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lana polansky

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2015

…imprecise, yet still better than the proposed alternatives.

In her essay “Against Flow” Lana Polansky jump-starts a conversation about the “flow” convention of “traditional design,” claiming it numbs subjectivity and side-steps politics in art. Cameron Kunzelman pushed Polansky’s “ideological container” concept further by exploring flow’s origin as a vague term slowly stripped of that vagueness, turning instead into a conservative moniker. Heather Alexandra continued the train of thought left by the previous two and proposed a more interesting, sublime state of engagement with games.

Gita Jackson brought up the 60fps debate and why videogame producers should not invoke…

May 10th

…everywhere. It’s global.

A Personal Look

At Sufficiently Human, our own Lana Polansky profiles the work of indie developer, Strangethink. Polansky describes the aesthetic commonalities from one game to the next. As Polansky summarizes,

Strangethink’s games have many aesthetic and conceptual calling cards. They’re all pink and blue and made in Unity. They’re all on some level preoccupied with player exploration of space, with designed, virtual space as architecture, and with architecture as guiding not just naked interaction but also the internal work of interpretation. They tend toward a tension between “magic”, the metaphysical and…

August 7th

Self-love spectacle

The uncomfortably intangible economies surrounding leisure are explored this week in a video about Sonic and a stellar essay on gamer identity.

  • It’s Not Easy Being Blue – YouTube (video: auto-captions) Innuendo Studios riffs about Sonic’s lack of identity, and how it relates to subjectivity in the social media age.
  • Distraction, Consumption, Identity: The Neoliberal Language of Videogames | Sufficiently Human Lana Polansky calls for mass resistance and coherent labor politics, as an alternative to the divergent identity organising that can so easily be absorbed into the leisure and consumption of

This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2019

…year’s most hotly-discussed releases. For the sake of my sanity and yours, let’s go chronologically!

Bandersnatch

Strictly speaking Bandersnatch came out at the end of December 2018, and also are we actually calling it a game? Whatever, nuclear option, everything is a game, your dog is a game, in 2020 we’re going to stop having this discussion.

That said, as Emily Short points out in her rich analysis, some of Bandersnatch‘s interactivity comes across amateurish — almost like a film director was discovering games for the first time! Lana Polansky (formerly of this very site) was likewise…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2018

…industry and adjacent industries so we can understand clearly what goals should be aimed for and how.

  • Stability, Support, and Safety: Small Game Studios Need Unions Too | Waypoint – Dante Douglas Dante Douglas brings up an often-forgotten sector of the industry when it comes to unionization– independent and freelance development–and how organizing benefits these creators as well.
  • Worse then Scabs: Gamer Rage as Anti-Union Violence | Rhizome – Lana Polansky Lana Polansky focuses on the other size of unionization: the efforts of union-busting. In the 1920s it was the strike breakers, now it’s the frothing masses of…
  • This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017

    …titillation or humor. He uses this as a call-to-arms to get serious about the artistic nature of the medium.

  • Making political videogames may not work. But we have to try | ZAM – John Brindle John Brindle highlights a series of microtalks from GDC that touch on “how and to what extent games can really change the world.”
  • Politically meaningful games under neoliberalism | Memory Insufficient – Lana Polansky Lana Polansky’s piece engages with video games in our current times, the class politics of digital media, art as a political force and their intersection.
  • What Happened |…
  • 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…

    April 21st

    …game narratives both in and out of universe. Whether it’s deciding to date the misanthropic jerk in Dragon Age, or the fallout of an industry that makes bank on the narrative trauma of its creatives, there’s some great work to consider here.

    • Dragon Age’s Isabela is a Catgirl (Kind Of) | Sidequest Angie Wenham recuperates the catgirl trope by centering Isabela as an irreverent, independent, sex-positive counterpoint to an otherwise grand-destiny-oriented cast.
    • Notes on EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK: Actually It Isn’t – Sufficiently Human Lana Polansky, in reviewing Everything Is Going To Be OK, takes

    October 19th

    …baby out with the bathwater.

    Speaking of taking things one level above, here’s Stephen Beirne reviewing an interactive review of Dontnod’s ambitious but flawed title Remember Me.

    And here’s a couple plucked from our own contributors. At Paste, Lana Polansky describes her recent venture into card gaming, in particular the simple 1965 game Nuclear War and its critique of the titular subject matter:

    But one of the game’s best little touches is that, here, in state of war, there is a nonzero chance that everybody dies. When war is declared, it can’t be undeclared until the

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    Episode 16 – The Artist Formally Known as Critic

    …critical landscape — and perhaps a few surprises as well!

    This month, Mattie sits down with fellow critic-developers Lana Polansky and Cameron Kunzelman, to discuss how they got involved in game design, why game development interests them, and how becoming a developer has changed how they write about games.

    http://www.critical-distance.com/podcast/Critical%20Distance%20Confab%20episode%2016.mp3 Direct Download

    CAST

    Mattie Brice: Alternate Ending

    Lana Polansky: Sufficiently Human

    Cameron Kunzelman: This Cage is Worms

    SHOW NOTES

    Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

    Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

    Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy