Why Anything but Games Matters

On isolationism in game development; my Indiecade 2014 talk

A couple months ago, I was talking to a friend in technology media. “Sometimes I wonder why I’m in tech,” he started saying. He paused for a beat. “Then I think, at least I’m not in games.” He wasn’t even really talking about the Voldemortian “you-know-what” that was indeed the original impetus for our conversation. That’s just the latest example.… read more


Persuasive Games

The game studio I co-founded. We make games about social and political issues.

Persuasive Games designs, builds, and distributes videogames for persuasion, instruction, and activism I do professional game development and game design consulting at Persuasive Games. I co-founded the studio in 2003 with Gerard LaFond. Persuasive Games created the first official US Presidential Election game for Howard Dean in 2003. Since then, we’ve created games for political campaigns, advertisers, educators, and corporations,… 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

The Art of Video Games

A review of the catalog that accompanies the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition

This review was published in The American Journal of Play 5:1 (Fall 2012). You can also download a PDF of the review provided by the journal.   The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effectby Chris Melissinos and Patrick O’RourkeNew York: Welcome Books, 2012. Contents, images, credits. 215 pp. $40.00 paper. ISBN: 9781599621098 The Art of Video Games,… read more

Videogames as Art Medium and Inspiration

or, A Slow Year at the Telfair

This week, the Telfair Museums will open Game Change: Videogames as Art Medium and Inspiration. My game A Slow Year is among the pieces that will be on exhibit from February 27 to April 1, 2012. I’ll be in Savannah Thursday evening for the Game Change panel, from 6-8pm at the Jepson Cetner. Other artists in the show include Kunal… read more

How to Do Things With Videogames

How to Do Things with Videogames

A fresh look at computer games as a mature mass medium with unlimited potential for cultural transformation.

This book is available in digital or physical format. Buy from Amazon In recent years, computer games have moved from the margins of popular culture to its center. Reviews of new games and profiles of game designers now regularly appear in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and sales figures for games are reported alongside those of books,… read more

How To Do Things With Videogames

Now Shipping!

My latest book, How To Do Things With Videogames is now shipping from in the US. For those of you in Europe, it’ll be a little while longer. And before you ask, a Kindle edition has been created and should show up Amazon any day now. The book is a little different from my others. It offers a tiny… read more

Variety in Videogames

On embracing videogame diversity and combatting exploitationware

In many of the reactions to Gamification is Bullshit, both in the comments on this site and in responses elsewhere, a common objection is raised. It goes something like, “you’re just afraid of unfamiliar uses of games.” Here’s a particularly odious version of that argument, by Libe Goad on ZDNet today: I often wonder if Bogost’s and other game makers’… read more

Why Debates About Video Games Aren’t Really About Video Games

This editorial was originally published on August 1, 2011 at Kotaku. For more on diversity of use in games, read my new book How to Do Things with Videogames, available this month. After the Supreme Court announced its decision regarding a California law that would have imposed state limitations on children’s access to certain videogames, a deluge of reactions flooded… read more

Social games? Boeh!

Cow Clicker in Het Parool

The Dutch newspaper Het Parool ran a story last Saturday about Cow Clicker. You can read a scan of the story below (in Dutch, click for the large version), but equally interesting to me is the fact that the paper put an enormous Cow Clicker cow on the front page of their media section (also below), just like Svenska Dagbladet… read more