From a History of Mobile Games to a New Way to Let's Play

From a History of Mobile Games to a New Way to Let's Play

Hello, Escapist readers! As part of our partnership with curation website Critical Distance, we'll be bringing you a weekly digest of the coolest games criticism, analysis and commentary from around the web. Let's hit it!

There is a growing trend of "Critical Let's Plays" popping up on Youtube, which take the popular format and give it a more analytical spin. This week, let's take a look at a few of them.

First up, Killing is Harmless author Brendan Keogh has been looking at the first Modern Warfare title, showing us how the old blockbuster is more interesting than it seems on first glance.

Next, Jody Macgregor has a critical Let's Play series of the first Thief, and Noah Caldwell-Gervais looks at the Mass Effect series. Finally, on Twitch, Stuart Arias has a critical series of System Shock 2 up on Twitch.

All of these are well worth a watch! You can check out the first video of Keogh's Modern Warfare critique up above.

Lastly, for those interested in some long-form criticism, Dreamcast Worlds scholar Zoya Street is currently crowdfunding a book on the history of mobile games. This is a worthy subject of study and it's one that doesn't get near enough attention. If you're interested in a taste of what Street's book will be like, check out his recent article on the old Nokia 3210 brick phones on Medium.

Want more? Be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!



In years to come the rise of the mobile phone to ubiquity, even faster and more widespread than that of the personal computer in the developing world, may come to be one of defining cultural features of the early 21st century. So a book looking back on it from recent memory is very much a great idea whilst all of this is still fresh in our minds.

And yes the longer we get away from the 3210 or 3310 the more iconic it really does seem. I really do think it could end up as one of those all time 'design classics' like Eames chairs, the Telecaster or the classic coca-cola bottle. You could also make that argument for the i-phone. Although it was by no means first it did really kick off the "1-3 buttons, all screen' kind of 'blank slab' design in phones that has become this standard now much like the 3210 launched an age of sleeker, customizable covered phones.


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