‘This is the Fate I Choose’: How a Shakespeare-Hating Game Developer Made the Best Shakespeare Adaptation I’ve Seen All Year

I argue in this essay, Elsinore’s use of branching and discoverable dialogue, multiple story paths as well as choices and consequences, construct a narrative mode that reveals the themes of racism and sexism and the ways in which systems of oppression reinforce each other in the narrative. Elsinore uses the video game medium to reorient Hamlet around the intersecting vectors of gender and race, and in doing so it offers an intersectional feminist reinterpretation of Hamlet. This essay will look at how Elsinore adapts Hamlet by focusing on the treatment of Ophelia’s sexuality, showing how narrative agency and discoverable dialogue can reinforce the intersectional commitment of the game. Continue Reading

A New Year, A New Us +

As we enter into a new year, we’re all thinking about how incredibly thankful we are to each and every reader and contributor that has continued to make First Person Scholar the amazing publication that it is. With everything we’re all dealing with and the changes FPS made back in September, it heartens us every day to see the continuing engagement we have with all of you. Now that our holiday break is over, we look forward to sharing more amazing pieces, and hearing from new and familiar faces who wish to publish with us. Continue Reading

Playing Politics During COVID-19: A Scenario for Matt Leacock’s Pandemic

In this essay, I argue that Pandemic is also useful to convey technical information to its players about the epidemiological principles that are governing our response to the virus. In particular, the game does an excellent job of allowing players to experience the importance of “flattening the curve” of virus cases. However, in its current form, the game lacks a mechanism to model another key factor in the spread of the coronavirus in the United States: the political decisions made by various government institutions in response to its arrival. Continue Reading

Interview: Tanya Kan on Solace State

As a way to confront the police state we seem to be barreling toward, Tanya Kan and her development studio Vivid Foundry have created Solace State. A different kind of visual novel, Solace State, focuses on the interaction and social relationships of a group of young hackers to imagine a hopeful ground-up approach to bettering a dystopian world. Instead of a singular, white hope, the game demonstrates the diversity of faces and voices involved in mounting a revolution. Continue Reading

Felicity, Framing, Feedback Loops: Historicizing Videogame Performance in Darshana Jayemanne’s Performativity in Art, Literature, and Videogames

Darshana Jayemanne’s Performativity in Art, Literature, and Videogames is an essential contribution to this ongoing animation. The book has much to give: a generative, comparative methodology; a vibrant and extensive lexicon for describing the qualities of videogames; many vivid case studies. Performance is its vital pivot point. Although the field of game studies has tended to treat performance as “either an actualization of abstract rules or a voluntarist creation of meaning by the player in each actual play decision” (p. 14), Jayemanne emphasizes that it is not so easily sequestered or reduced. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 40

Gaming Architecture

Architecture has an unspoken influence over how we navigate and interpret the games we play. So, we are going to talk about it. Today we are going to be taking a look at how the world of our favourite games has been constructed and how gaming architecture influences the game world, theming, and plot progression. On this episode you are joined by, Giuseppe Femia, the FPS Podcast Producer, Sabrina Sgandurra, our new Editor-in-Chief/Book Reviews Editor, Lia Black, our new Co-Managing Editor/Commentaries Editor, and Patrick Dolan, our other new Co-Managing Editor/Essays Editor. Continue Reading