Publish or Perish?

Or Publish with Purpose?

If you are an academic you are probably achingly familiar with the phrase “publish or perish”, which has become the motto of our broken system. Publishing has become a numbers game and as someone in game studies, it’s hard not to see it as a game. If as a grad student you ask someone with a job how to get a tenure track job, they will often tell you the exact same things: “It’s very difficult to get a job but if you publish X many journal articles in journals of X quality and go to conferences X Y and Z and then cast your net wide enough you will get a job.” That is the formula I’ve heard 100 times: publishing along the party line = job. After you get a job, you might have to write a book to get tenure, but that book must be for an academic audience and must be published with a “good” academic publisher. Continue Reading

Critical game creation

as intergenerational social participation

Trying to change education towards a more innovative, creative and game-based learning approach is not a single-player game. There is a need for a huge amount of research and educational innovation projects before making educational actors promote digital games as a learning strategy. Just after my Ph.D, I was lucky to join a research network, a sort of a “research guild” for promoting mutual help, creating joint events and develop academic exchanges. Our “research guild” was funded by the 7th framework of research of the European Commission as a network of excellence, the “Games and Learning Alliance” (GaLA 2009-2013). The GaLA network included nearly 50 researchers in the field of digital games with educational, health, cultural purpose, also called “serious games”. Being part of an international research guild allowed me to access a higher level through collaborations with other scholars worldwide. Being in a guild required me to join efforts in topics and tasks that were out of my reach in an individual or small team perspective. Being part of a research guild is fruitful in terms of networking and outcomes. Continue Reading

The Lost Levels

of New Games Journalism

In reality, this mode of criticism brings us closer to, not further from, the majority of people who play games. Thinking through sensations of motion, for instance, helps to explain popular experiences with mechanics like quick-time events, exposing both their promise and their failings. When you are sensitive to the way a game literally feels, you can understand why some quick time events feel rewarding—they adeptly simulate a physical sensation—and why some don’t, like mere button-mashing that bears no resemblance to the action taken by the avatar on screen. Continue Reading

Different Games

An Introduction from the organizers

As the diversity of these proceedings illustrate, Different Games has grown in many ways, including the number of attendees, the number and breadth of panels, the arcade’s size, and the expansion to a three-track panel schedule. The co-organizers have also increased in number, which has allowed us to more closely consider a greater number of submissions. We consistently strive to expand the reach of our call for participation and will continue to work at encouraging emerging designers, scholars and players to feel that their voices are welcome and desired. We’ve also increased our budget for offering travel grants for speakers, in the hopes of continuing to increase the accessibility of the event. Continue Reading

FPS 2.0

An introductory editorial from the new FPS EIC

Hi, I’m Emma and I’m the new Editor in Chief of FPS! After his many years as EIC, Steve Wilcox has graciously left this position to me after a few months of training. In fact, we (the outgoing editors of FPS) have been training a whole crop of new editors for the past few months in an effort to maintain FPS’s longevity. Student-run publications and programs have a habit of cropping up and then disappearing soon after their inception because fortunately/unfortunately people must eventually graduate. Many of our existing editors are now either in the process of graduating or have already graduated; they are looking for jobs or have already landed great ones and while this doesn’t mean they wanted to walk away from FPS it does mean they have less time to devote to it than those of us still picking away at our games related dissertations. This turnover is especially important if we want to keep up our current publishing schedule where we publish new games related content for our audience from a vast array of talented authors every Wednesday all year long (with a short break in august and december so we can all breathe). It’s not easy getting quality work out there every week, but we manage to do it without fail because of the devoted work of our (totally unpaid) hard-working editorial team. I owe a great debt to all the previous editors of FPS including Steve Wilcox, Jason Hawreliak, Michael Hancock, Kent Aardse and Meghan Blythe Adams for all their hard work on FPS making it what it is today. Keep your eyes peeled for great things from these fine folks! Continue Reading

Why Write About a Book?

An Editorial About Book Reviews

In fact, if there’s anything I regret from my tenure as review editor, it’s not going far enough to promote different perspectives. I wish I had dedicated more time to pursuing a wider diversity of reviewers, and, especially in the early days of FPS, I regret pushing reviewers to hit that formal, authoritative tone instead of pursuing their own voice and position. It’s to that end, in fact, that I’ve been very grateful for the review model pioneered by Elise Vist, as I think it really draws out the multitude of approaches that can be brought to bear on long-form criticism, asking what a given work meant to the reviewer’s research, to the field, the classroom, and to the reviewer personally. These are questions worth asking. Most of all, though, I regret not stepping further out of the academic field in terms of the books themselves. I’m proud of how multidisciplinary the reviews are—we’ve got reviews about ethnography and sociology, genre and gender, games for health and game culture. There’s some edging towards criticism outside of academia, but not enough. Further, I would have liked more reviews on things that blur the line of engagements with games entirely: gamebooks, game art books, longform criticism like Leigh Alexander’s Lo-Fi Let’s Plays. Chris will have his own vision of where the Book Reviews will go, but these are my own roads not traveled. Continue Reading

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

An Editorial from the Essays Editor

I have no idea where the field is going, but I can say where I’d like it to go in general terms. I hope to see a further focus on two concepts in particular, subjectivity and complexity. Subjectivity is important for the obvious reason that videogames are played by humans. A critical methodology that ignores subjectivity is, in my view, missing an important piece of the puzzle. As Stephanie Jennings puts it, “the critic’s subjectivity, experiences of playing a game, and even personal identity are… part of the game text under analysis.” The idea that objectivity is desirable or even remotely possible in criticism is, in my view, absurd. Sure, we can discuss the formal characteristics of a thing, but the characteristics we choose to examine and how we interpret them is going to depend on the person. Luckily, I think we’re at the point where the push for objectivity is disappearing and more or less confined to the comments sections for AAA game reviews. Still, the examination of subjectivities is something I’d like to keep seeing. Continue Reading