The best writing from around the web.
Good Games Writing Weekly is a round-up of the best writing on games and related fields from around the web. Some themes may be for older audiences.
We are saddened and shocked to hear of allegations of abuse and harassment from Ginny Woo, a writer we’ve promoted as part of Good Games Writing multiple times, and as recently as May 30th, and are committed to using our voice to ensure such abusers are not given a platform to grow and expand their audience. We are removing any and all references to Ginny’s work from our sites and will not give this person, or any other abuser we’re aware of, the platform to grow their legitimacy and prey on others.
This week marks two important holidays. In the United States, it was Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery and signifying a true independence, while in Canada, we have National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrating the culture, tradition, and contributions of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples. We’d also like to acknowledge that it is Father’s Day, as well, in a week that seemed to touch on many of the themes of these holidays and traditions.
For Kotaku, Ash Parrish writes about the games that resonate (and don’t) as the author reflects on Juneteenth. It goes beyond killing klansmen and tearing down society, though these are themes that run throughout, and into moments (only moments) that seem to recognize and see Black peoples.
Jordan Minor, meanwhile, reminds us that the idea–the fabric of #BlackLivesMatter–can’t just be something momentary. It must be permanent. “These conversations have already been happening, now they’re just too loud to ignore. ” The conversations he opens include discussions on sports games, Spider-Man, Fortnite, and beyond.
On USGamer, George Yang interviews Asian-American voice actors, discussing the challenges and opportunities in the field.
While it’s important to ensure that the best voice actor receives a certain role, the reality is that opportunities between white voice actors and minority voice actors aren’t equal. Color blind casting is the practice in which factors such as ethnicity, skin color, body shape, sex and gender aren’t considered. Authentic casting is the opposite, where those factors are considered in order to portray a more genuine role.
The discussion moves into the idea of people with different linguistic backgrounds portraying a character that doesn’t match their experience, like a Korean-American portraying a Japanese character. There’s a lot of nuance and a lot of considerations we’d never made in this piece.
It’s a game simultaneously built upon pain while also begging everyone who exists within it to let go. Doing so might be the healthier option, but I’m not ready to release the feelings The Last of Us: Part II has riled within me yet. I want to bottle it up, hold onto it, and keep it for myself. If not forever, at least for now.
Julie Muncy, meanwhile, makes the case that if The Last of Us was a father game, then Part II is a daughter’s game. The description of those genres is immediately interesting and changed our perspective on games like Gears 5 and Dishonored 2, in addition to serving as worthy criticism of the TLOU.
At Bullet Points, pandemics and the pandemic we’re living in go under the microscope, as Yussef Cole writes about Pathologic 2. Turns out he’s less interested in writing about pandemics and plagues than he is about leadership, institutions, and a reckoning on what it means to be human. It’s a wonderful, challenging read.
Former Good Games Writing curator Adam Condra goes back to his old well, arguing that Infinite Warfare is the best of the best when it comes to advancing storytelling conventions in the 8th console generation.
What follows is gut-wrenching. Each character finally reveals who they are, sending messages to their loved ones, talking about what they enjoyed or hated about working on the Retribution, sharing their goals, hopes and dreams with you, with their loved ones, their regrets, their sense of humor, their sadness, their determination, their faith, their specific thoughts in that moment. They hold forth on what’s important to them. They muse on what’s about to happen. They expound on throwaway comments you heard hours earlier as you walked from your office to the armory to start the next mission. In one fell swoop, these people become REAL.
Ben Sledge digs into both the monotony of and excitement of shiny hunting and hatching in Pokemon. It’s a breezy read that should scratch a Pokemon-sized itch. Similarly light but equally informative is Emily Morrow, here on Liftoff!, writing about Animal Crossing represents the beginning of a sea change in streaming games to lead to a cozier, more inclusive atmosphere.
Finally, for an older audience, this piece reminiscing on the best operating system of all time is worth reading, if for no other reason to get a better sense of where the tech running our machines was and where it’s likely going. Plus, the hit of nostalgia is pretty great too.
Cole, Yussef. “Difficult Stress” (Bullet Points: June 15, 2020) <https://bulletpointsmonthly.com/2020/06/15/difficult-stress-pathologic-2>.
Condra, Adam. “Here at the End of Gen 8, Infinite Warfare Is the Only Game That Pushed Interactive Storytelling Forward” (June 17, 2020) <https://www.adamcondra.com/blog/infinite-warfare-pushed-interactive-storytelling-forward>.
Edwards, Benj. ” Remembering Windows 2000, Microsoft’s Forgotten Masterpiece” (HowToGeek: June 13, 2020 ) <https://www.howtogeek.com/676095/remembering-windows-2000-microsofts-forgotten-masterpiece/>.
Minor, Jordan. “Video Games Owe Black Players More Than Just Talk” (PCMag: June 18, 2020) <https://www.pcmag.com/opinions/video-games-owe-black-players-more-than-just-talk>.
Morrow, Emily. “Animal Crossing and the future of ‘cozy’ Twitch streams” (Liftoff!: June 17, 2020) <https://liftoffmag.com/animal-crossing-and-the-future-of-cozy-twitch-streams/>.
Muncy, Julie. “Last of Us Part II Is Great, but Can’t Escape Its Father’s Shadow” (WIRED: June 12, 2020) <https://www.wired.com/story/last-of-us-part-ii-review/>.
Parrish, Ash. “Four Games That Resonate (And One I Hate) As I Celebrate Juneteenth” (Kotaku: June 19, 2020) <https://kotaku.com/four-games-that-resonate-and-one-i-hate-as-i-celebrat-1844089148?rev=1592579979777>.
Shepard, Kenneth. “I Don’t Want to Talk About The Last of Us: Part II ” (Fanbyte: June 12, 2020 ) <https://www.fanbyte.com/reviews/i-dont-want-to-talk-about-the-last-of-us-part-ii/>.
Sledge, Ben. “Take Your Time: Shiny Hunting ” (Into the Spine: June 17, 2020 ) <https://intothespine.com/2020/06/17/take-your-time-shiny-hunting/>.
Yang, George. “Voice Actors From Ghost of Tsushima to Persona 5 On the Challenges Facing Asian-Americans in Games ” (USGamer: June 16, 2020 ) <https://www.usgamer.net/articles/asian-american-voice-actors-in-video-games-authentic-casting-feature>.