I wanted to share a couple of things that i like a lot, two websites with writing about games and a video channel from a particular person.
The websites are Sufficiently Human and Something in the Direction of Exhibition
The first is just a bunch of writing about alternative games and often great and lengthy articles about uncommon games and perspectives about games and their industry. I really like the writing and it’s of a quality that i rarely see in more popular websites (i often find myself thinking that it’s the kind of quality that would simply not fit in those websites, it’s great to read but also sort of demanding which is perhaps not something you should ask of a bigger audience). You can start with The Videogame and The Oracle, Be the Bob, or Against Flow.
The second is basically the only place i like reading reviews from. The dude reviews all kinds of different games and is always fairly great at explaining complex experiences. Which is something that i’m always looking for when people talk about games that i rarely see, it’s very common to see people express complex feelings about a game or a particular section of it but it’s rare to see that translate into reviews of a game, where the whole thing is taken into consideration and where you can see a fairly full picture of the game in a way that doesn’t reduce its nuances and design inclinations both towards the good and the bad and towards other directions too. It’s the kind of thing Noah Gervais does but in acceptably small chunks and about games of all kinds and often untranslated japanese games which are my personal favorite. Reading about games that exist in a completely different place and weren’t even thought with western players in mind is cool in general. It’s also a place that accepts all kinds of games and never really discriminates against a “kind of game”. You can start with these reviews of Ihatovo Monogatari, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, or Phantasy Star III.
The Youtube channel is one from a writer and critic whose work i have always been very affectionate towards. It’s the channel of Heather Alexandra, who now writes for Kotaku but used to do a ton of cool shit by herself in her channel. I don’t remember when i first learned about it but i’ve followed her videos for a long time now. I remember thinking that these videos were actually demanding, they didn’t just consider presenting complex ideas but she really goes deep into complex ideas and doesn’t just stop at suggesting that there’s a deeper way to think about games. Like the stuff she’s done with Shadow of the Colossus, which i would definitely consider the seminal work about SotC, not because it’s what comes closest to the “truth” of the game as it can be reached by good analysis, but it’s itself a great analysis that works with the game but also becomes a great work by itself, about symbols and the value of imagery and belief. Or the Vanquish: Why Ya Gotta Do More Than Just Play Games!, which is probably the one video that really explains her intentions and opinions about what criticism is and how to make it valid. Unfortunately i think her work on Kotaku, while still great work and very fitting to that website has not provided as many great pieces as the ones she used to make in her own website. Anyway, i recommend starting with the Minicrits and Casual Crits playlists and then watching the other videos.
Hope y’all like this stuff