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This Week in Video Game Blogging: Getting Closer

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Zoya Street on mechanics of traversal and closeness.

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Zoya Street on mechanics of traversal and closeness.


Games are often about traversal, metaphorically or literally. Many mechanics are, at their core, about closing the gap between self and other, between the familiar and the unfamiliar, and critical writing on games often walks the same ground.


“We are so used to it we might not notice, but Chess is a very modern game in some regards. Instead of fighting to the death or strangulation like in most abstracts, the win condition is the capture of a single, practically unarmed piece. This is huge! It enables a wide range of plays and the threat of the game ending in a single move introduces a lot of fun and tension. And the pieces? They are all a bit strange. The Bishops move diagonally despite the game being vertically-bound. The Knight can move through other pieces but doing so makes it alternate between white and black squares. Pawns form the backbone of the army yet are barely capable of harming each other. There are a lot of curve balls in Chess that makes it feel fresh and exciting.”


Critical Distance is community-supported. You can pitch in with Patreon or Paypal. Got suggestions about some pieces we should feature next week? Send them through Twitter or by email.

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