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!
First up: at PCGamer, Emanuel Maiberg ventures into the sneaky, sordid, lucrative arms race of game cheats. Naturally, in the name of good journalism, Maiberg takes a turn as a Counter-Strike rage cheater between interviews with Valve and the companies making subscription-based cheating software for its games.
Nintendo's North American PR touched a raw nerve last week when it told the Associated Press it would not be including same-sex marriage into its upcoming life sim/toy Tomodachi Life, implying that to do so would be a "form of social commentary." Of course, including marriage of any kind in a game is a sort of social commentary, as several critics were quick to point out. At Gamasutra, blogs director Christian Nutt offers an even-handed response to the controversy, as a married gay man who has actually played the game. He notes that to treat the game as a 'sim' is a mistake:
Tomodachi Life just isn't intended the same way [as Animal Crossing]. It does not have that possibility space. You can't even exert much control over it. To see it in action it is to immediately understand that.
At the same time, no matter how shallow, we expect our pop culture to reflect reality as it is, not as its producers envision it. Demanding that it does has long been a tool for social change.
Funnily enough, what bothered me was not so much is the omission of same sex marriage, but the enforcement of heterosexual marriage: The idea that whether I wanted it to or not, my Mii -- an image that has represented me since the Wii launched eight years ago -- would marry a woman.
That, in some way, seemed to vacate my identity. Not just that: For a second, it almost seemed like it would eradicate my marriage, much more thoroughly than the impossibility of getting married to a male character would.
Finally, at Eurogamer Graeme Mason walks us through an interesting retrospective on Computer Artworks' 2002 adaptation of John Carpenter's The Thing, which received accolades following its release for its technical innovation. It's nice to get an inside look at the development behind some of the games from years past!
That's all for this week! If you're interested in more great writing, videos and podcasts from this week in games, be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!