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This Week in Video Game Criticism: From Gamescom to a Jewish identity in games

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including harassment at Gamescom and locating a "Jewish identity" in games.
This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including harassment at Gamescom and locating a "Jewish identity" in games. It's About Time On Medium, Alex Pieschel argues that video games are lagging behind on contemporary aesthetics of the New Sincerity and are instead continually mired in last-generation irony -- which has repercussions when it comes to representing certain unsavory subjects, like the treatment of women. The aptly-named Snake Link Sonic reflects on the recent outcry concerning Metal Gear Solid 5, and places it in the context of the franchise's history. On Play the Past, Christopher Sawula looks at Assassin's Creed's problematic relationship with history. Elsewhere on the same publication, Peter Christiansen chats what is actually being represented through tech trees in Civilization. Identity Reconstruction in Progress On Kill Screen, Jason Johnson talks with four Jewish developers including Warren Spector and Dave Gilbert to get their thoughts on a Jewish identity in games. Elsewhere on Videogame Tourism, in the wake of Gamescom Robert Glashuttner writes about the state of the Austrian games scene. Gamescom (Content warning for this section: public sexual harassment, harassment of minors.) Speaking of, something happened that you may have missed during the annual German games conference, because it took place almost exclusively within the German-language games blogosphere. First, local games channel GIGA co-produced a video of a Youtube comedy group "pranking" (read: sexually harassing) female attendees and cosplayers. Marcus Dittmar of 99 Leben called the video out on its casual sexism and promotion of regressive stereotypes. Subsequently, our own German correspondent Johannes Koller broke things down on Superlevel, outlining just what was problematic about the incident. And Michael Cherdchupan discusses the clip's assumed production process and legality, given it depicts minors without parental consent. Meanwhile, one of the cosplayers shown in the video learned of the incident and threatened legal action for being shown in the video without her consent, compelling an apology from the filmmakers. Finally, GIGA itself responded to the incident in a podcast, simultaneously criticizing and defending the video as "still funny." Meanwhile Another event was held concurrent with Gamescom, and that was the annual Notgames Fest. Franzi Bechtold was there. Nach Hause Gehen The German blogosphere is catching up on the discourse surrounding Fullbright Company's Gone Home. Leading the charge again, Marcus Dittmar comments on the disparity between Metacritic professional and user reviews for the game. And back with Videogame Tourism, Rainer Sigl discusses the expectations veteran players carry toward their hobby of choice. Penny Arcade Expo (Content warning for this section: rape, harassment, stalking, bullying.) If you are unfamiliar with the particular incident that set off this latest volley of criticism toward Penny Arcade and its franchise of conventions, I refer you to this timeline. On Wired, Rachel Edidin lays down why she's not going to PAX again. A rape survivor, Mo, shares a tough personal story of meeting her rapist at PAX, and why making light of rape survivors is something she can't abide. faceless007 once again sums it up better than the average NeoGAFer. Aevee Bee lays out why the defenses of the original Dickwolves strip as 'satire' don't actually cut it. And lastly on the subject, Three Fingered Fox analyzes the entire situation in terms of Hegelian philosophy, to whit: geek culture and the refusal to honestly listen to feedback other than one's own. Miscellaneous On Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Robert Yang talks shop with Tale of Tales co-founder Auriea Harvey. And on Problem Machine, Ben Taber explores the art of the glitch. Thanks for reading! Don't forget to continue submitting your links via Twitter mention or our email submissions form. We really depend on these! The August/September Blogs of the Round Table is still going on and would appreciate your submissions as well. See you next week!

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