July 4th

    …different ways. What I’ve settled on here is putting these first three together for their emphasis on intuitive and relational connections to the material world, with particular focus on sensation, pattern relation, and meats.

    • I Am So Excited for Shredders | In The Lobby Cole Henry recounts the spatial and sensory pleasures of snowboarding games in general and the upcoming Shredders in particular.
    • Mini Motorways Is Helping Me Get Through The Year – Uppercut Monti Velez untangles traffic–and life–with a soothing mobile puzzler.
    • I’M THINKIN ARBY’S – DEEP HELL Skeleton relates the visceral simulacrum of killing