a journal of play.

Category: Critique

Gender in League of Legends, Pt. I:

I’ve been getting back into League of Legends for my Game Cultures research project and the paper submission I’m working on for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research.  We’ve been discussing the sexualization of the female body in the videogames in class, and I thought it’d be worth looking into for my current project. League of […]

Abstraction, the Body & Motion Controls

From a discussion of the importance of controllers in understanding gameplay by Graeme Kirkpatrick: The controller and its resistances are those of the game and its objects, compared with the screen image they are commonly a miniaturized and condensed instantiation of the game program. “Play involves exploring and altering the field of tension. When Steven […]

Miniatures: Control & the Self

This essay originally appeared as a guest article at The Ontological Geek. “The term miniatures refers to entities that players can fully or partially control, but which do not, in themselves, represent the player. Examples of miniatures would be units of cavalry in Medieval II: Total War (Creative Assembly, 2006), the workers in Age of […]

On Ruining Dear Esther

This critical essay originally appeared at Oh No! Video Games! N.B. In the course of this article, I will ruthlessly spoil Dear Esther, certainly for those who have not experienced it, and in all possibility for some who have. The haunting landscape of Dear Esther “There’s nothing better to do here than indulge in contradictions,” […]

Is Emergence a Metaphysical Property?

Yesterday, for Digital Game Theory, we had an excellent guest lecture by Espen Aarseth, the very fellow that fired the starting pistol that began the academic race1 commonly referred to as Game Studies.  The topic was “emergence,” and with a reading list consisting of Jesper Juul’s 2002 framework of opposition between progress and emergence in […]

Radical Minsky?

I had never read all of Marvin Minsky’s seminal essay “Telepresence,” nor had it really sunk in that its venue was venerable sci-fi mag Omni.1 I was surprised to say the least to read his radical conclusion, shortly after considering telepresence’s possibility for increasing alienation: Finally, in a strange sense, the question of “technological unemployment” […]