The_Critical_Is Roundup

On The_Critical_Is


“Of recent, I’ve been fascinated with game consoles. Not, as one would imagine, in a comparative manner, where I debate the merits and follies of the PS4 and the Xbox One (PS4 all the way, baby!) Rather, I’ve been fascinated with game console as an idea, as a space of liminality. How do we think of the console as a critical tool, a piece of technology that enacts certain social spaces and ideas?”


“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 towards” but rather actively resorting to violent threats, against Anita Sarkeesian since she posted the most recent video in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series, against female developers and critics guilty of no crimes save daring to exist, let alone work in the games industry—but the sound has turned to noise.”


Assassin’s Creed is a complex game series. It blurs the lines between where the human player ends and where the assassin memory begins, with a digital human player somewhere in the middle of the two. It traces major events in world history, from the Crusades to the American Revolution to Transatlantic enslavement and most recently, the French Revolution. It has incredible graphics, awesome music, and an immersive gaming experience even as we play in third person. It is no secret, however, that the ACfranchise is primarily concerned with, well, assassinating.”


“As a kid, did you ever walk out of the theater after seeing a movie so good that you wished it were real? And more importantly, did you pretend to be the hero or heroine who saves the world from evil (or in my case, pretend to be the giant lizard that breathes fire and destroys cities)? I’ll call that imaginative/role playing, but whatever the name is, it was fun to pretend to be someone else as a kid. It still is for me and for many others I’m sure.”

In the Gaming World

Destiny Happened
Arguably the most highly anticipated game of 2014, Destiny has been selling like crazy since its September 9th release date. Despite the gaudy numbers however, the reviews have been less than stellar, with at least one critic saying the game is a fun, beautiful shooter, but fails to impress because its many different elements don’t cohere. On top of that, numerous players have been frustrated with the amount of bugs in the game and the lack of support provided by Bungie. Where’s Master Chief when you need him?




peter griffin, no girls allowedWe’ve (still) got a bit of a problem in the gaming community. And contrary to what one particular blogger says, it’s not “Lying, Greedy, Promiscuous Feminist Bullies.” While the initial wave of big media coverage may have died down, the #gamergate controversy is still raging online. Long-standing issues of sexism in the gaming world came to a head early in September when a post by her ex-boyfriend circulated that accused game developer Zoe Quinn of exchanging sexual favors for positive publicity for her games. From that, we have sections of the gaming community that believe some women and the media are corrupting the culture. Others say that it’s the traditional, socially narrow-minded mentality of the community itself that is corrupting. ​For an in-depth discussion on the problems around the controversy, read Tadhg Kelly’s two Tech Crunch articles, The #Gamergate Question and The #Gamergate Answer.  


BREAKING: Still No Female Assassins in AC Unity

Ubisoft recently released a new trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Unity and it reminds us of a few things- 1) Four player co-op continues to be a point of emphasis for the upcoming game. Exciting times. 2) As Lydia Sung mentions in the previous link, with all these bros running around revolutionary France, we’re reminded of the disappointing lack of female assassins in the AC universe as well as the troubling, eye-roll-inducing reason for why this is so.


All Sorts of Nostalgia and I-want Feels Converging

Pokemon + Tekken = Pokken Tournament. The makers of Pokemon and Namco have announced that the arcade brawler Pokken Tournament will be released sometime next year in Japan. Here’s hoping it makes its way state-side.

Virtual Goat of the Week


Like most of us at The_Critical_Is, you’ve probably been annoyed with the lack of games featuring goats available on iOS and Android devices. Well, dry those angry tears and pull out your phone because your wish has been granted with Goat Simulator. As of September 18th, you can buy the app for $4.99 and cause glitchy-goat-fueled mayhem on the go, courtesy of Swedish gaming company Coffee Stain Studios. Enjoy.

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