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July 11th

…we use are never ours – they are stolen, found, bought, or borrowed. We are Agent 47, finding ways into private spaces we should not be in in Hitman, the outsider arriving on an island in Morrowind, a survivor stumbling into an unknown dystopia in Bioshock, an agent behind enemy lines in Metal Gear Solid. Our role as trespasser, infiltrator, invader, aggressor, necessarily brings us into contact with locked doors. The key is a device for transgression in these places we are not supposed to be. An expression and enhancement of our role as interloper, letting us go deeper into…

October 10th

…sprite edits) to somebody else’s mildly interesting footnote, a pedantic aside to bring up before we all get back to discussing “what really happened”.”


Next up, world-building, myth-making, lore dives, and the symbolism that stitches it all together.

  • I’ve Gone to the Lighthouse – GlitchOut Oma Keeling unpacks the malleable symbolism behind the anachronistic, transitory lighthouse in BioShock, Dishonored, To the Moon, and more.
  • Expedientes GF: la mitología, fantasmas y el sintoísmo en Fatal Frame | GamerFocus Julián Ramírez delves into the Shinto cosmology and symbolism that guides Fatal Frame‘s worldbuilding (Spanish-language article).

Felan Parker | Keywords in Play, Episode 16

…particular focus on the role of intermediary actors like curators, critics, and community organizers in the cultural ecosystem of the game industry.

Dr. Parker is also co-investigator on the Swarming Comic-Con SSHRC Insight Grant, a collaborative ethnographic research endeavour that examines the famous San Diego Comic-Con and its cultural and economic resonance across entertainment industries. Other interests include game development in Canada, transmedia franchises, blockbusters and spectacle, authorship, genre, and analog games. His work has been published in leading journals and presented at conferences around the world, and he co-edited Beyond the Sea: Critical Perspectives on Bioshock, a 2018…

August 21st

…hard to shake the feeling any money spent on this could’ve gone towards something that was good good, and not “good for what it is“.”

Source Text

Let’s move now to a pair of articles which unpack the literary, cultural, and religious works which inform popular games, and which trace where those games meet or miss the mark in how those works are adapted.

  • Bioshock Infinite Turns American Religious History Into A Nonsensical Nightmare | GameSpot Grace Benfell draws on comparisons to Utah and Mormonism to trace a line from Columbia’s comparatively imprecise theological underpinnings…

August 28th

…like your trans friends are asking you to pick between them and Hogwarts Legacy, it’s because they are – No Escape Kaile Hultner keeps it simple for the stans.

“See, gender is not the only type of thing that can be “performed.” Friendship and allyship can be as well.”

City Faux

Next up, we’ve got two meditations on virtual cities and the real ones that inform them.

  • BioShock’s Failed Fictional City Of Rapture Is More Rooted In Reality Than You Might Think | GameSpot Juno Stump unpacks Rapture’s real-world historical and ideological…

May 7th

…years with the wisdom of perspective–much how the initial skepticism around Wind Waker and its shift in art direction has long given way to admiration, the initial warm critical reception enjoyed by Bioshock Infinite has gradually ceded ground to wider critical awareness of the false equivalancies sewn into the game’s half-baked racial politics. These next two pieces look around and beyond their focal texts at a wider critical and contextual landscape.

  • How Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Navigated Fan Expectations | Sidequest Kathryn Hemmann recounts the history and reputational arc of Wind Waker alongside the gradual openness