Games & Play
How we play everything from luck to social interaction, childhood through adulthood, from the table top to the sports arena.
The coming generation of consoles may be the last gasp for the Age of Refinement, and with it, the opportunity for gamers to take control of their culture.
Another Puzzling Story
How do you make a meaningful game about the life of a woman whose death went unnoticed for years?
Arguments over whether or not Proteus qualifies as a game have less to do with our experience of playing it than with justifying it to others.
Raiding the Video Game Canon
The widespread assumption that Nintendo is “missing out” on Tomb Raider says more about us than it does about the worth of the Wii-U.
If part of the appeal of video gaming is the fantasy of playing as someone else, why do so many of them reprise the same characters over and over again?
Thirteen Meditations on a Torso
By performing a kind of social forensics on the Deep Silver’s Zombie Bait torso, we can arrive at a better understanding of the culture that produces it.
The Strategic Logic of Nostalgia Terrorism
By putting it to a vote, Parker Brothers’ decision to retire one of the iconic Monopoly game pieces plays on our loyalties.
Playing Fear By the Rules
Why does our society sometimes go out of its way to observe superstitions few really fear? Maybe it’s all a game.
What It’s Like To Play Gorogoa
In how it bends space and time, Gorogoa demonstrates the sort of puzzle that would be all but impossible in a physical medium.
What It’s Like to Play Planescape: Torment
Starting a new life is more than just an act of creation. It’s also an investigation into what went wrong the times before.
What It’s Like To Play Team Fortress 2
Calling some games “first-person shooters” misdirects our attention. Understanding how they can be fun may mean looking beyond the violence and the subjective point-of-view.
What It’s Like to Play Waking Mars
A little like gardening, a little like shooting hoops, and a lot like rediscovering your childhood wonder at a universe of seemingly endless possibilities.
A Stadium Divided Against Itself
The retirement of Fireman Ed is more than just an index of the toll taken by the Jets quarterback controversy on fans. It’s also a glimpse into the agonizing heart of fandom.
Between the Game and the Player
Helen Lewis believes that we haven’t gotten any better at talking about games. It may be that we’ve been looking in the wrong place.
Unsettling the Shooter
Brendan Keogh discusses Spec Ops: The Line, complicating the military shooter, and writing a “critical walk-though” with his upcoming eBook, Killing Is Harmless.
In The Master of Go, a board game becomes a way of life, a high-stakes match becomes a work of art, and a single move threatens it all.
Inside the Shuffle
How does our understanding of games change when we look at them less as the attempt to get from point a to point b, than as the ability to stand at some undefined point inbetween?
Playing the Manual
One salient characteristic of games may be that they can all be described by a set of instructions for creating a tolerable degree of indeterminacy.
Jumping the Divide
A recent editorial by a panelist for the GameCity Prize has reminded players and critics of the need for cultural diplomacy. How do you explain the worth of video games to someone who doesn’t play them?
In 1998, violence in the first person shooter genre began to change. Far from growing up, though, it may have merely skirted the issue.
Already A Winner
For more than 60 years, direct-mail sweepstakes like Publishers Clearing House have encouraged magazine and merchandise sales with techniques that demonstrate the predatory potential of gamification.
The audience reading the new game journalism are asking themselves whether or not their gaming experiences were worthwhile, and looking to contemporary game criticism—perhaps not for answers so much as for a method.
“All the traditional markers of adulthood are pretty worthless now. The only thing I can really be an adult about is, yeah, games.” An interview with Unwinnable’s Jenn Frank.
“Games were something I had done my entire life, but I didn’t start thinking about them critically until I started at the Journal.” Kill Screen founder Jamin Warren discusses game journalism’s coming-of-age.
“What we’re seeing, by and large, is a mainstreaming of approaches that have been academia’s bread and butter for several decades.” Kris Ligman of Critical Distance talks about the changing state of game journalism.