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This Week in Video Game Criticism: The morality of  Assassin's Creed
This Week in Video Game Criticism: The morality of Assassin's Creed
February 5, 2014 | By Joe Koeller

February 5, 2014 | By Joe Koeller
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More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Indie, Design



This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Joe Koller on topics including morality in Assassin's Creed and the origins of the JRPG.

The Formalisms of Discussing Formalism

Across Worlds and Bodies: Criticism in the Age of Video Games,” Brendan Keogh's call for more close readings in the Journal of Games Criticism continues to make waves. Lana Polansky and Zolani Stewart discuss the kyriarchal structures of academia at length in this untitled podcast, while Mattie Brice weighs in with her own experiences creating academic and non-academic criticism:
We’re so used to the essay being where our thoughts are officially counting for something. I remember thinking to myself how I was ‘wasting’ my ideas by speaking about them on twitter instead of formulating an article. We’re pressured to not rely on our instincts but to position ourselves under a certain convention of research, to be knowledgeable of documented discourse and place ourselves in relation to it.

In other academic paraphernalia, Trevor Owen wonders about games as a form of scholarship on Play the Past and Daniel Johnson provides this video about camera design in Wario Land 4 as an excerpt of his book-length analysis of the game.

Developers (and Journalists) Say The Darndest Things

(Content warning: discussion of harassment, sexism) Alice Mercier talked to Kotaku's Rachel Edidin about being harassed by Josh Mattingly, the questionable expectations women face in the videogame industry and the ever present worry of becoming "that girl."
"That girl" is the bogeyman, a cautionary tale to keep the ladies in line. "That girl" is the woman who is iced out for speaking up and ruining everyone's fun. I hear about her from almost every woman I interview.

(Content warning: antisemitism) Talking to Polygon's Alexa Ray Corriea, Dean Evans, creative director of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, revealed some of his earlier game ideas, including one centered around a Jewish thief and stereotypes of greed. Jason Schreier responds, lamenting the lack of meaningful discussions of Judaism in games. (Content warnings over)

On a lighter note, Cara Ellison's first foray into embedded games journalism has been out for some time now. She talks to George Buckenham and Alice O'Connor and kills London. It's all very beautiful, really.

In foreign dispatches presented in boring old English, Oskar Strik brings us this post by Ronimo designer Joost van Dongen about concept art. Meanwhile, Christof Zurschmitten uploaded a number of developer interviews he held preparing for an article about procedural generation. He talked to Jake Solomon of Firaxis, Jim Rossignol of Big Robot and Chris Park of Arcen Games.

Video games!

Simon Parkin tells the story of The Black Onyx and how its creator Henk Rogers brought RPGs to Japan.

Jon Bois played around with Madden to create the most unfair Superbowl game possible. I don't know much about football, but from what I gather reality then attempted to emulate his findings.

Here, Erik Bigras considers the politics of Fate of the World for Higher Level Gamer, and why it "isn’t so much an educational game focusing on climate change as it is a global neolibralization [sic] simulator."

Cameron Kunzelman has started exploring morality in the fiction of Assassin's Creed, more hopefully to come.

This review of Samurai Gunn by Tommy Rousse manages to barely feel like one (in a good way).

Pauli Kohberger talks about Welcome House and comedy in games.

Strong stuff by Ashton Raze about Octodad as a metaphor for invisible disability.

On Kill Screen, William Drew talks about the documentary game Fort McMoney and how it presents socioeconomical changes in the Canadian boomtown Fort McMurray.

Stephen Beirne discusses how The Last of Us' mechanical building blocks collide with its narrative beats when you find chest-high walls in a peaceful section.

Medieval POC answers the question of whether or not having only white characters in your game can be explained with historical accuracy, as suggested by the developers of Kingdom Come: Deliverance: "TL;DR: yeah they’re wrong."

Lana Polansky talks about photography in videogames.

And finally, Christian Nutt compares Tomb Raider to Tearaway as two linear games with very different personalities.

That's all for today. But fear not, friends, for This Week In Videogame Blogging is sure to return next week. Please send in any suggestions you might have on Twitter, or via our email form.

Until then, consider submitting to Zoya Street's Memory Insufficient issue for Black History Month.

Thank you for joining us!


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