Search Results for:


Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

October 25th

…different parts of the human condition or imagination. On the one hand, blood can bring us to real grips with our mortality. On the other, it can be feed a bloodlust or, more condescendingly, meet the lowest common denominator in emotional and visceral manipulation

Expressing a different but equally relevant frustration, Rob Fearon has had enough romanticizing the unpaid labor that goes into making videogames and would like us to start calling it what it is:

If staff are having to take loans out to survive the winter, not management sorting funding out to pay the…

April 10th

…of Dragonspear drama and the video game community | Gamasutra Katherine Cross addresses the rage that has arisen in response to a trans character existing in the new Baldur’s Gate expansion.

The Techies Project

  • The “Techies Project” Highlights 100 Underrepresented People of Silicon Valley | The Mary Sue Maddy Myers critiques the rhetoric of a new web site launched to profile successful silicon valley figureheads from minoritised backgrounds.
  • The Techies Project And Why Unpaid Labor for Diversity in Tech Needs to Stop | Model View Culture Shanley Kane analyses how visibility campaigns in general, and…

June 26th

…gamification, but these pieces acknowledge its failures while still proposing ways of using games to educate and create change.

  • Podcast 17: Gaming Psychology and Learning | The Psychology of Video Games (Audio only) Jamie Madigan interviews Karl Kapp about why gamification fails and how to make it work better.
  • Games and Learning: Building Sustainable Communities | Play The Past Peter Christiansen argues that gamification fails because too many people see it as an easy way of “disrupting” other industries, instead of complicating notions of games and play as they come into contact with education and labor.

August 28th

…that we treat others contributes to the construction of the world around us.

  • Overwatch and the problem of caring labor | The Meta Ryan Khosravi examines the causes and consequences of a shortage of healers.
  • No winners or losers: how games misrepresent ecologies | ZAM Comparing Pokémon Go and Abzu, Mike Jaffe argues that nature is in the relationships between beings, not simply the appearance of lifelike forms.

“Despite the wealth of insight the Pokedex provides each generation of monsters, the actual behavior of the monsters is identical. All Pokemon will jump at the

October 2nd

…poses a fresh challenge for anyone who considers themselves a political descendent of Marx. Contemporary leftists have a tendency towards the the absolutization of ahistorical values—equality, inclusion, identity—but we have yet to reconcile this tendency with the historical and cultural perspectivism that seems appropriate to a post-global society. We believe in freedom, but only to the extent that it lets us affirm what we already are.”

Capitalist Fantasy

Austerity and the growing class of precarious workers are the backdrop for these two articles on games, play and labor.

  • Is it a problem when games are…

November 6th


Two of Waypoint‘s first features look at conditions in workplaces and in a prison, giving us a solid look at how games intersect with some of the fundamental institutions that underpin American society.

  • The Curious Appeal of Crunch – Waypoint The influence of personal investment and heroic narratives on labor conditions in gaming are laid bare, forcing readers to confront the uncomfortably fuzzy boundary between individual free will and social control.
  • Dragons in the Department of Corrections – Waypoint In a remarkable and rare feature, Elizabeth de Kleer interviews tabletop RPG players in prison, learning

November 20th

…work in esports and game design.

  • League Of Legends Teams Call For Changes In New Letter To Riot Ethan Gach fills us in on labor disputes at Riot Games, with some implications about the structure of esports that I found pretty surprising.
  • ‘The Zooniverse’: Where The Grind Actually Matters | PopMatters Mantas Krisciunas discusses productivity, serious games, and the juxtaposition of “grind” as a waste of time against Science as a worthwhile activity.

“Out of all the reasons why gamers decide to launch themselves into hundreds of hours of repetitive content, I feel like

Cartoon strip cell showing a child at a riverside, with text "I remember when I was that small, when textures and smells were so much stronger"

January 22nd

…in the snow.

  • 304: The visual power of pure form Ben Chandler draws attention to the effective use of intricate silhouettes in 2D adventure game design

    Conversation options

    There were some interesting discussions this week about conversations as learned behavior and as labor, with diverse perspectives on how ability and circumstances change the kind of toll that conversation takes on a person.

    • Beehives Don’t Have Legs: On Road Trips and Rhetoric – Not Your Mama’s Gamer Lee Hibbard talks about how car games can teach argumentation and rhetoric.
    • How Twitch is…

    Visual Essay Jam roundup

    …effects through popular games. Vanishing Point similarly serves as a meditation on the various ways videogames represent depth on the 2D plane of the screen, and the implications of these representational modes. Twine and Texture explores the tactile differences between two engines for creating Interactive Fiction games, turning the subject of the investigation to game making tools rather than games, while Press Start further investigates the global networks of labor and material required to simply press start for a single game. Finally, Dylan Schneider’s Slow Action focuses on submerged and enveloped mysteries.

    Close Readings Another approach was to…

    June 11th

    There’s a little event called E3 going on this week, and with it comes plenty of new games and rapid-fire discourse. Yet we stand firm in our mission to curate the internet’s most intriguing critical writing and challenging media. This week you’ll find musings on design and narrative exploring emotional labor, trauma, blindness and, for good measure, even amphetamines. Enjoy!

    Rime and Reason

    There’s plenty to be said of Rime, a small indie game with a lot of heart:

    • Beauty From Ashes: Unpacking Grief in Rime | Gamechurch Joey Thurmond discusses grief in Rime, which