Critical Distance: Keywords in Play
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

Episode 47 - A Measured Response: Hbomb

Episode 47 - A Measured Response: Hbomb

July 19, 2017

I managed to snag critic, rhetorician and YouTube vaudevillian Harry Brewis, more commonly known as Hbomberguy for this month's interview.

Mr. Hbomberguy is a bit of an odd duck with regards to YouTube games criticism. He first came to internet prominence through his videos of ridiculing internet dumbasses and that work forms a clear line regarding how he talks about video games. His earlier video game videos we far more conventional, while the videos he made afterwards are far more bizarre, funny and in line with the breaking down arguments and rhetoric displayed in those "measured responses." We also talk about the cultivation of comic personas, the control video allows him over his audience, and the monumental effort that goes into making his videos look like a slapdash production.

SHOW NOTES

Hbomberguy YouTUbe Channel

The Sarkeesian Effect: A Measured Response

Measured Response: Bill Nye VS Pseudosience (Part One)

Fallout 3 Is Garbage, And Here's Why

SHIELD BASH: LORDS OF THE FALLEN REVIEW - Hbomberguy

Why Braid Is Great - Hbomberguy

Bloodborne Is Genius, And Here's Why

What Makes An Action Scene Good?

Perverted Sentimentality: An Analysis of UNDERTALE

SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS

Hbomb Patreon

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 46 - Talking on Games

Episode 46 - Talking on Games

June 29, 2017

Freshly back from E3, YouTuber Hamish Black, the man behind the Writing on Games channel, sat down with me for this month's interview.

Nearly two years ago exactly, Hamish Black took the plunge and began making critical YouTube videos. He began by tying the academic work he learned at university to video games. However, he soon found his formula a little restricting and began stretching beyond his original conception. At the time, he was ignorant of the larger community of in-depth critics and so was alone in building his channel. But as he continued plugging away, he did become aware of many other critics, both YouTube and otherwise, which helped him branch out his own work. In the interview, Hamish Black and I discuss his start and growth along with his search for the balance between academic theory and approachability, the evolving context of games, and resisting the call of Dark Souls as a YouTube hit maker.

SHOW NOTES

Writing on Games YouTube Channel

'Her Story' and the Birth of the Reader

Revisiting Killer 7 or: Art as Technique

Dark Souls Helped Me Cope With Suicidal Depression

Why Blighttown Really Matters (Dark Souls) - Writing on Games

How the Meaning of Vanquish (and Spec Ops: The Line) Changed

The Real Problem With Steam

Music Games and the Joy of Making Mistakes

Writing on GamesCast

Writing on Games Patreon

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 45 - Documentary Delight

Episode 45 - Documentary Delight

May 19, 2017

With this interview, we move away from YouTube for the moment to talk with Philip Jones, the director of the 2015 documentary Gaming in Color.

The documentary started with an intent to focus on the then-new Gaymer X convention. But as the original crew fell away due to lack of funding, Philip Jones and others picked up where they left off and expanded the scope of the film. With a focus on the intersection of the queer and gaming communities, the documentary seeks to answer the question of many outside observers, why is something like Gaymer X necessary? Philip Jones and I also discuss the logistics in putting together a documentary with the crew spread across the US, whether it's still relevant given how fast the community moves in this day and age, and the specific choice behind the positive tone the film puts forth.

SHOW NOTES

Gaming in Color Homepage

Gaming in Color on Steam

Gaming in Color Kickstarter

Philip Jones' Twitter

Gaymer X

Midboss

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 44 - A Cagey Interview

Episode 44 - A Cagey Interview

April 5, 2017

This month I interview YouTuber Kevin John, also known as Cagey.

Cagey is a small time YouTube essayist, a jolly old soul from Scotland. From writing at fan sites he struck out on his own with his own YouTube channel. His output is much shorter than many of the other people we've featured here as he prefers concise arguments. We discuss his worships of the temple of the red pen, ambiguous channel iconography and what he has learned during his time making videos.

SHOW NOTES

Cagey Videos YouTube Channel

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders - Last Stand

"Great Level: Kingdom Under Fire EXTRAS

Game Feel Part 1 (of 2): Controls

Game Feel PArt 2 (of 2): Presentation

Mercenaries and The Deck of 52 - Cagey Videos

X-Men: Legends: Sibling Rivalry

The Magic Maze

Red Barrels are Awesome (And We All Know It)

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 43 - Think, Game, Love

Episode 43 - Think, Game, Love

February 28, 2017

In this episode, I interview the newly crowned Critical Distance 2016 Journalist of the Year, Heather Alexandra.

Each new interviewee seems to bring some new aspect to the video criticism form. Heather Alexandra instead of jumping straight into video essays, began with the longer form of Let's Play, but with a critical bent. From there she continued to evolve her voice down two paths, the more structured video essay we are familiar with, and a more casual conversation format developed from the Let's Play style. We discuss that two pronged approach as well as her freelance work, new job at Kotaku, and speculate on the future of video game commentary.

SHOW NOTES

Heather Alexandra's YouTube Channel

Kotaku's A Critical Look Playlist

"Let's Crit": Far Cry 4

"Let's Crit": Shadow of the Colossus

Let's Remember Skies of Arcadia

Vanquish: Why Ya Gotta Do More Than Just Play Games

ZAM - The Witness Review

A Closer Look At "The Harvester" in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Reviting Red Dead Redepmtion

MGS2 Livestream w. Zolani and Austin!

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Episode 42 - Great Levels, The Best Levels in Gaming

Episode 42 - Great Levels, The Best Levels in Gaming

February 8, 2017

Our first interview of 2017 is with Great Levels in Gaming YouTube producer Max Barnyard.

Like our previous interviewee, Max Barnyard focuses his criticism on specific elements of video games; in this case, the construction and purpose of exemplary level design. video games. But what is a level in a contemporary video games? We discuss that question, along with how he chooses what levels to showcase, his work with Achievement Hunter, and his penchant for puns.

SHOW NOTES

Max Barnyard YouTube Channel

Great Levels in Gaming at Achievement Hunter

Great Levels in Gaming - Episode 1 - Journey

Great Levels in Gaming - Episode 2 - Far Cry 3

Great Levels in Gaming - Episode 5 - Final Fantasy XIII

Great Levels in Gaming - Episode 8 - Halo: Combat Evolved

The Last Cave & The Labyrinth - Cave Story - Great Levels in Gaming

Egoraptor - Sequelitis

Opening Theme: 'Close' by The Alpha Conspiracy

Closing Theme: 'Wishing Never' by The Alpha Conspiracy

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