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This Week in Video Game Criticism: From Divekick to 868-HACK

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including Divekick's community problem and the "gorgeous math" of Michael Brough's 868-HACK.
This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including Divekick's community problem and the "gorgeous math" of Michael Brough's 868-HACK. Developers Speak On Videogame Tourism, Rainer Sigl holds an interview with Dear Esther, A Machine for Pigs and Everyone's Gone to the Rapture lead Dan Pinchbeck. Gamasutra has posted the Vault video to Tom Francis's GDC Europe 2013 presentation, on how nine years as a game reviewer informed the design of his recently released Gunpoint. And over Vimeo, filmmaker Daniel Oliveira Carneiro speaks with Auriea Harvey, Michael Samyn (both of Tale of Tales), Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) and several other developers on why they chose video games as their medium. Penny Arcade On his personal tumblr, Alex Lifschitz has a good roundup of links up concerning the recent Penny Arcade outcry, as well as a deft analysis of the social ramifications of free speech. On Culture Newly minted parent Kate Cox reflects on how caring for a newborn reminds her of various games:

> N You are in the NURSERY. > look There is a CRIB here. You hear a PURRING SOUND. > i You are carrying a BABY. > put baby in crib You cannot put the baby in the crib. > examine crib There is a CAT in the crib. It is purring in its sleep. > remove cat from crib There is an INDIGNANT CAT on your feet. > put baby in crib You are in the NURSERY. There is a CRIB here. There is a BABY in the CRIB. There is an INDIGNANT CAT that gives your ankle an annoyed nibble.
On Paste, Maddy Myers tackles the frequently unacknowledged class issues associated with games:

I think developers' speculation about why mainstream publications don't include videogame coverage in their arts criticism sections, why games criticism has no Roger Ebert, and even why gaming has no Citizen Kane has less to do with the artists making the games not being talented enough, and more to do with accessibility overall. As long as videogame creation and consumption are Rich People Activities, videogames as a medium just won't see their full potential. Perhaps the future Roger Ebert of videogame criticism is too poor to buy the games she wants to write a blog post about, or perhaps the future Orson Welles of videogame creation cannot afford to get a Computer Science degree.
On The Mary Sue, Susana Polo and Becky Chambers have posted the first part of a conversation on the rise of dads in games:

Polo: It's sad that in order to have a platonic relationship between male and female main characters of a game or movie or comic, in many cases, they have to be of an age separation or familial relationship, so that our strongest cultural taboos are in the way.
On Australia's Zed Games, Jody Macgregor looks for a fuller picture of the sort of social behavior games can encourage. Meanwhile on Unwinnable, Zavian Sildra compares God of War with Metal Gear Solid in an essay on violence in games as a space for self-reflection. On Joystiq, Jordan Mallory calls out Divekick's fatshaming problem as not being what the fighting game community needs. On Gamasutra's member blogs, Karin E Skoog argues that burgeoning local game scenes can bring greater multicultural awareness. And on The Escapist, Robert Rath looks to how activist game Endgame: Syria is updating itself to keep up with the ongoing conflict in the region. Close Reads On First Person Scholar, Meghan Blythe Adams offers up a short-but-sweet scholarly analysis of Journey, interpellation, and the apocalypse. Elsewhere, on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Duncan Harris pens a fascinating feature on the development of Zeno Clash II. Meanwhile, the Gameological Society's Anthony John Agnello presents the ballad of Rock Band. On Destructoid, Hamish Todd takes a close look at mechanics of the barnacle enemies of Half-Life. Back with Gamasutra, editor-at-large Leigh Alexander paints a loving portrait of the "gorgeous math" of Michael Brough's 868-HACK. On his blog Macrotransactions, Adrian Forest looks at The Golden Rule of tabletop games in contrast to Arkane's Dishonored and wonders why would you set up a system with a particular ideal outcome when the bulk of the tools provided favor another? Finally, on Polyneux, Sven Keil conducts an "interview" with the protagonist of Papers, Please, Viktor Goboran. (German) (Still) Going Home On Psychology of Games, Jamie Madigan puts a finer point on the concept of "immersion," with an illustration of how Fullbright's Gone Home induces spatial presence. Meanwhile, on PopMatters Moving Pixels, G. Christopher Williams muses on where all the game's mirrors have gone. Ludic Century Faux On Kotaku, Eric Zimmerman has printed his "Manifesto for a Ludic Century" from his upcoming book The Gameful World. It's drawn a few responses, to say the least. Heather Chaplin curated a collection of responses to Zimmerman's manifesto from Frank Lantz, Leigh Alexander, Ian Bogost, and Tracy Fullerton. And on Gaming Vulture, Ethan Gach opens his response with a pointed retort: "Shouldn't I be playing the Manifesto for a Ludic Century?" Thanks for reading! Please consider submitting your own links for consideration by Twitter mention and our email submissions form. You should consider submitting to Blogs of the Round Table too! See you next week!

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