Sony, Global Infant

Opinion piece published in Gamasutra

From Gamasutra’s summary: In a fiery opinion piece, game designer/author Ian Bogost examines NPD chart trends to suggest that Sony’s lack of unified message on PS3, Blu-ray and the ‘average consumer’ is rendering ineffective its pitch to users. It’s also probably the only piece on Gamasutra that mentions Jacques Lacan. Sony is a global conglomerate which is significantly different from… read more


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

PlayStation 4: A Videogame Console

Today, the most novel feature of new technology is ordinariness.

The logo for the Dutch videogame studio Guerrilla Games is an object lesson in mixed metaphor: an orange “G” contorted into the chevron shape of a military rank insignia. Guerrilla insurgencies are often organized and sometimes even state-based, but they are hardly represented by the formal emblem of command and control military structure. Guerrilla warfare is irregular, asymmetrical, and lithe.… read more

Real Networks Don’t Have Leaders

September 11 and Distributed Networks

On September 11, 2001 I was supposed to meet with Rick Harshman, an Akamai account executive, in my Los Angeles office. I only remember Rick’s name eleven years later because it kept staring at me from my Outlook calendar that morning suggesting an alternate timeline. I can’t remember why we were going to meet; I was working at a design… read more

Albuquerque: The Unknown

A Sony Pictures Imageworks recruitment video

Via University of New Mexico-based philosopher Iain Thomson, this recruitment video Sony Pictures Imageworks commissioned to help their Cali-bred brethren open up to the idea of moving to a new satellite office in Albuquerque. As someone who grew up in Albuquerque and worked with various divisions at Sony Pictures Entertainment, for me this video offers a strange blend of two… read more

Diskinect in the Living Room

Why physical movement games are incompatible with our homes

The Microsoft Kinect is available today, and with it come innumerable reviews of its successes and flaws (find a summary of them at Gamasutra). A common property of many negative reviews is the enormous amount of living room space Kinect requires, far more than most people will have in a sizable home let alone a modest apartment. I wrote about… read more

Playing Political Games

On the White House and Videogames

In a large theater at the 2010 Game Developers Conference, ten thousand game makers gathered for the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice awards ceremonies, where the best indie and mainstream games of the year are celebrated by and for their creators. In between the two, an unusual video was shown. Aneesh Chopra, the United States’s first Chief Technology… read more

Gestures as Meaning

On Brenda Brathwaite's Train and gestural interfaces. From my "Persuasive Games" column at Gamasutra

Games have flaunted gestural interfaces for years now. The Nintendo Wii is the most familiar example, but such interfaces can be traced back decades: Sony’s EyeToy; Bandai’s Power Pad; Mattel’s Power Glove; Amiga’s Joyboard; the rideable cars and motorbikes of ’80s – ’90s arcades; indeed, even Nintendo’s own progenitors of the Wii Remote, like Kirby Tilt ‘n Tumble for Game… read more

Reading Online Sucks

Reflections on scholarly writing on the web

Or more subtly: reading online isn’t the same as reading on paper, yet we continue to treat the web as a distribution tool rather than as a medium with its own material constraints, both suited and unsuited to certain kinds of content. I’ve been thinking about this recently after I started reading a lot more scholarly writing online. Let me… read more

The Reverence Of Resistance

On the controversial use of the Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man

Earlier this year, the Church of England threatened to sue Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for depicting the Manchester Cathedral in the latter’s sci-fi shooter Resistance: Fall of Man. The church had complained about the game’s inclusion of the cathedral, which was named and modeled after the 700-year-old church in this industrial city in northwest England. After considerable pressure and public… read more