how-to-talk-about-videogames

How to Talk About Videogames

A fond look at the preposterous—and yet essential—pursuit of games criticism

This book will be published November 15, 2015. Preorder from Amazon Videogames! Aren’t they the medium of the twenty-first century? The new cinema? The apotheosis of art and entertainment, the realization of Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk? The final victory of interaction over passivity? No, probably not. Games are part art and part appliance, part tableau and part toaster. In How to Talk… 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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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

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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 Amazon.com 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