Academic Vigilantism

and Middle State Publishing

Editorial - One Year

If you haven’t already heard, this is my last contribution to FPS as Editor-in-Chief; I’m working towards finishing my PhD and so I am therefore happily handing the reins of FPS over to the supremely talented Alexandra Orlando. Elise and Judy are also stepping down from their positions on FPS to finish their PhDs and I need to highlight here, before I start, that their contributions to the publication have been incalculable. Thanks so much to both of you. Continue Reading

FPS 2.0

An introductory editorial from the new FPS EIC

Editorial - One Year

Hi, I’m Emma and I’m the new Editor in Chief of FPS! After his many years as EIC, Steve Wilcox has graciously left this position to me after a few months of training. In fact, we (the outgoing editors of FPS) have been training a whole crop of new editors for the past few months in an effort to maintain FPS’s longevity. Student-run publications and programs have a habit of cropping up and then disappearing soon after their inception because fortunately/unfortunately people must eventually graduate. Many of our existing editors are now either in the process of graduating or have already graduated; they are looking for jobs or have already landed great ones and while this doesn’t mean they wanted to walk away from FPS it does mean they have less time to devote to it than those of us still picking away at our games related dissertations. This turnover is especially important if we want to keep up our current publishing schedule where we publish new games related content for our audience from a vast array of talented authors every Wednesday all year long (with a short break in august and december so we can all breathe). It’s not easy getting quality work out there every week, but we manage to do it without fail because of the devoted work of our (totally unpaid) hard-working editorial team. I owe a great debt to all the previous editors of FPS including Steve Wilcox, Jason Hawreliak, Michael Hancock, Kent Aardse and Meghan Blythe Adams for all their hard work on FPS making it what it is today. Keep your eyes peeled for great things from these fine folks! Continue Reading

New Directions, New Destinations

An Editorial from the Outgoing Editor-in-Chief

Editorial - One Year

As you’ve seen over the past couple weeks we are going through a changing of the guard here at First Person Scholar. At this point many of the founding editors have either graduated from their programs, or are in the midst of doing so. For myself, I am in the final stages of my dissertation and so I too am moving on. And it’s high time that I did so. It’s not that I’ve grown tired of FPS—far from it in fact, as evidenced by the many thank-yous below! But at the same time the role of an editor-in-chief should be to bring a direction and destination to a publication and I think the longevity and success of a site like FPS will be measured by the range of people at its helm, the multitude of directions it goes in, and the variety of destinations it seeks to arrive at. What I’d like to do in this post is to briefly reflect on my time here at FPS and then formally introduce the team of people who will be taking FPS in those new directions, towards new destinations. Continue Reading

Why Write About a Book?

An Editorial About Book Reviews

Editorial - One Year

In fact, if there’s anything I regret from my tenure as review editor, it’s not going far enough to promote different perspectives. I wish I had dedicated more time to pursuing a wider diversity of reviewers, and, especially in the early days of FPS, I regret pushing reviewers to hit that formal, authoritative tone instead of pursuing their own voice and position. It’s to that end, in fact, that I’ve been very grateful for the review model pioneered by Elise Vist, as I think it really draws out the multitude of approaches that can be brought to bear on long-form criticism, asking what a given work meant to the reviewer’s research, to the field, the classroom, and to the reviewer personally. These are questions worth asking. Most of all, though, I regret not stepping further out of the academic field in terms of the books themselves. I’m proud of how multidisciplinary the reviews are—we’ve got reviews about ethnography and sociology, genre and gender, games for health and game culture. There’s some edging towards criticism outside of academia, but not enough. Further, I would have liked more reviews on things that blur the line of engagements with games entirely: gamebooks, game art books, longform criticism like Leigh Alexander’s Lo-Fi Let’s Plays. Chris will have his own vision of where the Book Reviews will go, but these are my own roads not traveled. Continue Reading

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

An Editorial from the Essays Editor

Editorial - One Year

I have no idea where the field is going, but I can say where I’d like it to go in general terms. I hope to see a further focus on two concepts in particular, subjectivity and complexity. Subjectivity is important for the obvious reason that videogames are played by humans. A critical methodology that ignores subjectivity is, in my view, missing an important piece of the puzzle. As Stephanie Jennings puts it, “the critic’s subjectivity, experiences of playing a game, and even personal identity are… part of the game text under analysis.” The idea that objectivity is desirable or even remotely possible in criticism is, in my view, absurd. Sure, we can discuss the formal characteristics of a thing, but the characteristics we choose to examine and how we interpret them is going to depend on the person. Luckily, I think we’re at the point where the push for objectivity is disappearing and more or less confined to the comments sections for AAA game reviews. Still, the examination of subjectivities is something I’d like to keep seeing. Continue Reading