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Inception as Videogame

In the past year, I have been struck by how often I see videogames as informing other media productions. Up until recently, games were often thought of as struggling for legitimacy by trying (and inevitably failing) to represent/approximate “reality” and/or appealing to more respected art forms. Academics, designers, fans, and media have all been guilty of establishing these various limiting frames and viewing games through them. Fortunately, I think these trends are eroding. ... read more »

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Are Twitter Trends the New Barbershop?

Recently, a friend of mine joined Twitter and the first direct message he sent me was a simple question: “Why are all the people posting on Twitter trends black?”

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Kick Ass and the Ethics of Gameplay

The Need for Videogame Literacies

Kick Ass is an important film for videogame scholars to see, especially with an audience. Many have made the claim that videogames have influenced film, but this influence has never been more apparent to me than in Kick Ass. However, my concern is not with tracking the obvious visual/stylistic similarities (e.g. the first person shooter sequence featuring Hit Girl); rather, what  I am interested in is how the apparent but not functionally established connections between gamic logics and filmic logics can actually lead to serious ethical misunderstandings by the audience. Even though Kick Ass and games are alike stylistically, there are still significant affective and logical differences that, if confused, can lead to ethically troubling audience responses. This ethical confusion, wherein audiences misread a film by applying gamic logics to film, demonstrate the desperate need for better videogame literacies that teach viewers how to interpret and understand games. ... read more »

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War as Videogame

Unveiling the video at the National Press Club on Monday morning, Assange said the helicopter crew approached its job as if it were a video game, not something involving human lives. Their desire was simply to kill,” he said. “Their desire was to get high scores on that computer game.”

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Jenova Chen “Art, Entertainment, and Video Games”

Jenova Chen, creative director of thatgamecompany graciously accepted my invite to give a talk at the University of California, Riverside for a research group I am a part of this week. Our research this year has focused on play with a particular interest in historicizing and expanding play beyond the boundaries of the common conceptualization of the digital game. Jenova was a perfect capstone to the year as his work in expanding the emotional spectrum of games is part of this project. ... read more »

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Of Myth, Genocide, and License Plates

I saw this license plate on a truck today and was shocked by the connections to some issues I have been dealing with in my composition course this quarter. One of the selections we read from the popular culture criticism collection Signs of Life is by David Goewey. ... read more »

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Naked Game

Here is a game that could be considered an extension of Alexander Galloway’s countergaming project. It allows complete visibility and modification of the code of the game.