The best games writing from around the web.
The Weekly is your round-up of all the best in games writing and related spaces. Reviews, news, features, and more await you each week as the curators of Good Games Writing scour the Internet for the best of the best. Some themes are for older audiences.
Here in Canada it’s our (admittedly) early Thanksgiving. In the year that has been 2020 it’s easy to lose sight of the things we have to be thankful for: Indeed, for many of us, 2020 has been a year of profound loss, and no amount of gratitude will bring back those we’ve lost. We are grateful for those risking their lives battling this virus each and every day; we’re grateful for those actively pushing for a more equitable and just society, those on the streets advancing racial equality; we’re grateful for those who grow our food, those who ship it, sell it, prepare it, and deliver it; we’re grateful to every person making sacrifices to protect themselves and their communities. We raise our glasses to each of you. -Team GGW
In this, the spookiest of months, the collections of horror and horror-adjacent writing warrant their own distinct section. Elijah Beahm takes a “second look” at Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and finds “a bold reimagining of the first game” that features intentional disconnects from the source material. The notion of horror that doesn’t always equate to guns blazing is certainly part of the franchise’s appeal and its ability to create atmosphere a perennial strength.
At Bullet Points, Dani Maddox interrogates the meaning of the survival horror genre, probing its various tropes, for better and worse. It’s an interesting meditation on the genre and, specifically, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, with a wonderful through line. Read this one.
Marginalia isn’t strictly horror but it is the inspiration for this traditional review turned essay at No Escape. The blended conventions of retelling enough to engage without giving the narrative away is a fine line to walk in such a game but it’s masterfully executed here.
If this section was missing a bit of body horror/gore for your tastes we’ve got that covered too. At Polygon, Maddy Myers interviews Wright Bagwell, the director of Dead Space 2, about the game’s famous, erm, eye surgery scene. It’s a lot. *breathes into paper bag*
A few other interviews caught our attention this week as well with two of them speaking about games that are a few years old. At Nintendo Life there’s a breezy retrospective on the making of Star Fox Command with some of the key players who made the game; sadly, this isn’t confirmation of a new Star Fox (sorry) but fans of the plucky DS release will enjoy this.
The art team behind Ori and the Will of the Wisps joined Cian Maher to discuss the art they do (and don’t) reference, the external pressures, and an enticing tidbit relating to a cut scene that fans of Ori should latch on to and let their imaginations soar.
At Bloomberg, they find folks who trade the stalk market for the stock market, to perfectly acceptable results. It’s a general interest piece wrapped in the novelty of the latest hotness (from six months ago) but these kinds of pieces serve as potential introductions to new and lapsed gamers–we’ll give it points for that! Now, about those Plug Power shares…
Our Read of the Week is this sprawling, comprehensive, and damning piece about the culture at Twitch. From policing women’s looks, to ignoring harassment of women, to executive pushback that goes nowhere, to taking racism as ‘edgy’, this has it all. Trigger warnings for “sexual assault, verbal and physical abuse, harassment, and suicide.“
“Once somebody grabbed my ass, and yeah that’s inappropriate and shocking but by this point at Twitch, there was just this sense that… There’s this whole thing with Silicon Valley that this lack of maturity and professionalism that is acceptable,” she said. “And it’s almost like if you don’t participate in it, if you don’t go to the Twitch party and party all night and do crazy things, then you’re not really a part of the organization.”
Odds & Ends
It’s hard following up that last piece which is the most consequential part of this week’s round-up. There are a few other pieces we want to highlight, however, and they’re here for you if you need a palette cleanser or want to avoid the above article altogether.
This review of Mafia: Definitive Edition is both scathing and informative. That it’s emblematic of a genre that has changed immensely in the decades following its original release makes it feel instantly antiquated; a relic of a bygone era in much the same way we ascribe the mafia-infused decades past.
Finally, a pair of lists for what we suspect are intended for two different audiences, though, as it turns out, in which we overlap. There’s this list that takes on the fool’s errand of ranking every Warhammer 40K game ever released in what we can safely call the “definitive” such list.
Then there’s this whimsical list that tells you what your fav Genshin Impact characters say about you. Eerie:
Give it up for the best boy. We love a man who turns down his familial obligations for civic duty, unlike their vigilante brother. Why be Batman when you can be a literal ice-cold heartthrob. There’s no actual ice in your veins, though. The only cool thing in your life is your vision and your super smooth moves. Wink, wonk.
Beahm, Elijah. “Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Is a Horror Remake Done Right” (The Escapist: October 7, 2020) <https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/silent-hill-shattered-memories-is-a-horror-remake-done-right/>.
Hultner, Kaile. “Prometheus Was Right” (No Escape: October 7, 2020) <https://noescapevg.com/prometheus-was-right/>.
Jin, Berber. “How ‘Animal Crossing’ Is Preparing Players to Trade Stocks” (Bloomberg: October 7, 2020) <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-07/stock-market-how-nintendo-game-animal-crossing-prepares-players-to-trade?sref=xuVirdpv>.
Macgregor, Jody. “Every Warhammer 40,000 game, ranked” (PC Gamer: October 4, 2020) <https://www.pcgamer.com/best-warhammer-40k-games/>.
Maddox, Dani. “First-Person Disconnect” (Bullet Points: October 9, 2020) <https://bulletpointsmonthly.com/2020/10/09/first-person-disconnect-amnesia-the-dark-descent>.
Maher, Cian. “Ori And The Will Of The Wisps Interview — Art, Cut Content, And The Pressure Of Making A Sequel” (The Gamer: October 7, 2020) <https://www.thegamer.com/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-art-interview/>.
McCarter, Reid. “Mafia: Definitive Edition Shows the Peril of Unwanted Remakes” (WIRED: October 6, 2020) <https://www.wired.com/story/mafia-definitive-edition-remake-review/>.
McFerran, Damien. “Feature: The Making Of Star Fox Command” (Nintendo Life: October 5, 2020) <https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/10/feature_the_making_of_star_fox_command>.
Myers, Maddie. “Dead Space 2 director on designing the eye-poke scene: ‘I could barely watch it’” (Polygon: October 4, 2020) <https://www.polygon.com/interviews/2020/10/4/21498961/dead-space-2-director-eye-poke-needle-scene-horror-wright-bagwell-interview>.
Sinclair, Brendan. “Twitch staff call the company out on sexual assault, racism, more” (GamesIndustry.biz: October 8, 2020) <https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-10-08-twitch-staff-call-the-company-out-on-sexual-assault-racism-more>.
Strawhun, Aiden. “What Your Favorite Genshin Impact Characters Say About You” (Fanbyte: October 9, 2020) <https://www.fanbyte.com/lists/what-your-favorite-genshin-impact-characters-say-about-you/>.