Games criticism

What’s the role of the critic when there’s no money left to fund art?: “It’s a bitter truth — at least for people like me — that the need for critics will always be reconsidered after an economic crash.”

Eulogy for the last honest man in the games industry: “Depending on where you stand on Peter Molyneux, February 2015 will be remembered as the month when either the devil or angel on his shoulder finally told the game developer to stop speaking to the press.”

Patreon and the changing role of criticism: “Today in an era of economic upheaval and website closures, low income writers and no income writers, Patreon may be the very best alternative for the struggling journalist to carve out their career among the white noise of competition.”


On eSports and authenticity: “In the face of Riot’s attempts to bring a similar level of legitimacy to its eSport, there is still a question of whether digital competitions carry the same significance as physical sport?”

Where are the women in eSports?: “While often blamed on sexism in the pro-gaming community, the low numbers of professional gaming women is in part a result of marketing strategies aimed to encourage a much more specific demographic.”

Gender segregation in leagues: A couple things we can learn from chess leagues: “While female-only leagues can help foster these smaller community, the question remains whether they can help solve a fundamental issue of integrating women back into the main community.”


AI storytelling engines – an interview with the Hearthstone dev who created stories that tell themselves: “Instead of authoring a single story, designers author a ‘story economy,’ the behind-the-scenes system of generating stories. What does this mean? Storybricks uses procedural content generation to automatically create branches where they are needed by using what the team refer to as an ‘AI Director.'”

The future of game narratives will be designed with Scorsese algorithms: Reporting from the BAFTA Games keynote of Quantic Dream studio head David Cage in London.

How Games tell stories: “Do we, as gamers, limit ourselves by comparing games to the stories and structure of films and novels, by wanting a game equivalent of War & Peace or Citizen Kane? Are video games even storytelling systems in the same sense as novels or cinema? Can a story exist that’s told in different way to the three-act, narrated structure of books and films?”


Stories Untold – Eurogamer: “Nostalgia can soothe the homesick, but ultimately you can’t go home again. Where Stories Untold is at least partly a genuflection at the altar of old stuff, it touches on another idea: the way nostalgia distorts reality, and how it can be used to hide reality from yourself.”

The Secret World – Polygon: “The Secret World is Funcom’s rumination on what it would be like if MMO development was taken over by Neil Gaiman. As with the studio’s 2001 release Anarchy Online, Funcom has slipped hemlock into the cup of orthodox design choices.”


Tim Schafer, Broken Age – The Guardian: “I ask Schafer about how becoming a public figure has affected him. ‘I think twice about putting pictures of my home or my family on Twitter,’ he says. ‘There’s a lot more of ‘What if there’s a really hostile person out there?’”

Chris Lye, Guild Wars 2 – Polygon: “For all we know there is a type of game out there that will continue to benefit from a subscription model, I’ve just not heard of it yet.”


One Life Left (Podcast): “We found out what it has been like working at Polygon from the very beginning, what Emily misses from the old days of videogame magazines and how she is going to bring it back. More importantly we ask hard-hitting questions (from our listeners) about Pot Noodles.”

Vice Gaming Podcast: “For this debut episode, we’re focusing on the best video games of 2015, the ones we’ve really loved, and a handful of titles that warrant discussion but perhaps aren’t Actually All That Brilliant.”