The Fun is in the Dying

Difficult Games and Metagame Strategies

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The idea of games as “difficult” engagements has been popular in both our colloquial conversations around games, as well as some critical discussions. Much research has been conducted on the function of difficulty as an aspect of immersion and engagement, but less has focused on the particular ludic mechanics that define the difficulty of a play experience. It seems fair to say that some of the more visible games that fall into this category are FromSoftware’s action RPG ‘Souls’ series. Continue Reading

Playing/Healing

The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask and the Playable Memento Mori

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The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a game preoccupied with grief, atonement and confronting death. The apocalyptic, cyclical framework of the narrative allows players to interact with characters who fear their own deaths. The medieval memento mori tradition is an aesthetic and (sometimes) narrative trope by which medieval writers, artists and songwriters came to terms with their own mortality often through a confrontation with a corpse. Continue Reading

VR: An Altered Reality for Disabled Players

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Rebeccah Redden is a Kitchener-based filmmaker, writer, and science fiction nerd. She spends most of her day living with mental illness and helping kids do 3D printing and virtual reality. She enjoys having an opinion on everything and reminiscing about… Continue Reading

“Share Melancholy Thoughts”

Playing with Mental Illness in The Sims 4

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I wake up sad, but I ignore the mood and continue with my day, taking care of my needs, going to work. When I return home, I file reports on my computer, cancelling the impulse to talk to my desk, as the reports will take longer if I do. I keep progressing, always a forward trajectory: I become charismatic, get promotions, work towards my aspiration by learning to play chess and keeping a half-built spaceship in my backyard. I am developing a friendship that might become more than that with a neighbour who constantly sports a tweed newsboy cap and a blue silk shirt. I’m playing The Sims 4 and my character is my first intentionally “insane” character. Continue Reading

A Better World

Examples of Disability in Overwatch

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Video games, like any other cultural product, reflect the cultural values that influence their creation; these values then influence perceptions on what is normal and acceptable in a social context (Flanagan and Nissenbaum 2014). Mass media shapes the perceptions of disability by influencing the language used to talk about disabilities, including what is (or -perhaps more significantly-, what is not) covered by news outlets and other mass media (Haller 2010). The invisibility of those with disabilities continues to be normalized when they are left out of media such as video games. Continue Reading

Madness as True Sight in The Cat Lady and Fran Bow

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Video games, particularly role-playing games, have addressed madness in various ways since their inception, though usually in the form of villains and antagonists whose sole motivation for their evil deeds is their madness. Although inclusivity is important, connecting madness (among other marginalized identity markers, such as gender deviance, queerness, and femininity) with villainy only serves to further alienate and demonize those who identify as mad or have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Continue Reading

Mad/Crip Games and Play

An Introduction

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Content Notification: reference to self-harm

The first time I saw Poison Ivy, I fell in love with her. But I didn’t get to play Ivy. I had to play Batman. And Batman punished Ivy for being a Mad queer femme. He played the role of the legal system, and the legal system punishes people like her, like me. The logic of the game was patriarchal, sanist, ableist. The game made me hurt us.
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