March Roundtable: Time Travel

March Roundtable: Time Travel

Time, like most things, is a construct. But never have we been more aware of that fact than in 2022, which is simultaneously three years ago and six years from now. In light of occupying a strange, shifting period, this month we’re talking about time travel in games! What games do it well? What games do it poorly? And what can we learn from its inclusion? (more…)

February Roundtable: Companions

February Roundtable: Companions

It’s February, the month of ~love~, but love is broad and you know we love to interpret words loosely around here. So, we’re talking companions! What makes them fun? What makes them annoying? Why did 2000s Bioware only know how to write one human sci-fi man? Let’s find out together.

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LoreQuest: Four Books You’ll Love If You Love Mass Effect

LoreQuest: Four Books You’ll Love If You Love Mass Effect

Oh, Mass Effect, my problematic love.

As an entirely new audience discovers the joy of the original trilogy via the Legendary Edition, I’ve been thinking about what drew me back to the series again and again. Sometimes when we talk about this series, it’s easier to focus on what we don’t love about it. As Kael’s Diary of a Hardline Shep points out, Commander Shepherd’s “extrajudicial space cop” status sure hits different in this decade. It’s worth thinking critically about why even Shepherd’s diplomatic duties typically involve guns. It’s certainly worth thinking critically about how (and why??) sexual dimorphism in aliens is represented—not to mention human and alien sexuality, and the mysteriously limited romantic options for a gay male Shepherd. And as Zainabb said in last August’s roundtable, the pleasure of exploring the discoverable universe is interwound with the pleasure of controlling and/or colonizing it: the space cantinas are Shepherd’s to raid, the space crates are Shepherd’s to loot, and the Krogan coming-of-age ceremony is simply waiting for Shepherd to crash. (more…)

December Roundtable: Gift Giving in Games

December Roundtable: Gift Giving in Games

No matter what, if anything, you celebrate this time of year, there’s just something nice about gift giving. We may give or receive games as gifts (and what greater joy is there than the gift of playing a game together?), but today, we’re talking about gifts in games. Who’s good at it? Who’s bad at it? Is gift giving as intrinsic to romantic relationships as games would have us believe? Let’s find out.

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November Roundtable: Food and Cooking in Games

November Roundtable: Food and Cooking in Games

We’re getting into hibernating season up here in the Northern Hemisphere, which means it’s time for feasting. The crops are ready for harvesting. The cornucopia is assembled. What are we eating (in games)?

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