Actually, It’s About Aca-Fandom

in Games Studies

Commentary - Game Studies and Fan Studies

Some people might respond to that last sentence and say that good scholarship requires discomfort. You should have to prove yourself in order to be accepted by the community. To be clear, I’m not arguing that I like fan studies because they have no standards. It’s just that the standards that fan studies sets are actually achievable. Fan scholars understand that you can’t possibly be a fan of everything that anyone is a fan of. Recent scholarship even makes the argument that as a fan of one thing you aren’t even expected to know everything about it. Zubernis and Larsen (and Jenkins) argue that defining a fan as someone who makes or collects things—as being active—denies the ways in which fans can participate by reading, by thinking, by sharing links (Zubernis and Larsen 16). There are as many ways to be a fan as there are fans. Continue Reading

What We’re Playing Vol II

Constraints & Explorations

Commentary - What Were Playing Vol2

There is rarely a time when I’m not playing Dragon Age 2. I know that it’s the lesser of the Dragon Age games, but I’ve still finished it twice, gotten to the end of Act 2 three times, and created a dozen characters that never got past level 15. It is partly due to the fact that I love each and every character (especially Aveline) in my party, but that’s not the whole story. If all I wanted from the game was interesting characters and fun relationship dynamics then Dragon Age: Origins would be a better game to play. DA:O, at least, lets me talk to my party whenever I feel like it. Continue Reading

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

by Anna Anthropy

Review - Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

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