First Person Podcast Episode 36

Pride Month Throwback

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Happy Pride month from First Person Podcast! On this episode we go back to a conversation that happened years ago to exhibit some queer games. Join Elise Vist, Rob Parker, Chris Persaud, and Matthew Perks as they delve into the discourse of queer game design. What is the main criticism of queer games? How did our guest experience Tusks and Dream Daddy? They will give you the relevant insight now. Continue Reading

A Failed and Unintelligible Analogy

The Phenomenology of Virtual Space in Kitty Horrorshow’s ANATOMY

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The virtual space of ANATOMY withdraws from players behind a barrier of static and screen glare where it becomes, in a Lacanian psychoanalytic sense, inaccessible to the process of narcissistic incorporation. In a subversive twist of convention, players are marginalized in order to hold space for the expression of digital-material agency, affecting a critical blow to the psychological processes, as digital media scholar Laurie Taylor theorizes, by which “the connection between the player and the player’s position in game space implies a type of identification.” Overtures of analog noise and VHS scan lines that scroll across the player’s first-person perspective articulate an aesthetic commitment to the affirmation of otherness. An unbridgeable distance stretches between us and ANATOMY, and into this distance tumbles that narcissistic fantasy of a video game designed to transport players inside immersive virtual worlds, where alien subjectivities are embodied firsthand and become sympathetically understood. Continue Reading

A Letter to the Editor

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This commentary is framed as a response to an editorial in the journal Game Studies (of which I’m a member of the review board), and I hope it’s clear that it’s an agonistic one: an incitement to further discourse. A playful bite but a real bite all the same.

Since this commentary was written in December 2019, the renewed attention to sustained anti-Black violence by police and other social institutions in the U.S. and beyond, as well as the increasing prominence of violence and harassment directed at East Asians, has helped to bring public attention to how racism continues to inflect so many aspects of our social, economic, and political lives. As we ask “what can game studies do” in this moment to support meaningful social change, recall that white privilege and prejudice against Black, Indigenous, mixed-race and people of colour (BIMPOC) in game studies was already one context of this exchange, and it’s one we can continue to dismantle together. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 35: Disco Elysium

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FirstPersonPodcast · First Person Podcast Episode 35: Disco Elysium This month on the First Person Podcast, we delve into Disco Elysium with Lindsay Meaning, Rob Parker, Sabrina Sgandurra, and Axel Hassen Taiari to discuss their experiences with the game. We… Continue Reading

Dreaming of Zion

The American West as Place or Process in Fallout: New Vegas’s Honest Hearts DLC

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As a Western set in a post-apocalyptic Mohave, Fallout: New Vegas demonstrates that the big questions that drive Western history are durable and malleable enough to survive even the (fictional) nuclear demise of the United States itself. The fourth iteration of the Fallout franchise is set approximately 200 years after a civilization-ending nuclear war but is valuable for teachers of American history because several major themes of real-life Western historiography are embedded in it. In fact, as I will demonstrate in this essay, the game, and particularly the Honest Hearts DLC, can be used to not just demonstrate, but to allow students to feel why the questions that underlay the study of Western history have real resonance. Continue Reading

Interview: Mike Ren Yi

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Mike Ren Yi has developed a reputation as a controversial game designer. As a diasporic Chinese American living in Shanghai, Mike creates personal games that explore the intersections of race, state control, and environmental degradation, all while working in an industry overseen by state censors. But while his games challenge the status quo, they also contain heartfelt expressions of daily life. His game Yellowface (2019), based loosely off of David Henry Hwang’s play of the same name, captures the microaggressions of being an Asian American man in the United States, while his game Hazy Days (2016) follows a young girl living in the pollution-saturated airways of contemporary China. Mike Ren Yi’s latest game, Novel Containment (2020), attempts to capture the atmosphere of state control and censorship during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it may be his most risky venture yet. Continue Reading

Game art, art game, indie game

Sketching the relation between the worlds of contemporary art and video games

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The interaction between art and video games might seem obvious since popular video games now have dedicated exhibitions in museums, as in the case of “Game Story” displayed at the Grand Palais in 2011 or “Design / Play / Disrupt” showcased at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019. However, before this wave of institutional recognition during the 2010s (Colville, 2016; Ter Minassian, 2012), there were already connections between artistic practices and popular entertainment. Even if contemporary art is a multifaceted movement and difficult to define, the concept of experimentation, the aestheticization of everyday life, and the use of new materials are prevalent components (Millet, 2009). Continue Reading