Video Games

Video games are in an exciting position. This brand new baby medium, still in its infancy, is also the biggest media industry on the planet, boasting well over $150 billion in revenue each year.

Here, we look at how games tell stories – from multi-million dollar triple-A titles down to solo indie shit.

Check out some of the quick-start topics below, or scroll down for the full video game feed – updates every second Wednesday.

Feature: Wolfenstein

Terror Billy vs the Nazis

By Size

Triple-A or indie? Choose your fighter.

(Under construction)

By Genre

Strategy, shooter, or something in between

The Feed

Sunless Sea: Knowledge and Memory

2009’s Echo Bazaar was where I first fell in love with video games. It’s a text-based RPG that you play in your browser – I think now it’s titled Fallen London. The game is set in an underground London (underground because it was stolen by bats); the whole thing is drenched in Victorian Gothic, in […]

On Change in Video Game Criticism

I’ve been on a bit of a board game bender this year. I touched on this implicitly back in March, when we were talking about Magic: The Gathering (Constructing the Player in MtG), but – for a few years now I’ve been playing MTG Arena, which is a digital version of Magic, and then I […]

Luxuria Superbia: On Electric Sex

One of (I think) the frontiers of video games or digital fiction is the representation of sex and sexuality. We have this really interesting space where – you know, gaming is still stereotypically gendered as a male activity (even though women make up around half of the gaming community), and that obviously bleeds through into […]

Plug & Play: On Juxtaposition

This past week I’ve been reading Richard McGuire’s Here. It’s a 2014 comic about all the different events that happen in this one specific room throughout history. And it kinda intersperses different scenes, such that a moment from 1912 might have an overlay from 1970, taking these events from across time and putting them next […]

Dark Crusade: On Total War

There’s a block of text that serves as the boilerplate context for novels set in the fictional universe of Warhammer 40K. It reads as follows. It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor of Mankind has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind […]

Arkham Knight: The Hierarchy of Villains

We’re familiar with the idea that the different major villains in the Batman universe reflect different aspects of Batman’s personality. Two-Face shows how the quest for justice can become a quest for vengeance; the Penguin reflects a twisted version of Bruce Wayne’s wealth; Mr Freeze his research and scientific skills. The Joker, depending on the […]

Borderlands 3: Regarding Female Psychos

In a daring change of pace, I’m playing Borderlands 3 again. I have a Steam copy now, which means we can finally have some pictures from the actual game. That makes it a great time to talk about one of the really minor little details of how the game presents its characters. One of the […]

Maneater: On Junk Feminism

Maneater is a 2020 shark attack game from Tripwire Interactive, the team behind Killing Floor and Red Orchestra 2. It’s not great. Let’s just say that up front – it’s very much a six out of ten. I don’t normally comment on the quality of a game as a whole – most of the time […]

Constructing the Player in MtG

Magic: The Gathering is a tabletop card game, originally released in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast (who also make Dungeons & Dragons). Even if you’ve never played Magic, you kinda know what it’s about – it stands as progenitor to most of the creature-summon card games, Yu-gi-oh and Hearthstone and so on. One of […]

White Night: Can a Game be Noir?

There’s a common trope in mysteries or detective stories where the investigator stops for a drink. It serves as a lull in the case, a quiet moment – it creates some contrast in the tone, and allows us to watch the investigator reflect, without the distractions of new information or testimony. It’s often private and […]

Why Star Trek is Bad

This is a hate piece about J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film Star Trek. It isn’t strictly necessary – there are much more recent things to complain about in Abrams’ oeuvre, and we’ve already played the drinking games where you take a shot every time there’s a lens flare. And yet in watching it again recently, I […]

The Signifier: On Sex and Realism

So I’m playing Per Aspera at the moment – it’s a 2020 base-building simulator where you’re an AI terraforming Mars. It’s a pretty long-form game – I’ve been playing about fifteen hours, and I’m just starting to introduce plants and lichen and so on. I could’ve been quicker, of course – there’s a time slider […]

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