New Directions, New Destinations

An Editorial from the Outgoing Editor-in-Chief

Steve Wilcox is the outgoing editor-in-chief of First Person Scholar. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo, researching empathy and videogames.


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.

I started working on FPS in the fall of 2012 and following our launch in December of that year I’ve been our editor-in-chief. Since I also dabbled in web and graphic design, I’ve also doubled as our web specialist, designing the site, its logo, and managing various technical issues.  I mention these responsibilities only to emphasize that FPS has been a large part of my life of late. During that time I’ve had the good fortune to work with a group of fellow students and faculty who have pushed me to be a better editor and who have made FPS into a publication we can all be proud to say we worked on. I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank those people for their time and effort over the years, especially the editors who have volunteered countless hours, resulting in the hundred and fifty posts that make up our catalogue. If you’ve never submitted anything to FPS you might not know this, but we are not an accept or reject style of publication. While not every submission we receive is the right fit for FPS, most often submissions start a critical, constructive dialogue between contributor and editor. In this regard I think FPS offers a very unique and valuable service that many of us don’t often have access to—namely, someone who will thoughtfully and carefully consider your ideas, and provide feedback that’s aimed at helping those ideas spread and grow and develop. I would encourage anyone who feels that they have something to add to the conversation on games and culture to take FPS up on their open call for submissions.

In addition to thanking all of our editors, I’d also like to express my gratitude to our faculty advisors, Gerald Voorhees, Jennifer Whitson, and Neil Randall. Gerald and I have had many spirited conversations on academia and publishing, a topic I think academics should be engaged in on a more regular basis. Although Jennifer has only joined FPS recently I know the incoming editors will benefit immensely from her expertise. Lastly, but deserving of the most gratitude, is Neil Randall, director of the Games Institute, sounding board for game scholars, and all around enabler when it comes to seeing your ambitions become a reality. Thanks to all of you for making my time at FPS not only possible but a rich and rewarding experience!

One last heartfelt thank you needs to go out to our contributors and readers. We’ve published work from over a hundred scholars, developers, and enthusiasts. And on average we attract about 4,500 visits a month. To some that number might seem modest but to me, I’m constantly struck by it and what it represents—namely, that a large group of people are interested in being a part of the conversation on games and scholarship. You have made working on FPS a very encouraging, and very gratifying part of my career. Thank you!

Now, on to the future of FPS. I am excited to (formally) introduce Emma Vossen as our new editor-in-chief, Betsy Brey as our Essays editor, Alexandra Orlando as our Commentaries editor, and Chris Lawrence as our Book Reviews editor. All of these people have been working on FPS over the past year or more as copy editors, associate editors, and managing editors and I can’t wait to see where they will take FPS! Look for them to really make their mark on the site starting in the fall.

One last note: if I have one regret about FPS it’s that the notion of ‘first-person scholar’ went unexplored. As a devout McLuhanist I have a rather unconventional understanding of what constitutes a scholar in the age of Wikipedia, open-access journals, and academic blogs. And as someone who researches pragmatism and feminism, I place a strong emphasis on the subjective or first-person aspect of writing. Taken together, I think there is a novel identity there that’s worth exploring. Thankfully, Emma thinks so too and so the two of us are working on an editorial that will start off our fall schedule. From Emma the post will act as a way of looking forward to the future of FPS, and from me it will be a way of looking back one last time.  In the meantime, we will be taking a break from our regular Wednesday posts for the month of August. I hope to see you in September!