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Games

Finding Hope and Magic in 'Inside,' 'Pokemon Go,' and 'Everything'

Games criticism has stepped up.

by Critical Distance
Apr 4 2017, 3:00pm

Critical Distance curates and archives important games criticism, and works to put it in context for readers today and researchers in the future. Find more at Critical-Distance.com.

Games criticism has stepped up. I remember a time, years ago, when it seemed that games writing was mostly about reviews, technology upgrades, and the battles being waged between corporations. There was always a group of games critics doing insightful, reflective work on the fringes, but there was often a sense that this work was not valued.

Now, when we perhaps need it the most, games writers are asking not just which games we should play, but how those games impact the world around us, and how their power might help us to face some of our greatest challenges. I've chosen just six pieces about how games offer us hope and produce a kind of magic.

Hope

The Unifying, Monstrous Hopefulness of 'Inside' | Waypoint Kaitlin Tremblay finds a message about feminist solidarity in a lost boy's frightening fate.

Everything is the most ambitious catalogue of things ever committed to a video game | Eurogamer.net Simon Parkin argues that a surrealist game about being anything in the world holds within it an urgent political message.

Header and Everything screen courtesy of Double Fine and David O'Reilly.

Slouching toward relevant video games | GamesIndustry.biz Brie Code argues that care is a more meaningful response to shock and awe, and a more worthwhile response to nourish in game design.

"As the wealthy ascend further and the weather turns unfamiliar and our jobs flounder and we gaze with horrified fascination into our phones, we are all overwhelmed with shock. Capitalizing on this fear by continuing to make games that drive this fear is a short term strategy. Agitating young men's fear makes money. Slot machines make money. But it's the coward's choice and it's a boring choice. "

Magic

Another Journey: A Reflection on Togetherness, Protection, and Crying on a Livestream | Not Your Mama's Gamer Jynx Boyne discusses the identity positions encoded in the costumes of Journey.

The Game Developers Who Are Also Witches | Kotaku Chris Priestman investigates the use of magickal imagery and practice among queer game developers.

Pokemon Go is a mass demon summoning that's destroying our reality | ZAM | The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information John Brindle discovers hidden forces more powerful than any game developer may have dared imagine.

"There is now a procedure for requesting Pokestop removal. He also said the company has a "healthy relationship" with park operators and local governments, with whom it is in "continuous dialogue." Still, I wonder if they really comprehend the forces they are calling up. "