Critical Distance: Keywords in Play
Keywords in Play Episode 2: Emilie Reed

Keywords in Play Episode 2: Emilie Reed

May 15, 2020

“Keywords in Play” is a monthly interview series about game research supported by Critical Distance and the Digital Games Research Association. As a joint venture, “Keywords in Play” expands Critical Distance’s commitment to innovative writing and research about games while using a conversational style to bring new and diverse scholarship to a wider audience.

Our goal is to highlight the work of graduate students, early career researchers and scholars from under-represented groups, backgrounds and regions. The primary inspiration comes from sociologist and critic Raymond Williams. In the Preface to his book Keywords: a vocabulary of culture and society, Williams envisaged not a static dictionary but an interactive document, encouraging readers to populate blank pages with their own keywords, notes and amendments. “Keywords in Play” follows Williams in affirming that “The significance is in the selection”, and works towards diversifying the critical terms with which we describe games and game culture.

In this episode we speak to Emilie Reed. Emilie is a recent PhD graduate researching the history of displaying videogames in museums and other arts contexts. Her academic background includes art history, museum studies and creative writing. She is interested in creating exhibitions which highlight overlooked elements of the history and artistic practice behind videogames, and developing more experimental approaches to game criticism. https://emreed.net/

Emilie's paper "Exhibition Strategies for Videogames in Art Institutions: Blank Arcade 2016" is open access: http://todigra.org/index.php/todigra/article/view/91

Please consider supporting Critical Distance at https://www.patreon.com/critdistance

Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed.

Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

Keywords in Play Episode 1

Keywords in Play Episode 1

April 11, 2020

“Keywords in Play” is an interview series about game research supported by Critical Distance and the Digital Games Research Association. As a joint venture, “Keywords in Play” expands Critical Distance’s commitment to innovative writing and research about games while using a conversational style to bring new and diverse scholarship to a wider audience.

Our goal is to highlight the work of graduate students, early career researchers and scholars from under-represented groups, backgrounds and regions. The primary inspiration comes from sociologist and critic Raymond Williams. In the Preface to his book Keywords: a vocabulary of culture and society, Williams envisaged not a static dictionary but an interactive document, encouraging readers to populate blank pages with their own keywords, notes and amendments. “Keywords in Play” follows Williams in affirming that “The significance is in the selection”, and works towards diversifying the critical terms with which we describe games and game culture.

In this episode we speak to Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. Elizabeth is an award-winning designer, writer, artist, and researcher who creates and studies Indigenous-led media such as games and comics. She is Anishinaabe with family from Bay Mills, Métis, and Irish. She is an Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures at Michigan State University and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow

Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed.

Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

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April 18, 2018

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Minisode 16 - Milkmaids and Vikings

Minisode 16 - Milkmaids and Vikings

November 30, 2017

Last minisode of the year for the Critical Distance Confab.

I tried to think of a theme, but really it's just two indie games worthy of some attention and love. Angelina Bonilla aka Red Angel co-hosts with me this month.

We've been able to bring the minisodes back thanks to our listeners' support on Patreon. To help us to add more new features to the site, including foreign-language coverage and videos, please consider supporting us.

In case you don't know, the purpose here is to highlight some games we feel aren't getting the critical attention they deserve for whatever reason. The hope is that one of you intrepid listeners will sort that out by playing and writing about them. The games mentioned will range from itch.io art games, to prestige level indie games, right on up through AAA games that have slipped through the cracks.

Angelina's Pick

Milkmaid of the Milky Way/a> by Mattis Polkestad

Eric's Pick

The Banner Saga by Stoic

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 51 - Red Angel

Episode 51 - Red Angel

November 16, 2017

This month on the Critical Distance Confab, Angelina Bonilla better known as Red Angel was kind enough to come on.

Red Angel started off as a writer for online publications. However, after some time there, she wanted to for a while to turn her efforts to video. Ignorant of the wider YouTube critical community, she just started her channel. She began her Late Night Ponderings series as an extension of the editorials she wrote for Noobfeed and Game Skinny, but they evolved beyond the constraints of editorial mandates and game journalism "style" into something more personable. And instead of focusing on larger titles, she found she had little to add and instead chose to use her time critiquing smaller indie games for the most part. We talk about her writing sounding "like poetry," wanting to bring different perspectives into this sphere, and owls for some reason.

SHOW NOTES

Red Angel YouTube Channel

Late Night Ponderings: Life Is Strange's Ending and Reception

Death and Photography in Life is Strange

Oxenfree The Duality of Grief in Clarissa and ALex

Why I Cover Indie Games

Late Night Ponderings: Similar Sinews

Angelina Bonilla Author's Page - Noobfeed

Angelina Bonilla Author's Page - Game Skinny

Red Angel Patreon

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 15 - Horror Games Mark II

Minisode 15 - Horror Games Mark II

October 31, 2017

I'm not dead, the minisodes are back, back from the dead that is, on the Critical Distance Confab.

In the spirit of October, we bring you another minisode installment on horror games. Co-hosting with me this month is my podcast associate from PopMatters, Nick Dinicola.

In case you don't know, the purpose here is to highlight some games we feel aren't getting the critical attention they deserve for whatever reason. The hope is that one of you intrepid listeners will sort that out by playing and writing about them. The games mentioned will range from itch.io art games, to prestige level indie games, right on up through AAA games that have slipped through the cracks.

We've been able to bring the minisodes back thanks to our listeners' support on Patreon. To help us to add more new features to the site, including foreign-language coverage and videos, please consider supporting us.

Nick's Pick

Downfall by Harvester Games

Eric's Pick

Stories Untold by No Code

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 50 - PostMesmeric

Episode 50 - PostMesmeric

October 19, 2017

This month on the Critical Distance Confab we welcome Alex Carlson from the YouTube channel PostMesmeric.

Alex Carlson is a relative newbie to the world of YouTube video game criticism. He had some experience with written criticism, most notably on Hardcore Gaming 101, but transferred over when he was introduced to the idea that YouTube could be used for more than simple entertainment. His channel is a hidden gem, which I came upon one day when Youtube's algorithm was feeling particularly kind: toiling away in relative obscurity, perhaps thanks to the capricious nature of this algorithm, he nonetheless continues to put out quality videos. We talk about his style of criticism connecting design to theme, his predilection for critiquing horror games, and his more personal video about how certain games exploit his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

SHOW NOTES

PostMesmeric YouTube Channel

Pyre and Responsibility | PostMesmeric

This Dishwasher: Vampire Smile Analysis - The Art of Control | Postmesmeric

Layers of Fear Analysis - Framing and Perspective | PostMesmeric

Detention Anaylsis - Fear and Reality | PostMesmeric

Evolving Rhythm Gameplay | PostMesmeric

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts - An In-Depth Critique | PostMesmeric

Banjo Kazooie vs. Banjo Tooie - Rare's Metamorphosis |PostMesmeric

Gaming With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder |PostMesmeric

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 49 - Heavy Eyed

Episode 49 - Heavy Eyed

September 21, 2017

This month on the Critical Distance Confab, all the way from New Zealand, is YouTuber Mitch Cramer.

Mitch Cramer, aka HeavyEyed, is a relatively new to the world of YouTube video game criticism. Starting off as a band manager, he moved away from that to put some video production skills to use. He started a channel and steadily plucked away at it until some attention came his way after one video spiked in viewers. We talk about his in depth criticism of the Star Fox games, the local video game development scene in New Zealand and his steady improvement at what he finds the toughest part of making a video, the writing.

SHOW NOTES

HeavyEyed YouTube Channel

Star Fox 64 - Medals & High Scores // HeavyEyed

The Problems With Star Fox //HeavyEyed

Looking At Every Zelda Introduction // HeavyEyedd

Mental Health in Video Games // HeavyEyed

The Language of Video Games // HeavyEyed

Hi-Bit Era - The Future of Pixel Art Games // HeavyEyed

HeavyEyed Patreon

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Minisode 14 - We’re Back

Minisode 14 - We’re Back

August 30, 2017

After a year long hiatus, the minisodes are back on the Critical Distance Confab.

In case you missed them the first time around, the idea behind these minisodes is for myself and a co-host to highlight some games that haven't gotten a lot of criticism or much attention at all. The hope is that one of you intrepid listeners will try one of them out and write about it. The games on the docket range from itch.io art games, to prestige level indie games, right on up to AAA games that have slipped through the cracks.

We've been able to bring the minisodes back thanks to our listeners' support on Patreon. To help us to add more new features to the site, including foreign-language coverage and videos, please consider supporting us.

To keep things shorter and more manageable for our guests, we've changed the format to one game a piece instead of the three games a piece we had previously been doing. Enjoy!

Co-hosting with me this month is our intrepid editor-in-chief, Zoya Street.

Zoya's Pick

Two Dots by Betaworks

Eric's Pick

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows by Witching Hour Studios

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 48 - The Critic and the Dragon

Episode 48 - The Critic and the Dragon

August 16, 2017

Joining me for this month's interview is author of actual books and YouTube critic Joseph Anderson.

Starting from a desire to build up his online presence to attract a book agent, Joseph Anderson decided to create some YouTube videos to release himself of some "petty gripes" he had regarding the Dark Souls vs. Dark Souls 2 debate. He felt that a lot of what Dark Souls 2 was getting knocked on for was present in the original game. From there the channel grew to surpass his original occupation. We talk about the extreme amount of prep work - including multiple playthroughs - he engages in, the roulette-wheel-like luck of algorithms, and the surreality of success.

SHOW NOTES

Joseph Anderson YouTube Channel

Dark Souls Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5

Diablo 3 and Reaper of Souls

Fallout 4 Analysis

Fallout 4 - One Year Later

Dark Souls 3 Critique

Uncharted and The Last of Us - Great and Terrible Games

Joseph Anderson Vs No Man's Sky

The Witness - A Great Game That You Shouldn't Play

Joseph Anderson Amazon Author Page

Joseph Anderson Patreon

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy