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

Jedi Fallen Order: On Place and Self

So we moved house recently, and while we were packing we had Star Wars on in the background. And I was thinking – you know, it’s obviously been difficult to talk meaningfully about Star Wars over the past few years. There’s so much outrage and manufactured discontent that it feels like swimming through soup just…

Call of Duty Ghosts: On the Afterlife

Ghosts, huh. People think of Call of Duty: Ghosts as the low point of the franchise – and that’s not entirely the game’s fault. It fell at a bit of a turning point for the series as a whole. If you’re not familiar with the production cycle for Call of Duty, these games essentially function…

Arkham City: On Place and Control

One of my favourite moments in Arkham City comes after the Demon Trials with Ra’s al Ghul. You’re exiting from Wonder City, passing back up through the subway, and you hear one of Joker’s thugs lecturing Penguin’s hired help. By this point you’ve already defeated Penguin, and his men are scattered and disheartened. Captured by…

Dark Souls 3: On Place

It’s not controversial to note the special significance of place to the Dark Souls games, or to developing studio FromSoftware more broadly. Critics have long noted the way that place in Dark Souls seems deeper, more sophisticated than in other worlds. There’s a sense of depth, of history. You can see locations off in the…

Arkham Asylum: On Repression

We were talking recently about sight in Arkham Asylum, and I said that we were working up to a bit more of a long haul through some of the visual design of the Arkham games. Architecture and visual design can be slippery to talk about – because we’re not just discussing the elements in themselves,…

Arkham Asylum: On Sight

Let’s talk about sight in Arkham Asylum. Recently I’ve been thinking about doing a longer comparative piece on the Arkham games – something about the different architectural styles, how they change from one game through to the next, and what that says about their different stakes and themes. We’re going to end up with a…

The Unfinished Swan: On Sight

For a while now I’ve been thinking about the nature of vision in video games – not the biological act of looking, but the social and psychological construct by which you make sense of what you see. I have this feeling that I’m trying to process – sometimes, when I look at a video game,…

Dorfromantik: On City Builders

I feel like a lot of my opinions about games are built around the fact that I don’t like SimCity. I don’t enjoy the flat, affectless terrain; I don’t like being given a field and being told to go build something. I feel similarly about Cities: Skylines – all those sandbox creation games, really. I…

The Horus Heresy: On Agency

I mentioned back in April that I’ve been enjoying the Warhammer 40K novels. I’ve been reading the Horus Heresy – it’s a series with over 50 titles, exploring how Horus Lupercal, favoured son of the Emperor of Mankind, turned against his father and started an intergalactic civil war. You’ve got the loyalist Space Marines, who…

Call of the Sea: On Lovecraft

H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a story about the horrors of interracial breeding. It’s about some people in a small town in America who start breeding with fish-people and end up worshipping the Old Ones, as so often happens. The whole thing is clearly a metaphor for Lovecraft’s disgust at interracial relationships…

Ryse Son of Rome: On Civilization

There’s a special place in my heart for 6 / 10 game narratives that hit all their major beats. When a game has a story that’s unambitious, pretty derivative, something you could reconstruct entirely from the pieces of other stories – but that still manages to hit all its beats – to me, that’s just…

This War of Mine: On the City

Siege Survival: Gloria Victis is a 2021 survival and base-building game from Black Eye Games. Set in the universe of Gloria Victis, an online medieval MMORPG from 2016, Siege Survival follows the citizens of Edring as they are besieged by a foreign army. The game has you sneak out into the city and scavenge resources,…

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