Dungeons and Queers

Reparative Play in Dungeons and Dragons

I play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) at least once a week–more if I can convince my friends to play with me. I have a monthly tabletop gaming group where we try new and weird role-playing games (RPGs) like Fiasco and Dread, where there are a few rules that create a space of play that’s otherwise pretty boundless. But I always come back to D&D. It’s something special, getting to play with friends in worlds that I’ve imagined alone for so long (see also my long-standing obsession with Bioware-style RPGs, heavy on character creation and relationship-building). Continue Reading

Interview – Chris Bateman

Part I - On Realism, Philosophy, and Artgames

First Person Scholar book review editor Michael Hancock recently interviewed Chris Bateman to talk about issues related to games including realism, mimesis, mythology, and game design in indie and AAA studios. Chris Bateman is a philosopher, game designer, and author – and has a doctorate (pending corrections) in game aesthetics, to boot. He has written a series of books on game design and philosophy, the most recent of which are Imaginary Games and The Mythology of Evolution. In game design, he was lead game designer and writer for games including Discworld Noir, Ghost Master, and Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition. Bateman researches and lectures at the University of Bolton. Continue Reading

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

by Anna Anthropy

Anna Anthropy may seem disillusioned with the state of gaming, but it should be obvious to any reader of this book that she has a great love of the medium and is optimistic for its future. Anthropy is a long-time gamer and game creator, so the criticism she levels at the industry is grounded in her experience on both ends of a videogame. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is part-history, part-how-to that gives an overview of games and their histories in the first half, and shows the readers how to start making their own games in the second. Throughout the text, Anthropy calls for games that are more personal, more accessible, and more diverse. While she understands (and explains) why the industry focuses primarily on games where the player spends most of her time killing other characters, Anthropy wants to play a different kind of game, made by a different kind of person. Anthropy wants everyone – regardless of their access to technical knowledge or money – to make games, because she wholeheartedly believes in power of videogames to tell meaningful, personal stories. I found Rise of the Videogame Zinesters to be an engaging book, and would recommend it to anyone interested in small, personal games, as an overview of the genre. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is provocative and inspiring, an almost-manifesto. It is not heavily engaged in games scholarship (though Anthropy is clearly aware of the work of people like Ian Bogost, for example), so those coming to Rise of the Videogame Zinesters with that expectation may be disappointed… Continue Reading