Exciting news from down in the bunker: The_Critical_Is has been invited to present a poster at this year’s HASTAC conference at Michigan State University! We’ll be presenting four, short interlocking videos and papers on race, gender, representation, and history in games — particularly in our long-standing obsession, the Assassin’s Creed series. Watch this space for future updates, including the videos themselves, a collection of our essays, and online-only content. And, if you’re in East Lansing, Michigan from May 27th to May 30th, drop by and say hi!
“But, an unpopular question lingers, one that Maxis’s closure calls to mind. Why must we have characters in games at all? Or, more gently put, why have we assumed that the only or primary path to video-game diversity and sophistication lies in its representation of individuals as opposed to systems and circumstances? In truth, we’ve all but abandoned the work… Read more →
Interactive fiction’s revival (if it was ever dead) gives us a new way to think about seeing and being seen in video games. Have you ever played Zork? If you’ve only played one text-based adventure game, it was probably Zork. The 1979 game, built on a PDP–10 mainframe computer by a gaggle of nerds at MIT (he writes, with love)… Read more →
On The_Critical_Is Do You Know What You’re Playing?, by CG “Do you know what you’re playing? A simple enough question you might ask, one that I would normally squint at and hesitantly say “Yes” to as I turn on the console to play whatever game I’m working on. These days, that game is Assassin’s Creed, specifically Liberation, a PSP-Vita turned PS3… Read more →
Editor’s note: We’re trying a new experiment here at The_Critical_Is: guest posts. Today’s guest post is by Amalia Charles, a writer out of Massachusetts. Misogyny and abhorrence of the non-normative in online gaming communities is not a rare occurrence. I am a self-identified female gamer, who has been harassed, mocked, alongside having her sexuality and gender questioned by multitudes of male voices… Read more →
On The_Critical_Is Haunted By Historical Memory, by EA “One of the most haunting parts of this world is the auction block. It is one thing to read about enslaved people being chained together, publicly inspected, and sold to the highest bidder like cattle, and another thing to see it in a movie, but to casually walk past in the world of… Read more →
1. Like the rest of The_Critical_Is, I’ve been spending time with two Assassin’s Creed games: Liberation, a spin-off of Assassin’s Creed: III set in colonial New Orleans, and Freedom Cry, a downloadable series of missions for Assassin’s Creed IV set in Saint-Domingue. Both of these games are my first experiences with the Assassin’s Creed series; I’ve spent the most time with Liberation. As EA wrote last week, Liberation focuses on Aveline… Read more →
It has been a hard couple of weeks (months, years, decades) to play video games. Specifically, to play video games from any cultural position other than that of a straight, white, young, middle-class male. On some level, we know this already, and while I wish I could say that I’ve been surprised by the rampant, unmitigated vitriol, no longer “trending… Read more →