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This Week in Video Game Criticism: From stealth games to Shigeru Miyamoto

This Week in Video Game Criticism: From stealth games to Shigeru Miyamoto

September 14, 2015 | By Eric Swain

September 14, 2015 | By Eric Swain
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More: Console/PC, Indie, Design

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Eric Swain on topics ranging from the queer masculinity of stealth games to a level design chat with Shigeru Miyamoto.


In continuation to the previous pieces of Hot Ryu, Mattie Brice looks at what the simple addition of a beard says about us when compared with the correct cultural context of masculinity projection, in this case 'lumbersexuality.'

Our own Riley MacLeod feels lost in the normative body types of video games and looks at the differences apparent in stealth games and their "queer masculinity" at Offworld. Then, Todd Harper picks up the torch and in light of a rather disgusting video applies the same lens toward fat characters.


(Content Warning: discussion of rape.)

Alisha Karabinus, at Not Your Mama's Gamer, decides to take the psudo-science explanation of Quiet's state of dress on its face and instead explore the poor execution of its presentation. She laments that there was potential even in the ludicrousness of it that gets lost in the shuffle of its more obvious detrimental aspects.

Emma Boyle was much less diplomatic in her piece on Gadgette, blasting the explanation as more of an excuse to do more of the same. Starting from the same place with many of the same arguments, wundergeek of Go Make Me a Sandwich blog follows the train of thought through to the concept of rape and how it has ceased to be edgy a long time ago and we as a culture have proved we are not responsible to handle it.

(End content warning section.)

A Woman's Perspective

Jordan Wood continues in Part 2 of the critical series of The Witcher 3 by examining the Bloody Baron quest. Wood feels that there is a severe deficiency of nuance and observation in examination of the sexual politics of modern video games and seeks to correct that through example.

At Not Your Mama's Gamer, Bianca Batti looks at Until Dawn as through the lens of the horror genre and what it says about representation and the illusion of choice. Meanwhile, Alex Layne recommends we look to history for the next step of women "transgressing male spaces."

Lena LeRay goes back to Final Fantasy X-2, a game she saw as unnecessary and somewhat detrimental to the story of FFX, and looks at it from a different angle, as a story about a woman dealing with grief and coming to terms with loss.

Anna Anthropy's newest release, Ohmygod Are You Alright? inspired Chris Priestman to examine the sequel to Dys4ia and see what it says about the developer's opinion on the so-called empathy game genre.

Level Design

Scott Juster of PopMatters feels that while the level design of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a lovely example of space, it is ruined by the slow speed at which you move through it, creating a disconnect and resentment of the level. They mechanic and space were not properly built for one another.

Andrew Yoder of Mclogeblog looks at the Thief's series of in-game maps and what they express bout spaces and how they what behavior they facilitate.

Mike Stout tries to dissuade the normal responses that come up when he says he wants to talk about training players and expand the understanding beyond poorly made tutorials into the necessary practice of teaching the player how to play.

Meanwhile, Eurogamer managed a sit down with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka to talk about the iconic level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. (video) And Jon Irwin at Paste Magazine has a bit of fun with the Top 20 2D Mario levels of all time.


Eve Golden Woods of Women Writes About Comics, looks at Silverstring Media's The Dusty Dead, a narrative personality quiz that doesn't have an original property to be based on and how that changes the experience.

On Critical Hit, Ceba looks at Infinifactory's critique of factory farm meat through the mechanics it has been using all along benignly. They wondered if it was intentional and so asked the developer. It was indeed.

Pam at her blog Cannot Be Tamed asked about something she doesn't get about how we talked about games, namely the idea of a game or possibly the player respecting their time and what value our reaction to our activities place on it.

Don't use the N-word in gaming: sound advice and the subject of Chris Spivey's piece. He doesn't want the word banned and sees its necessary to not hide, in other mediums, but finds it's different in gaming.

And on a lighter note, a dialogue of 4 philosophers trying to play a mutliplayer game of Magic: The Gathering by Jesse Mason at his blog Killing a Goldfish.

Closing Credits

If you have any recommendations for the weekly roundups, you may have to our email or @-message our Twitter account.

And...I think that's everything. See you next week!

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