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January 13th

…Craig Wilson thinks his bold new approach to games criticism is too hot for Critical Distance, does he? We’ll show him! We’re edgy, damn it! We’re cool with the kids! And I did tell him slideshow criticism was a pretty interesting new schtick.

And one last one for you, but it’s a twofer. I’m more into house music so I have no idea what’s going on in here but I bet these two pieces by Gus Mastrapa will be the best XCOM fanfiction you read all week.


If you’re craving a bit more, pop…

March 10th

…some of games criticism’s most prolific. Yours truly poked curiously at Sleep is Death and the female monsters of Silent Hill: Downpour, but my personal favourite? Denis Farr’s exploration of gender in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and The Sims. There’s enough material in this mag to fill its own TWIVGB post, to be honest, so definitely pick it up if you just can’t cram enough criticism into your cranium.

Meanwhile, over at Indie Game Magazine, Marc Isaacson describes the dangers of in-app purchasing. While this editor is not 100% sure she agrees with the idea of IAPs being scammy generally…

August 18th

…the emotional impact Papers Please had on him with regard to one of standard questions he had to ask.

Joe Köller looks at multiple choice narratives in games and how they let us shape our blanks slates.

Bill Coberly of the Ontological Geek compares the ending states of XCom: Enemy Unknown and Pacific Rim.

The Indie Gamer Chick talks about epilepsy and gaming. She asks that you do not user her editorial as a baseline for your own ability to play a game.

And finally, Rob Gallagher at The New Inquiry thinks that video game’s devaluation…

August-September Roundup

…shooters are essentially linear roller coasters, it’s difficult to convey the feeling of unpredictable attack that comes with real-world terrorism. Although perhaps he is looking in the wrong place – XCOM: Enemy Unknown does a great job of this, albeit in a different genre.

Desmand King from Plus 10 Damage takes a look at Spec Ops: The Line and Year Walk (spoilers for both). There has been a lot written about The Line, but it’s still one of the standout games of 2012 – I was thinking about it last week while watching Apocalypse Now. It falls into the…

This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2013

…upon it and charts the trajectory of Mortal Kombat‘s violence and what it meat over the numerous entries.

Chris Plante wrote a postmortem on The Bureau: XCom Declassified‘s 7 year development cycle for Polygon.

At Medium Difficulty, Samantha Allen wrote A Dead Space Memoir and its mirroring of her own pain.

Psepho at Commuter Gaming did a close reading of the virtual spaces in Porpentine’s howling dogs.

In his column at The Escapist, Robert Rath explains why Corvo from Dishonored is not an honorable gentleman.

Max Chis calls Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days the…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

March 9th

Mark Filipowich has me at his opening line, in describing one game’s romp through peak videogame absurdity: “If somebody were to make a game out of that one twitter bot that proposes random situations (@AndNowImagine) the result would look something like Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.”

A Mind Forever Voyaging author Dylan Holmes spent the last year fighting the tide of the release cycle to instead work on his backlog.

Meanwhile, UK-based writer Leigh Harrison lauds The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for subverting a particular trend of modern shooters:

The Bureau should be celebrated for its

February 7th

…of energy: Jamie Madigan introduces the concept of “Newtonian Engagement”, while Nathan Savant considers the “momentum” at work in Kirby games.

  • Newtonian Engagement and Metal Gear Solid V
  • Kirby’s Momentum

A number of critics this week considered unreality and ambiguity as a storytelling technique in games, arguing that designing for co-authorship with the player can enhance their ability to imaginatively project into the work. Leigh Alexander interviews Firaxis producer Garth DeAngelis, and Kym Buchanan discusses the imaginative power of sensory limitation.

  • How XCOM enables players to tell their own stories
  • How Video

August 18th

…the game text, in their engagement with fan communities, and in the exchanges that occur between fans and developers.”

Making Sense of Nonsense

A pair of authors this week investigate goofy, funny games, and why those elements of absurdity compliment the rest of the work.

  • Why Metal Gear Solid 4’s Nonsense is Great, 11 Years On – YouTube Hamish describes how Guns of the Patriots has aged gracefully into its absurdity.
  • Attack of the Earthlings Bakes Humor Into Its Freakish DNA | Unwinnable Khee Hoon Chan looks at an XCOM-like that offsets its cynical…

June 18th

…than they’re both about sci-fi games and they’re both good!

  • Rebelstar: Primordial XCOM | Kimimi The Game-Eating She-Monster Kimimi tucks into a sci-fi strategy game for the humble Speccy light-years ahead of its time.
  • Cyberpunk 2077, Broken & Jank, Helped Me Leave A Closeted Life | Kotaku Claire Jackson recounts putting herself back together in front of Cyberpunk‘s glitchy, broken mirror.

“Cyberpunk’s disastrous launch state was alluring. I had enough of seeing the disaster of myself in the mirror, enough of seeing the disaster of the world outside, so why not go check out