[We're partnering with game criticism site Critical Distance to present some of the week's most inspiring writing about the art and design of video games from commentators worldwide. This week, Ben Abraham checks out design and thematic discussions featuring Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 4, plus Heavy Rain and a Valve/Marvel comparison.]

Well, I’m back from my Game Developers Conference 2010 sojourn in San Francisco -- so let's see what the critical games blogosphere have been writing about this week.

Alec Meer writes about playing games as a lefty in ‘Southpaw Tales’. A left handed friend of mine once surprised me by, gasp, actually using his left hand on the mouse, and it was somewhat of a revelation at the time. Those of us relatively un-impacted by the right-ist hegemony would do well to pay attention to Meer’s tale.

Elsewhere, Annie Wright at Gamer Melodico writes about ‘The Zelda Method Revisited’ -- which is essentially applying a game-like imaginary goal structure to your day.

James Dilks at No Added Sugar says that Dante’s Inferno is actually a good example of how to do a game adaption of a literary work, noting: "Settings are the most immediately transferable part of written fiction, and Visceral show that perhaps they’re the most important factor when choosing a title to adapt."

The author of the Interactive Illuminatus blog has words about the Jesse Schell DICE lecture - of course, not the first we've featured in recent weeks. It’s the talk that keeps on talking.

CT Hutt at Press Pause to Reflect says, ‘It’s The War Economy, Stupid’ in a discussion of Metal Gear Solid 4. Hutt comments: “The current military state of play is a very real game of which all of us are a part, whether we want to be or not. The true kicker is that there is no button to press, virus to upload, or final boss to defeat that is going to make the unpleasant facts just go away.”

Also at Press Pause to Reflect, Daniel Bullard-Bates writes ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ which is actually not about the game Beyond Good and Evil but is instead about moral choices.

In other notable game criticism news, Chris Green writes has a response to a short piece I wrote this week about Permadeath’s relative suitability (or lack thereof) for certain games.

At Gamasutra this week, Dan Merrill writes on his Member Blog about ‘The Philosophy of Wind Waker’, and the site's Chris Remo analyzes System Shock 2 for Structure and Spoilers.

Also on the site, David Hayward writes up GDC’s Farmville future, an impression that I also got from the conference. Incidentally, we’re in the middle of collecting and preparing a Critical Compilation of GDC stories and write-ups. If you attended and wrote anything about this year’s GDC please get in touch so we can include it in the piece.

G. Christopher Williams for PopMatters writes about ‘The Elegance of the Shotgun’, commenting wryly: "Taking at least one thing off before going out, the little black dress, the black tie, the shotgun. What do these things have in common? Obviously, their elegance."

Jason McIntosh at The Gameshelf writes about the similarities in market positioning and IP between present-day developer Valve and 1960’s era Marvel Comics. It's a weird connection, I know, but it’s there.

Matthew Kaplan at the Game in Mind blog responds to some link-bait forum post we’re not going to link to here and comes up with an examination of what the hell game studies is actually good for. There's also a great back-and-forth between Simon Ferrari and Kaplan in the comments that illuminates the discussion from the perspective of someone well and truly on the inside of the games studies institution.

Steven O’Dell at the Raptured Reality blog reflects on his time with Heavy Rain in ‘The Origami Collection: Heavy Hitter’.

This week, Lake Desire, blogging for The Border House continues a previous series of posts about “Characters Done Right” in games, this particular post being about ‘Midna the Twilight Princess’.

Michael Abbott writes about the GDC panel about character diversity in “What Color Is Your Hero?”. This was a panel I also attended and got a lot out of. Highly recommended reading for any and everyone involved however tangentially in the games industry – this is an issue that has the potential to either doom or super-charge the games industry in the coming decade. To paraphrase Manveer Heir’s comments from the panel, “If the games industry is at the same place it is today in ten years time, we’re fucked.”

You’ll have to forgive me as I was at GDC so I missed this last week, but Quintin Smith has an excellent discussion about the worth in studying Tim Rogers’ games writing and his strange (and oft criticized) style.

Finally, on the Games Aren’t Numbers blog John Jackson says ‘Don’t blame me – blame society’ looking at the old standby issue of games acceptance as a cultural form: "The fact that so many games are expected to be forgotten after a couple of years makes them tend towards being forgettable. But plenty of perfectly good valid games exist. Society is what needs to catch up and accept them."