Trevor’s Favorite Criticism

Here is a space in which I can both archive my favorite pieces of criticism and (hopefully) provide some reading material you might enjoy as well!

(Listed by author’s last name. NOTE: Some articles cited may have been credited using a deadname pulled from the byline depending on the article’s age. If this is the case with any below, please let me know and I will update the citation.)

Heather Alexandra:
Death Stranding: The Kotaku Review – Kotaku, 11/1/19

“That said, Death Stranding is also just as infatuated with the male body. Whether that’s the sensual framing of Mikkelsen smoking a cigarette or the way the camera moves to ensure you’ve seen just enough of Reedus’ naked body during shower scenes, Death Stranding’s bisexual camera is more interested in men than even the torture-laden, blood licking Metal Gear franchise. The difference is ultimately in how lovingly men are framed compared to women, both by the literal camera and also their place in the larger narrative.”

Grace Benfell:
“Dated Visuals Made the Environmentalism of ‘Final Fantasy VII’ Come Alive” – Vice Games

“Its world is interconnected, but not continuous or uninterrupted. Rather it is fractured, suggestive, and strange. We lose sight of ourselves in the coral reefs and power plants. They have hidden corners that neither cameras or players will ever reach. This holistic view reflects a wild world, both threatened and threatening.”

Ruth Cassidy:
The Horrifying Solace of Sunless Skies – Into the Spine, 8/19/20

“The ports where the game saves and you replenish your supplies are no safer than the wilderness of the skies, but instead serve as homes for  opportunities to be curious. Horror in Sunless Skies isn’t something that simply happens to an unaware captain, but something they explore, eyes wide open, because the alternative is not knowing what could have happened.”

Jess Cogswell:
How Persona 5 Royals’ Mature Love Interests Reinforce Toxic Masculinity – Uppercut, 8/1/20

“Like Kamoshida, these women are presented as extremely attractive, but unlike Kamoshida, their perceived lack of agency allows us to distance ourselves from viewing them as predators and merely take in their attractiveness- they are not predators, they are prizes. Furthermore, the game prevents us from seeing their behavior as repulsive because, once again, we are a man. Men are expected to want, especially from attractive women. If they don’t—if they are to wait, question, or resist—society tends to perceive this as a failing of the man. Men are actors– so act.”

Dante Douglas:
“The Three Modes of Male Sexuality in Videogames” – Paste, 4/7/16

“When the masculine is coded as being in opposition to femininity, male characters that are coded as “sexy” often do so by performing femininity (in some fashion). Traditionally-coded “sexy” male characters are “sexy” via their vanity, their attention to personal attire, etc. In this way, their status of being “sexy” is founded on their ability to perform as an object of sexual desire (this is also often queercoded and/or played as a joke).”

W.C. Hoag:
Geese are Scarier than Monsters – Unwinnable, 9/15/20

“Yes, Carrion provides its own sort of power fantasy – players control the ever-evolving blob and decimate legions of government employees – yet that power is tinged with desperation. The blob’s ultimate goal is carnage and freedom, but the goose provides a more grounded power trip that is rarely found in gaming or anywhere else. Untitled Goose Game’s primary objective is havoc; it grants players the ability to be unabashedly, unrelentingly petty while hiding behind the adorable guise of an evil, evil goose.”

Dia Lacina:
It Takes More Than a ‘Tolerance’ Mechanic to Make an Anti-Colonial RPG – Vice Games, 11/13/17

“We’re all taught the lies of colonial powers from day one. “The Indians lost because whites are superior.” Indigenous people at best are seen as wards (in many cases, we legally are). We’re to be protected, but corralled. Only given what little our invaders deem okay, we’re expected to smile when our stories are told for us by outsiders.”

Last Updated: 8/19/20

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