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This Week in Video Game Criticism: From Hotline Miami to soft transgression

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Eric Swain on topics including Hotline Miami's masculinity and the "soft transgressions" of Gone Home.
This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Eric Swain on topics including Hotline Miami's depiction of masculinity and the "soft transgressions" of Gone Home. Gone Home and Papers, Please Because two great tastes go together. Kate Craig, artist for The Fullbright Company wrote a post on the company blog explaining some of the subtle symbolism with flowers used in the game. Jorge Albor talks about the concept and realization of family in Gone Home over at PopMatters. Claire Hoskings wrote for Polygon the six lessons for creating believable female characters using Gone Home to highlight each point. At Ontological Geek, Matt Schanuel calls Gone Home the act of soft transgressions. And Oscar Strik sees both Papers, Please and Gone Home as games about stories the recognition we should pay more attention to those of others. Stephen Winson at his blog The Good, the Bad and the Awesome, sees Papers, Please main flaw is that it sets it in the communist bloc as if that were the only government to slide into a bureaucratic state. Masculinity Maddy Myers of Paste questions her reading of Hotline Miami has a satire of masculinity given its sequel’s start and satire in games as a whole and the relevance and necessity of authorial intent for it to be there. She mentions The Castle Doctrine as part of that. Jason Rohrer explains his choices regarding families with mechanical value as it relates to the player’s behavior regarding them and how changes to the family changed player behavior. Journalism Laura Kate says that she is not a Journalist, because the relationship between writer and subject isn’t the same in the games press. Jeff Kunzler, someone who actually works in advertising, has a few things to say about Adblock and their recent move into advertising. He’s positive on the whole thing. And Robert Rath in his Critical Intel column at the Escapist goes step by step over the mainstream news media’s incompetence and harmful reporting regarding a tragedy with an 8-year old, his grandmother and a video game that was mentioned only into get attention. Unwinnable Edward Smith says to stop and smell the roses as video games never seem to let you have those moments to actually absorb what is going on. Nick Robinson says sleep is boring, but video game all nighters are interesting. Nick Michal seems to go a little off the deep end into the surreal. How did the hero get here? Is this a beginning or an ending? Assorted Close Readings At PopMatters, Mark Filipowich takes his turn on the Final Fantasy is dead debate, saying the series isn’t dead, it isn’t even unwell, but rather healthy because it is still with us in all its incarnations. G. Christopher Williams, meanwhile, looks at the current state of the MMO and laments it fails to offer the same incentive towards friendship as it once did. Jonas Jurgens at Thunderbolt Games played The Sims 3 and was bored out of his mind as he desperately searched for substance. Caitlin Oram looks at I Am Alive and its portrayal of the apocalypse and notes that the greater danger is with other humans not monsters. Aggrodrago, real name unknown, looks at the effectiveness of a simple camera control change towards teaching the most important lesson in the beginning of The Last of Us. Paw Dugan does a quick overview of the music in Persona 3 and how it ties the game’s story together. And Edge looks at The Making of: The Last Express. Culture Dan Solberg wrote a profile for Kill Screen on the Marina Abramovic Institute and game creator Pippin Barr’s part in it. Ethan Levy defends himself on Kotaku against being called a cancer on the industry to explain a few things to people. Reid McCarter at Digital Love Child says that playing the classics isn’t always easy, but it can be valuable to struggle through the dry material because the experience can be worthwhile. Joe Webb of Ludic Poop, talks about the elitism of the “pure gaze” that arises in every medium to propagate the notion the form is more important than its connection to the real world and how such a stance by the hardcore is used to alienate bros as well as content critics. Thank you for visiting. We take recommendations every week via both email and twitter.

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