Links For March 2, 2015

Some quick thoughts on videogame form off the top…

The political situation this led to in the past maybe five years or so is important to remember. It wasn’t just reddit trolls and Kotaku commenters saying Dear Esther or Proteus or Lim or Dys4ia weren’t videogames. It was developers and influential bloggers and youtubers and critics and academics. I think that’s at risk of being written out of history: that there was (and still is) a conservative formalist strand in videogame discourses (both popular and scholarly) that works with a narrow software-centric and game-centric view of what counts as the formal of the videogame.


Haptic Feedback: On The Ghost of Formalism

As I came into this community a year and a half ago, formalism was a boogieman of prescriptivist statements about what is and isn’t a game that revolved around what I’ve articulated as a “ludocentrist” rhetoric in extreme format, as embodied by Raph Koster’s infamous statement that Dys4ia, a game about trans womanhood and transitioning, was a “slideshow” and could be “made in powerpoint.”… Regardless of one’s interest in systems, it was and is a label to be avoided, and it became as such because the old guard of “formalist” games studies figures became known for some seriously asinine behavior on top of highly contested views on games.


Game Design Advance › Parley

I wanted to open up some distance between people like me, who are primarily interested in player choices and actions and aren’t as interested in narrative and theme, from the reactionary elements of operation hashtag, from the anti-intellectualism and fear of change that motivates the shouty, chauvinist citizens of planet vidyagame. This is what I meant by the tweet that sort of started it all: “People who complain about Dear Esther et al aren’t formalists they’re philistines. Were the ppl who walked out of Rite of Spring formalists?”


Game Studies, Year Fifteen

An example might be found in those who see Twine as a new means to facilitate non-traditional creators’ voices in games, and those who see Twine as an unexpected resurgence of hypertext fiction for the web. For the former group, the association with a prior (and largely white and male) tradition exerts an unwelcome colonizing force that undermines the liberationist possibilities of the platform and its practitioners. For the latter, the refusal to acknowledge said lineage signals a blinkered ahistoricism that, in refusing to answer for the shift from (e-)literature to games, posits a cultural and aesthetic move for which it has no theory or justification—a situation that might even undermine its ultimate mission. It’s possible that this conflict cannot be reconciled, at least not in the present. Would that really be such a calamity? Does it not signal the unexpected richness and intrigue of the topic, rather than suggest that one “side” is righteous and the other wicked?


Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more

RPS: Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?

Peter Molyneux: That’s a very…

RPS: I know it’s a harsh question, but it seems an important question to ask because there do seem to be lots and lots of lies piling up.

Peter Molyneux: I’m not aware of a single lie, actually…

That’s the opening. It goes downhill from there.


Crunched: has the games industry stopped exploiting its workforce? – (Spoiler: Not so much.)


Learning how to play on San Francisco’s streets

Every year, over the course of a weekend, San Francisco’s Civic Center is transformed into a giant playground. Except this playground is for children of all ages who’ve hit the streets to take part in San Francisco’s Come Out & Play Festival.