Ritual of the Moon

Time and Reparative Game Design

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Much has been made recently about ‘crunch’ and the dangers of cramming development into bursts of unhealthy and inaccessible work habits. It has been written about in Kotaku, The New York Times, and many other places. The solution sounds so easy: just don’t crunch. Take your time. Live your life outside of making practices. But what are sustainable practices of making? Those which follow the ebbs and flows of sometimes the erratic and out-of-grasp force of creativity? Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 24

The Paratextual Mysteries of Arkane Studios: A Conversation with Hazel Monforton

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The topic of this month’s podcast was ostensibly about Arkane studios’ third installment in the Dishonored franchise: Death of the Outsider, and writer Hazel Monforton’s contributions to the development of the game’s narrative. However, it was in many ways a metadiscussion about the game and the worlds games inspire. The conversation grappled with the questions of how and why games move us. Continue Reading

Let’s Play with Research Methodologies

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What is the most effective way to formally incorporate my game play experiences into my highly personalized research plan? How can I study not only the games that I am playing, but my own reactions to those games? How can I do justice to my genuine experiences and reactions without having to break my immersion during gameplay to take field notes? How can I convince my interdisciplinary (and strictly disciplinary) peers and supervisors that my game play experiences, and game play related memories, can be studied following a formal research methodology? Continue Reading

Embodying the Story

Haptic Narrative in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

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Famed German board-game designer Wolfgang Kramer suggests in his essay “What is a Game?” that a game, video or otherwise, “always has components or rules.” He goes on to say that “[t]he components are the hardware, the rules are the software. Both define the game. Both can exist independently from each other, but separately are not a game.” If we accept Kramer’s thesis, then the need for further discourse as it pertains to the physical devices – i.e. the components used to play a video game – becomes apparent. Continue Reading

“The World Could Always Use More Heroes”

Why Overwatch Matters

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Earlier this year, I presented my dissertation research in the Game Studies area of the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association conference; the community among these interdisciplinary scholars was so great that I ended up sticking around for almost every panel on games for the rest of the weekend. And I was struck by a common theme: Blizzard Entertainment’s team-based first-person shooter Overwatch (2016) came up in almost every one! Continue Reading

Happy Fifth Birthday, First Person Scholar!

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You don’t often hear from me, but I’m the Managing Editor for First Person Scholar. I’ve been involved in this site in some capacity or another almost from the very beginning. In 2012, FPS meetings grew out of the semi-regular Games Institute meetings at the University of Waterloo, and I’ve had the privilege of watching the site grow from those humble beginnings to the middle-state powerhouse it is today. Whether I was involved as a contributor, a fan, or an editor, First Person Scholar has been a near constant presence in my life for five years. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 23

Surveilling Stealth Action Games

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What makes a stealth action game? Among the titles discussed in this podcast, including (and predominantly) the Metal Gear Solid series, Assassin’s Creed, Hitman, Splinter Cell, Batman: Arkham Asylum and, to some extent, Horizon Zero Dawn, a distinction was placed between stealth as a procedural mechanic baked into all aspects of the game design and stealth as an additional option afforded to players. Continue Reading