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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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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The End of the Big Mac

The burger's demise won’t be marked by a declaration in a quarterly report, but by a collective appreciation for the comfort it offered America.

If you like to lunch on two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun, you’d better act fast: McDonald’s has announced plans to phase out the Big Mac. Okay, not really. But social media ate up the news of its axing, published by the satirical site Daily Buzz Live at the end of last… read more

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Game Studies, Year Fifteen

Notes on Thoughts on Formalism

I know it’s been a long time since I blogged—really blogged, you know, in the style of that form—for three reasons. First, because I’m talking about blogging in the first sentence, and second because I’m sending you here to read the prerequisites for this post. You’ll want to read the linked piece and as many of the subsequent pieces linked… read more

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Winning Isn’t Everything

I used to think that games would be the dominant medium of the 21st century. The reality? They’re too big, too complex, and too smart for that to be true.

It’s hard to turn around in video game circles without hearing someone proclaim that “games are the dominant medium of the 21st century.” Deus Ex and Epic Mickeydesigner Warren Spector has a lecture built around the idea. The author Tom Chatfield devoted the subtitle of his book Fun, Inc to the concept. Journey composer Austin Wintory’s uttered the quip in an interview. Film critics writing about recent documentaries about games have even let… 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