Embodying the Story

Haptic Narrative in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

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Bradley Markle is a graduate student pursuing his PhD in English Literature and Criticism at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His research includes African American literature, Caribbean literature, performativity and digital humanities studies.  Currently he is exploring how technology can… 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

Documentation, Periodization, Regionalization, and Marginalization

Four Challenges for Video Game Historiography

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As I understand it, and as others before me summarized it (Lowood & Guins 2014, XIII-XV), history is the study of the past through documents, and historiography is the study of the craft of history – the methods used by historians to write their histories. Historians often conduct their work in two phases: studying the documents to retrace the facts, and then organizing these facts and events into a narrative to infuse them with meaning. Continue Reading

We Gotta Get Out of This Place (If it’s the Last Thing We Ever Do)

Horizons of Expectation in The Room Three

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If there’s one trait of videogame series about which I’ve always been certain, it’s that sequels in a series are essentially the same game as the original but with a different story. Though the odd sequel is truly innovative, more often than not, the key principles of gameplay in a sequel will be roughly the same as in its precursors. Whether I’m playing Halo or Halo 5, I will always massacre aliens; whether I’m playing Assassin’s Creed or Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, I will eventually leap from a height to stab a Templar in the head; and whether I am playing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune or Uncharted: A Thief’s End, I will inevitably end up hurling my controller through the drywall when I die during a mission involving riding a jet-ski or a boat for the forty-fifth time in ten minutes. Continue Reading

Re-Imagining The Borderlands

A Review of Queer Game Studies

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There’s a scene that Bonnie Ruberg describes in the final chapter of Queer Game Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), which still resonates long after I finished the work. It’s a scene of the inevitable social banter after a panel discussion at an academic conference where, as Ruberg states, she feels “pressured to either tone down my queerness […] or to perform it” (271). For Ruberg, her queerness is not evident in people’s assumptions of her while also simultaneously too evident in her research in queer gaming. She reminds herself to not mention her ex-girlfriend and to silence her kinkiness; she dresses the professional part to blend in and answers questions about her research with a smile on her face—and yet, she still deals with feelings of being “the weird grad student” and with people’s seemingly never-ending questions of “Queerness? And games?” with a twinge of disgust (272). Continue Reading