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  • September 25th

    …points and putting its talent for visual storytelling on full display.”

    The White Cube

    Virginia’s spatial storytelling techniques are being praised at a time when there is ever more writing taking on the spatial qualities of games’ expression, not just visually but through sound as well.

    • Sunday Sound Thought 38 – Sensory Interplay Shaun Farley argues that sound may be a more important part of how games express a sense of place and meaning than most people recognise.
    • Bjarke Ingels’s new game is everything good and bad about his architecture – Kill Screen David Rudin argues that…

    02: Danger

    …course, and I can now hardly recall the sound of his voice or his specific mannerisms. But danger is forever entwined with him in my brain.

    Which is why, of course, my own article about death ended up being about Matt as much as it was my father. I remember quite clearly being so hurt when another teenager told me that if Kurt Cobain committed suicide, he must have been a coward. What does that say about me, and my suicidal thoughts, then? What did that say about Matt, and his heroin? How can we actually be compassionate and foster…

    October 2nd

    …examine the role of sound as a core part of how games communicate with players.

    • The neglected history of videogames for the blind | Kill Screen This remarkable feature looks into the material context of developing audiogames over the past 20 years, as well as describing the direct experience of playing them when sighted.
    • Thoughts and opinions on sonically handling fail states in video games | Designing Sound Wilfried Nass interviews sound designers on the nature of failure, in games, art, and life.

    “‘I think the closer you try to approach reality, the more fragile it becomes’, stated

    October 16

    …of voice acting as an accessibility tool, rather than a directorial choice.”

    Instructional Storytelling (Advanced)

    A number of this week’s pieces also explored how technical storytelling elements add nuance to videogames:

    • The Art of Machphrasis: Stories Inspired by Video Games | Medium Kawika Guillermo describes “machphrasis” as a kind of literary technique that alludes to a horizon of possible experiences in the way that a game opens up possibility to its player
    • Sound Design for Theater: Another Medium for Our Craft | Designing Sound Career sound designer for stage, television, and games teases out the psychological difference sound can…

    Kentucky Route Zero

    …presentation of the ways in which the developers reference theater and film.

    Theme IV: The Sound

    Sound is an important component to Kentucky Route Zero. So much so that composer Ben Babbitt is listed as a core member of Cardboard Computer’s development team, not merely a collaborator.

    In an excellent long form essay for Fact Magazine, Lewis Gordon traces a storied history of Babbitt’s compositions for the game, from field recordings captured in Europe to the Junebug persona prominently featured in Act III.

    Junebug, the game’s fictitious singer and namesake for a “KRZ-adjacent” spin-off music album, is likewise at the…

    September 17th

    This was a week of controversies. Since one of the most significant issues this week was a famous Youtuber’s racist outburst, the final section of this roundup comes with a general content warning for discussions of harassment, abuse, racism etc. In the mean time, there are plenty of pieces on other topics to look at this week as well, including narrative technique, sound design, and genre.

    Hitting home

    This roundup begins with two videos that consider the role of sound design in a game’s impact on its players’ emotions and its narrative message.

    • How the song “Undertale” Hits

    October 1st

    …didn’t exist back when I was still wrestling with my own sexuality as a teen. Alas. I’m so happy stuff like this exists now.”

    Expressive play

    Touch and sound have a significant yet often overlooked impact on gameplay experience: two articles this week address that.

    • To Really Appreciate Red Dead Redemption, Listen To It Closely GB Burford describes some sound techniques used in Red Dead Redemption and other games, such as Half Life 2 and Thief, that sell their experiences through sound.
    • The Quest To Make A Better Video Game Controller Kirk Hamilton gives a thorough examination of…
    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    May 14th

    Sound, size, and space are all discussed this week as critics work out what makes games affect us more deeply.

    Speaking

    First, an investigative piece about paying people to chat and play with you, and then a reflection on the voices of the dying.

    • I Paid Women to Play Overwatch With Me, and It Was Fantastic | Kotaku Cecilia D’Anastasio reports on the nature of the service work carried out by Overwatch players-for-hire.
    • The Horrifying Sound of Death in Games – Waypoint Cameron Kunzelman discusses sickness and demise as aethestic and emotive objects encountered through music and sound.

    April 27th

    The magic circle. You opened it. We came.

    Welcome to This Week in Videogame Blogging. We have such sites to show you.

    Sound Advice

    Liz England offers up a useful analogy for thinking about the role of the game designer. Meanwhile on Videodame, former theatrical sound designer Sara Clemens shares a story of a particular sound bug in Ico and how such errors can have a catastrophic effect on a game’s emotional storytelling.

    Go Make Me a Sandwich has continued its series on how to combat offensive game design, with a particular focus on race and depictions of Asia/Asians, the