Videogame Essays, or VGSA

There’s a lot of great writing about videogames out there. And there’s also a lot of mediocre to bad writing about videogames. The purpose of this site is to think about the differences between to the two and what can be done to improve not just the quality of VG writing but the way VGs are written about. To that end, we will classify and establish a wide range of thematic categories in order to curate and create dynamic essays. Each category will feature as many examples as we can muster. We aim to feature both the best writing from the web as well as strive to be a place where new, exciting writing can find a home.

 

Our categories (so far) are:

  • Provenance – tracing a mechanic or theme across several games and generations in order to understand its histories and think about its futures
  • Genealogy – highlighting the evolution of an IP, character, or franchise across multiple iterations
  • VG Archaeology – digging up the past to discover forgotten genres, ideas, and characters so that overlooked gem, unsung gem can finally find a home
  • Stat Boost – an in-depth look at a games stats, numbers, and tables with analysis of how they effect the game and encourage specific types of play
  • The Game Mechanic – most games aren’t great and most games aren’t terrible, The Game Mechanic is interested in looking at what breaks certain games and how they could be fixed
  • Control, Control – a tight analysis of an idiosyncratic or novel control schemes and how they effect gameplay
  • You, I, & the UI – an in-depth look at menu systems, skill trees, and other underappreciated UI elements that can make a fun game frustrating or a tedious game enjoyable
  • Design Duct Tape – a look at the creative ways games have attempted to pass or overcome common design traps such as runaway winners, trolling losers, and clunky tutorials

 

We will also have some weekly features including:

  • This Week’s Jam: a highlighted track from a VG sound track and brief essay exploring the impact of the song on the level, game, player, or composer
  • A Super Mario World – a close reading, in-depth look at a single Mario world and how it contributes to the overall game, series, and franchise

We will have more to come, but for now, is there anything we missed?

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