This Week I Read – A peaceful, angry year

Hello there and welcome. This is where I share with you a bunch of articles, comics, games, podcasts – anything about videogames that I read over the past week and think you might also enjoy, with the goal of helping the flow of discourse and spreading the word on these authors and their works. Although it’s not limited to articles that were written within the past week (or fortnight), this week happens to focus on things made around and since Christmas–since I haven’t updated in those few weeks, there’s a fair bit to account for. Usually I’d share some great free indie titles but somehow I barely played anything over the holidays so today I’m empty handed in that regard.

Most of the following naturally group into new year traditions and reminiscing, community hostility and bullying, some words and referrals on Patreon, and a small amount of scattered games criticism. There were a hell of a lot of Game of the Year pieces so I’ve decided against listing them as a general principle, otherwise I’d be here all day. If you feel I missed out on a really good piece of criticism or if you’d like to help me find articles worth including in the future, you can find me on Twitter @ByronicM.

Links and articles that contain minor spoilers (minor narrative beats or gameplay segments, etc.) will be marked with a *. Those with major spoilers (major plot twists or story beats) will be marked with a **.

The folks at Critical Distance compiled a mega list serving as a snapshot of games criticism during 2013. Check out Eric Swain’s post on The Game Critique for disclosure and commentry on the methodology they used.

On Split Screen, Alan Williamson and Craig Wilson talked about some noteworthy 2013 games.

Porpentine’s GOTY list for Rock, Paper, Shotgun is well worth your eyes, it shares love for games that almost no-one else is talking about.

While I’m at it, my own GOTY list is composed entirely of free indie games and you could be playing them right now. So please do that.

Mattie Brice shared some of her learning moments from the passing year, as did Cara Ellison, as did Aevee Bee. I think I prefer these to strict GOTY lists as they promise more insight and reflection on the year as something we lived through, rather than a period of product consumption.

On Sufficently Human, Lana Polansky wrote about the cultural positioning of GOTY pieces and the shift we’re hopefully seeing.

Brianna Wuin, for The Magazine, discussed the bias that comes with a male-dominated space acting as if to decide the most important games year after year.

On Gameranx, I wrote a little bit about a few silly myths that in part characterized games culture in 2013.

Over in Geek Empire, Zoya Street collected some lose threads on the topic of bullying and hostility to reflect on horizontal toxicity and peer bullying in the community of late.

Mattie Brice shared her own feelings on the matter of hostility, emphasising anger coming from structural hostility in the vertical direction, with reference to Ben Kuchera recently landing a high position at Polygon.

Katherine Cross wrote something on niceness (as opposed to civility) and rage that ties into this nicely.

Returning to Sufficently Human, Lana Polansky beautifully articulated the anxiety and loathing propagated by this culture

Nathan Gould put together a pretty interesting community post for Destructoid on mythology in Dark Souls.

I don’t normally go for these type of bio stories but Simon Parkin’s piece for Kotaku on Chris Crawford, founder of GDC, is worth a read.

Mat Jones shared some stories from State of Decay on Oh No! Videogames!

From way back in February, Brendan Keogh wrote for Unwinnable on how Antichamber and Where Is My Heart? describe player interaction to be more than inputting commands.

And tooting my own horn again, I articulated my feelings on the news of sexual violence in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, with reference to Law and Order: SVU as a good structural example.

Brendan Keogh wrote a thing for The Conversation on Patreon as a crowdfunding service for creators in videogame spaces.

On the same subject, Mattie Brice is compiling a list of Patreon pages for a load of videogame people.

You might remember a few weeks ago I linked Zoya Street’s game critic conference project. It’s now known as Critical Proximity and it will be taking place in San Francisco the Sunday before GDC.

A little bit of self-promotion now: I set up a Patreon page for myself, because it’s very hard to get any money out of doing the stuff I enjoy doing. If you value my writing and would like to support me with your patronage, please pop on over and consider chucking a few bob my way.

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