Critical Intel is off and running. Originally, I’d thought the column would provide an interesting side note with niche appeal, but instead I’m seeing comments from regular readers and getting appreciative messages in my inbox. (That’s always humbling, wonderful, and weird.) It seems CritIntel‘s audience is larger than I anticipated.
Given that, I really want to thank everyone who’s read, commented, tweeted, and shared in support of the column. At the risk of sounding biased, CritIntel readers are my favorite audience on The Escapist. You’re overwhelmingly positive and engaged, and when you disagree with me, that dissent is (with only a few exceptions) well-reasoned and polite. Moreover, you’re all pretty kind to each other even when discussing controversial topics. I think it says a lot that I wrote a column on the Mexican Cartel War the comments didn’t explode into xenophobic tirades. Despite writing about contentious political topics like conflict minerals, drone warfare, gay rights, and BioWare, I haven’t received a single piece of hate mail to date. You guys are amazing.
So here’s to another year of thoughtful analysis and clean comment threads. To celebrate, here’s my favorite columns of 2012:
1) King Washington the Wicked
This column was the essence of why I stared doing Critical Intel – I wanted to bring players smart, detailed analyses of the real-world content in games that include the perspectives of subject experts. I’m still on pins and needles waiting to see if my predictions for The Tyranny of King Washington come to pass.
2) Desperate Housewives of Skyrim
Skyrim is one of my all-time favorite games. That being said, Skyrim‘s stilted social relationships are an endless source of unintentional hilarity. I love writing humor pieces, and I’d like to do more in the future.
3) Killer Robots and Collateral Damage
Articles that post on or near a holiday tend to get a lot less traffic – which is unfortunate, since this piece on the portral of drones in video games was one of the better things I’ve done this year.
4) Conflict Minerals in the Game Industry: A Two-Part Series
Yes, it’s cheating to post two as one. Conflict minerals haven’t gotten a lot of traction in the games media, and it’s a topic I’ve wanted to address for years. I still have a lot of unresolved feelings regarding Part II, since I’m honestly not sure where I stand on what we should do to address the problem. Still, I’m proud that I took it on.
5) Cuddly Pokemon and the Demons That Spawned Them
Confession: I don’t like Pokemon. I’ve never played it because I can’t stand turn-based games. On the other hand, I love Japanese folklore, especially stories of violent spirits and creatures. Originally, this was going to be a two part column, but it dragged so I cut it down to one. There are lots more bizarre spirits that influenced Pokemon, and I highly suggest you check them out if you’re interested.