Opened World: With Strangers

Critics often praise the ping system of Apex Legends for its utilitarian purposes of easing communication, which it undoubtedly deserves, but more than that, it also creates an affective bond between players that often goes unremarked in such critical conversations. Context-specific tags allow players to mark enemy locations, alert one another to valuable loot, call dibs on … Continue reading Opened World: With Strangers

Opened World: The Flâneuse in Flight

At the heart of Gravity Rush, however, lies an inherent critique of governmental failures to maintain infrastructures to the detriment of the public good. Flying around Hekseville, Kat quickly encounters the downed bridges, broken elevators, and faulty transport systems in need of repair, shattering initial impressions of the city as a glorious steampunk utopia. While Kat … Continue reading Opened World: The Flâneuse in Flight

Opened World: The Act of Looking

The Tearoom is precisely concerned with how institutions define homosexuality as deviant through surveillance practices, reflecting the central role of sexuality in establishing certain social norms to the detriment of entire groups of people. The game takes a page from the controversial 1970 sociological report Tearoom Trade by Laud Humphreys, in which the author analyzes the behavior and … Continue reading Opened World: The Act of Looking

Opened World: Standing Still

Night in the Woods filters the world through the perspective of the naïve Mae as a way to carefully unravel and critique nostalgia and the privilege that accompanies it, steadily undercutting its own autumnal aesthetic of warm, homespun imagery as concealing the underlying hurt that the protagonist fails to see clearly. The very notion of a … Continue reading Opened World: Standing Still