Listen to Me on NPR

Talk of the Nation segment, "New Video Games Entertain and Educate"

Yesterday I was on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, discussing games about political and social issues. Here’s their blurb: Today’s video games are moving beyond violence and sports. New games provide chances to play middle-east peacemaker or solve problems regarding immigration or food safety. Ian Bogost, creator of these games, discusses why he makes games that go beyond entertainment to… read more

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Video Games Are Better Without Characters

The real legacy of SimCity is its attempt—and failure—to make complex systems the protagonists instead of people.

In the mid-1980s, the easiest way to check out the latest computer games was to go to a bookstore in the mall. Past the John Grisham and the bargain history books in the B. Dalton Bookseller, you’d find Software Etc., a small island of boxes amidst bound volumes, and a few computers on which to play the latest releases. It… read more

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FYI, See Below

The purpose (and the sorrow) of the worst kind of email—the passive-aggressive forward

Email is the worst, but some emails are worse than others. The worst emails are forwards. And the worst forwards? Not the jokes your uncle sends you from his AOL account, but the ones your boss or your coworkers send along from some obscure corner of Administrivistan. Most work emails are purely defensive missives. They seek to shift effort, hide… read more

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What Do We Save When We Save the Internet?

We cannot champion Network Neutrality without admitting that the Internet is no Utopia.

Think about regret as if it were sin. Some regrets are mild, but acute. The regret associated with choosing the wrong supermarket checkout lane, or buying an outfit that you notice goes on sale the next week—these seem woeful. They chafe, but their pains are pin pricks that soon subside. These are venial regrets. Regret is more severe when it steeps… read more

What Is ‘Evil’ to Google?

Speculations on the company's contribution to moral philosophy

Last week, another distasteful use of your personal information by Google came to light: The company plans to attach your name and likeness to advertisements delivered across its products without your permission. As happens every time the search giant does something unseemly, Google's plan to turn its users into unwitting endorsers has inspired a new round of jabs at Google's… read more

Proteus: A Trio of Artisanal Game Reviews

Three reviews as three lenses through which to approach and appreciate an unusual videogame.

Originally published at Gamasutra One: Nil Person Videogames are narcissistic. They are about you, even when they put you in someone else’s shoes. You are a space marine among hell spawn. You are a mafioso just released from prison. You are a bear with a bird in your backpack. You are a Tebowing Tim Tebow. We may think we play… read more

“Hundreds” Is the Haute Couture of Video Games

A new multi-touch puzzle game for the iPad and iPhone is about form, not function—and it's about to become a status symbol.

Some media exists for you to “consume”: to read, to watch, to play. Even though a book, television show, or video game isn’t destroyed by this encounter like a cheesesteak or a firework might be, the creative work is meant to be made a part of ourselves. To transform us in some way. But other forms of media don’t aspire… read more

A Machine That Makes Cameras: The Aesthetics of the Lytro

An image taken with a Lytro camera is not really an image, but a machine capable of producing many possible renditions.

The Lytro Light Field Camera Let's think about photography as people live it. A posed family picture might be taken once, then again, and again until the right combination of open eyes, smiles, and light and shadow produce an acceptable portrait. An action, performance, or sports shot that could speed by too fast for human judgement partakes of a surrogate: the… read more

The Future Was Here

Jimmy Maher's Platform Study of the Commodore Amiga

I’m very happy to announce the publication of the latest book in the Platform Studies series, Jimmy Maher’s The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga. It’s a terrific book about this influential multimedia microcomputer. As someone who never had an Amiga in the 80s and 90s, but who was often surrounded by them, I can vouch for the effectiveness of… read more

The Perils of Farmville

Me on NPR's Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane

I’ve had a chance to be on a number of different radio programs, both national and local. I really like doing radio, particularly longer programs on NPR and CBC since the additional time really allows more sustained exploration of a topic. It’s also particularly fun and weird to be on a show you’ve listened to extensively. I did NPR’s Talk… read more