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  • September 25th

    …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…

    02: Danger

    …forget the particulars of him, of 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…

    October 2nd

    …from sight to sound, these two articles 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

    October 16

    …siders, colorblind options, and tutorials. I’d never thought 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

    Kentucky Route Zero

    …downturn can result in broader real estate shifts as tenants are displaced or foreclosed, leaving behind vestiges of their presence.

    Though not a piece of critical writing, Kemenczy’s lecture at GDC on the Scenography of Kentucky Route Zero (video, autocaptions) is a candid, informed, and delicate 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…

    April 3rd

    …This week’s design-focused selections explore fresh new topics in player experience and sound engineering; check ’em out!

    • Ethically designing unethical worlds | Game Developer Ruth Cassidy talks to the makers of several notable simulation and strategy games about the tricky balance of presenting a world with problems without producing a system made out of different problems.
    • A History of Hup, the Jump Sound of Shooting Games | WIRED Bryan Menegus presents a thorough historical examination of That Grunt.

    “Pessimistically, it might seem like the rock-star developers of the time threw a sound into their

    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

    October 1st

    …call it that, is vague sadness that this 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…
    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    May 14th

    …through music and sound.

    “the sounds of death are not shorthand. They are the things we are supposed to be paying attention to. Those sounds are supposed to grab us and keep us. They’re meant to haunt us beyond all reason and thought, and they work, at least for me.”


    Two pieces on remembering games this week suggest different ways of approaching our memories of games.

    • Stalingrad was Call of Duty’s Perfect Moment | Unwinnable Matthew Byrd argues that nostalgia isn’t about the past as a whole, but about the…