From Cara Ellison (Embed With, S.EXE), two short pieces: Wordless Reply and Hypercorporeal War Simulator.
In Kentucky Route Zero Act II Shannon asks Conway, "Are we inside or outside?" Shannon's line is a reference to Gaston Bachelard's "The Poetics of Space" written in 1958. Bachelard's "Poetics of Space" is probably the most important book that most game designers have never read; it explicitly connects architecture to how people will experience it, rather than the trend in 1958, which was to treat architecture like spectacle. Bluntly speaking, Bachelard said back in 1958 that games are not just graphics. They are architecture that create an experience. He would have made an excellent level designer.
Embedded with London Cara Ellison writes about some of the game developers (like George Buckenham, Alice O'Connor, Ed Key) involved with the Wild Rumpus, an indie game nightime event. This is a part of her ongoing independent embedded videogame reporting.
Stephen Lavelle AKA Increpare (mentioned previously, previously, and previously) has recently released some new games recently, as mentioned by Liz Ryerson (also previously). Many of them create vibrant, emotional, affecting environments. The club like dream/nightmare that is Slave of God is written about by Cara Ellison of Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
As the conversation about the state of games criticism continues, there is a site that acts as a platform for some of the best writing in the field by theorists, critics, and independent developers: Nightmare Mode dot net. [more inside]