Talking, Writing, Publishing

Some August miscellany

I’ve been busy dealing with administrative preparations for the start of the fall term, and finishing up a couple of summer projects. I have a bunch of blogmatter in the hopper, but in the meantime, here’s a few recent bits and pieces of mine that you can find elsewhere: I was on last week’s Playable Character podcast, talking about Cow… read more

Writing Books People Want to Read

Or, How to Stake Vampire Publishing

Alex Reid wrote an excellent rejoinder against academic book publishing last week. The post was inspired by a discussion at the recent Computers and Writing conference about traditional publishing versus blogging and other forms of digital publishing. It’s an old, perhaps even a boring topic at this point, so Alex turns the subject back on itself: most scholarly monograph book… read more

Writing for Readership

Making books appealing

Harman offers his thoughts on the virtues of short books, with a mention of the conversation he and I had in Cairo about the constraints of the Atari and how they relate metaphorically to book authoring. The flavor of the genial teasing seems to be “haha, getting lazy there, aren’t you?” But in fact, it is harder work to compress… read more

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A Writer’s Glossary

Terms and concepts for working writers and the people who must tolerate them

Piece – a short-form work you are actually writing or actually have written. Feature – a long-form piece you wrote instead of your writer friends (neener). Longread – a feature or longish piece you are promoting on social media. Latest – informal term for a piece (“Here’s my latest for venue on hot-topic.”) Thing or This thing I wrote – term for piece for the non-self-assured (“So, here’s this thing I wrote…”) Blog… 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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Swing Copters: The Randomness of the Universe, Captured in Pixels

The creator of Flappy Bird is back with a game offering the sublime agony that comes with mastering a craft—and still failing.

Many of the highest-performing professional athletes are also the most superstitious. Serena Williams bounces the tennis ball five time before her first serve, twice before the second. Michael Jordan wore his University of North Carolina basketball shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform. Baseball hall of famer Wade Boggs bore a bounty of superstitions. Among them: He ate chicken before each… read more

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You Are Mountain

A strange video game from the Her animator bests Spike Jonze's film at depicting what a relationship with an alien really would be like.

Near the start of his relationship with a computer operating system in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award-winning film Her, Samantha the OS (Scarlett Johansson) helps Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) play a videogame. Called “Alien Child” by the filmmakers, the game seems familiar enough to be plausible to viewers, yet foreign enough to induce estrangement. The same could be said of the film’s high-waisted… read more

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The Clumsiest Way to Exercise Imagination

or, Garry Winogrand was wrong

Some time ago, I posted this fantastic quote about the difference between photography and other kinds of creativity, by the famous street photographer Garry Winogrand: Still photography is the clumsiest way to exercise imagination, to illustrate literary ideas. Anybody with a pencil beats you. Period. To take a simple illustration of the point: if you wanted a melted watch, how… read more

About Me

Dr. Ian Bogost is an award-winning author and game designer whose work focuses on videogames and computational media. He is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also holds an appointment in the Scheller College of Business. Bogost is Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC, an… read more