This Week in Video Game Criticism: Politics of Control
This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Zach Alexander on topics including the reported sexual assault in Metal Gear Solid 5 and how Papers, Please serves as propaganda.
First off: The Arcade Review
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From The Definitely-Not-A-Cylon Dept
Over at Gamechurch as part of their “Discomfort” week, Mark Filipowich discusses how bodies - filthy human organics! - are portrayed in games
On Kill Screen, Paul King examines body horror
. And over at IndieStatik, Chris Priestman examines a war game where injuries aren’t healed
by hiding behind a corner.
In other news about Bodies, Dave Cook examines the working conditions under which commercial games are often produced
. Meanwhile at Kotaku, an anonymous developer talks about the overwhelming negative feedback from fans
. And Mary Hamilton talks about play and compulsion
In the “almost certainly a Cylon, how are people so good at video games?” department, Polygon talks about e-sports and Super Metroid speedruns
. (Kotaku has a link
to a video of the event under discussion).
Via the Organization of Humans Are People, Too
Lexi Alexander talks about a subject that resonates with the games world - the difficulty behind employing women in Hollywood
and how it's structural.
A video interview with Christine Love
continues a discussion of why representation is important in games. John Polson wants to include historically accurate attitudes to sexuality
in his game. Kat Bailey examines Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2
In the current climate, in which allusions to rape and sexual assault in video game culture have sparked extremely contentious debate, Lords of Shadow 2 manages to come off as both insensitive and more than a little tone deaf.
This sparked a predictable backlash, part of which was rebutted in this Storify
Samantha Blackmon puts Metal Gear Solid 5 on blast
for its inevitable depiction of sexual assault. Meanwhile, Nick Dinicola realizes how much he has in common
with the new protagonist of The Walking Dead
Back on GameChurch, M. Joshua Cauller talks about forgiveness in Metro: Last Light
The Unchanging Empire of Wargamers, Wars, Gamewars, and Console Wars Bureau
by Sam Kriss examines Age of Empires
and the logic of its wars. "What’s really going on has very little to do with combat, and everything to do with resources."
Robert Beckhusen asks, do 1,600-year-old Viking war games cause violence?
The game in question is one of asymmetrical warfare, possibly meant to teach a common language of tactics much like we use sports metaphors today. Christian Nutt mulls on the toys we played with as kids
and did the influence they had on us.
Owen Vince talks about Skyrim
and “living by the sword
”. And Zolani Stewart does a critical Let’s Play of an older FPS: Perfect Dark
Tony Wilson dares to imagine Gone Home with guns
. Amsel von Spreckelsen talks about portrayals of “psychopaths” in games
. And at The Escapist, Rob Rath on Job, The Outsider and Dishonored
The Universal Omnisociety of Structural Analysis Weekly Update
Raph Koster talks about how he analyzes a game
. Of course, his way is far from the only way. Filipe Salgado talks about the structure of the Fjordsss
and the SHARECART.
On PopMatters, Jorge Albor talks about Systems and Activism in Papers, Please
. Elsewhere, Rui Craveirinha points out that Papers, Please is a great piece of propaganda
but never turns its critical gaze away from Soviet-style aesthetics towards, for instance, American immigration practices, which are often just as bizarre and restrictive.
Writing for Polygon, Chris Dahlen reminds us that you can’t save everyone
. As for other lessons we can take from the structure of games: learning is FUN-Damental
! Back with Polygon, Ben Kuchera agrees by extension
On The AV Club, Anthony John Agnello talks about the Ghostbusters game, and humor
: "Since a game like this relies on repetition until you get things right, the lack of improvisation is comedy killer."
James Lantz talks about score streaking in 868-Hack
, but also about the difficulty of tracking player score in games
that are defined by randomness and luck. Darran Jamieson goes deep into the role of luck in game design
The Expert Society of Non-Human Subject Report
Edge Online hosts an examination of the mythology behind the iconic hadoken
. At Eurogamer, Christian Donlan examines authorship, artificial intelligence, and game jams
. And at Wired, Tom Chatfield says difficulty in games is the point
, not the problem.
The Actual, Literal, Not-Made-Up-For-A-Joke Foreign Correspondence Dept
Via German Correspondent Joe Koller.
Video games made the cover of print magazine Der Spiegel
in an overall positive take on the subject, and nobody seems quite sure whether that's a good thing or not. Anjin Anhut is quite certain that it's not
(English source), Christian Huberts details the cultural elitism of such praise from above
. Meanwhile Markus Grundmann, criticizes the pedantry of videogame bloggers
picking apart a general introduction in a general interest publication.
In other news: Jan Fischer wrote about the intersection of games and theater
. Daniel Ziegener provides some thoughts on Master Reboot
. Rainer Sigl and Christof Zurschmitten engage in some intellectual discussion about the roguelike genre
Christof Zurschmitten again, this time with a review of Ken Baumann's Earthbound book
. Nina Kiel reports from the Next Level Conference
And that's all we have for you this time. Thanks for reading! As always we value your submissions via Twitter mention