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The Stanley Parable

Dark Souls

…worthwhile” , a question Erik Kain refutes.

Dan Olson’s video “The Stanley Parable, Dark Souls, and Intended Play” explores Dark Souls’ capacity to anticipate confrontational player “misbehaviour”, and how its permittance of divergent approaches acts an an essential part of the text.

For the Problem Machine, “the simple extraordinary elegance of the estus flask is often overlooked.”, and the “beloved balance of the game rests” on this healing mechanic.

The interplay between Dark Souls’ systems often makes them difficult to analyse in isolation. Joseph Anderson’s extensive series covers Dark Souls in its entirety, with special attention to…

October 11th

Hello everyone. Are you having a good Sunday? I was just beginning to celebrate the cooler temperatures when suddenly my city was struck with another heat wave, so at the very least I hope you’re having a slightly more temperate weekend than me. Welcome to This Week in Videogame Blogging!

The Beginner’s Guide

Discussion on The Beginner’s Guide, from The Stanley Parable co-creator Davey Wreden, has begun to trickle in. I say ‘trickle,’ but really what I have for you here is half of a Critical Compilation already. Whatever you may think of it as a work, this game is

November 16th

…the new bad TV.”

Elsewhere, Jason Rice weaves together Sleep No More, The Stanley Parable, The Walking Dead, and player performance, looking toward the future of interactivity.



According to a new study by the Queensland University of Technology, playing video games improves children’s emotional, social, and psychological well-being. The study also finds that playing video games together as a family can help build stronger family bonds.

More at GamePolitics.


With new consoles comes the inevitable march of new shooters. Battlefield…

Calling for Critical Compilations!

  • Dishonored series
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Fallout 4
  • Far Cry series
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy X and X-2
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • Gone Home
  • Heavy Rain
  • Journey
  • Kentucky Route Zero
  • L.A. Noire
  • The Last of Us
  • Mass Effect series
  • Metal Gear series
  • Metro series
  • Nier Automata
  • Nier Gestalt and Replicant
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Papers, Please
  • Pathologic
  • Portal and Portal 2
  • P.T.
  • Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Spelunky
  • The Stanley Parable
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale)
  • The Witcher trilogy
  • We’ll consider pitches for games outside this list, but these are the ones we’re considering…

    February 9th

    …hard-earned cash,” in his words.

    Making Sense

    For The Atlantic, Ian Bogost references the stoic chaos of Flappy Bird as evidence of games as grotesqueries at which we flail in existential pursuit of order and beauty. Having reveled in the deaths of billions in Plague Inc., Nick Dinicola reflected on how terrifying the nature of puzzles can be, for the delight of intellectual stimulation and sense of overcoming a challenge so easily masks the horror of one’s actions.

    Alex Duncan discussed metafiction and The Stanley Parable. Gaines Hubbell addressed a subject I’m very keen on myself – the use of…

    December 8th

    …take a couple of years.

    Ludodecahedral Blog Labyrinth

    On his blog Fortress of Doors, Lars Doucet – inventor of the term ‘procedural death labyrinth’ – goes into more detail about the term. Meanwhile, Chris Bateman critiques the exploratory life labyrinth Gone Home. Also on the subject of Gone Home, Dan Cox feels like a ghost when he plays it (warning: story spoilers from the outset).

    Carli Velocci has an interesting piece on Kill Screen about narrator gendering in Portal, The Stanley Parable and more, taking a slightly broader approach to Cara Ellison’s previous piece about engendered AI for Unwinnable. Cool…

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    July 30th

    …hiding and scurrying, the gelatinous cubes crawling the corridors.”


    Finally, I was startled to find these two pieces that both consider intentionality as a part of game design thinking, but in completely different ways.

    • The Stanley Parable, Dark Souls, and Intended Play – YouTube (Video: auto-captions) Dan Olson looks at intentionality from the point of view of the designer, considering how the player’s actions may coded as the intended route or a diversion.
    • Gamasutra: Sayam Ghosh’s Blog – Enabling narrative intentionality – a design analysis of 1979 Revolution: Black Friday (Spoilers for 1979 Revolution: Black Friday) Sayam…

    April 7th

    …Dear Esther is also on Line Hollis’s mind these days, as she compares it with The Stanley Parable and how the two games approach storytelling from opposite directions.

    Gamertheories explores horror in tablet gaming with Year Walk. Our own Eric Swain poses an interesting thought experiment on the different visuality of first- and third-person “walker” games.

    On VGRevolution, Marc Price calls for more “immersion criticism” in games, “exploring every nook and cranny until there’s no pixel left untouched.” Meanwhile at Uncanny Postcards, Sylvain Lavallée proposes that it can be productive to think of games as possibility spaces.

    Touching on the…

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    March 3rd

    Happy Sunday, readers.

    Things happened this week in games. Some really, icky, bad things. Typically I leave some space at the top here to reflect on some of these things and maybe connect them to the week’s selection of writing, but if some company somewhere, hypothetically speaking, did something particularly gross with the specific aim of generating publicity, I’d be hard-pressed to play along and indulge them with a link. You follow?

    If you haven’t checked it out already, Dan Solberg recently penned an excellent Critical Compilation on The Stanley Parable. Also, Capsule Crit just released a double-sized issue dedicated

    Episode 40 – Games literary studies on Youtube

    …talk about that original class, the struggle of keeping up a schedule for a hobby, and the pleasure that teaching and video making have given him.


    Games as Literature YouTube Channel

    Games as Lit. 101 – Syllabus

    Games as Lit. 101 – Literary Analysis – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

    Games as Lit. 101 – Literary Analysis – Bioshock

    Games as Lit. 101 – Literary Analysis – Gears of War Trilogy

    Games as Lit. 101 – Literary Analysis – The Stanley Parable

    Gaming Symposium YouTube Channel

    Games as Lit. Patreon

    Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha…