Hello, Escapist readers! As part of The Escapist's ongoing partnership with curation website Critical Distance, we bring you another weekly digest of the most notable games criticism, analysis and commentary from around the web. Check it out!
Let's start by picking up where we left off last week and plunge right back into Gamergate. Writing for Time, veteran game journalist and culture critic Leigh Alexander says that loosely-defined movement represents the traditional gaming audience lashing out at a culture that has expanded beyond them:
There's something for everyone in the modern gaming landscape, and the way games journalists parse all this for their readers is beginning to change, too. You'd think this would make people happy, but recently this culture shift would appear to have broken out into full-on culture war online.
[...] Some [...] admit they're afraid that "social justice warriors" will ruin video games.
Tobold Stoutfoot, on the other hand, interprets the shrinking influence of "core gamers" as the result of economic forces:
Games like they used to be have a problem in today's market. Many of the core themes are not acceptable to a wider audience. It isn't just as Anita Sarkeesian complains how women are shown as victims in the background decoration of games like Hitman. It is that games like Hitman which are exclusively about violence aren't as appealing to a wider market than they were to the old core audience.
Stoutfoot is a self-styled moderate in this discussion and his other essays on this topic may be of interest to readers who are looking for a different but measured perspective on the campaign.
Moving on to other topics...
File this one under unusual: at Game Bias, Jed Pressgrove praises Haruneko's Amazing Princess Sarah for using its new game plus "nudity" difficulty as a way to mechanically change how the game is played, even if he seems to be shaking his head in his palms over the game's marketing, "Interestingly," he writes, "Haruneko makes wet dreams into more than a marketing ploy."
Meanwhile, at Outside Your Heaven, Matthew Weise thinks cutscenes deserve credit for their cinematic uses, not derision as distractions from play:
Tricks [in cutscenes] only work because cinematic cut-scenes make the domains of player and designer so painfully clear. It helps the player understand *exactly* what part of the story belongs to them and what part belongs to the storyteller. It helps them understand things like identity and abstraction.
Finally, we're in the last couple days of StoryBundle's videogame ebook sale, so if you're interested in some quality long-reads from a wide variety of perspectives, this isn't a chance you should pass up. If you need a sample, over on The Border House the seasoned Zoya Street has posted an excerpt from his book Delay, which is included in the bundle.
Want more? Be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!