Mobile Games, SimCity BuildIt, and Neoliberalism

A screenshot of a city in SimCity BuildIt

Bradley J. Fest teaches at Carnegie Mellon University. His essays on contemporary literature and culture have appeared in boundary 2, The b2 Review,Critique, David Foster Wallace and “The Long Thing”, The Silence of Fallout, and Wide Screen. He also blogs… Continue Reading

Designer Lenses

A Review of Jennifer deWinter’s Shigeru Miyamoto


Chris is a Ph.D Candidate at the University of Waterloo researching gamification until he figures out how to make money doing just middle-state publication. He’s also beaten the original Super Mario Bros. Twice.   “Beware of Heroes.” Frank Herbert offers… Continue Reading

Self-organisation in Video Games:

Political Message v Political Possibilities

Screen Shot of comment thread

In the above comment on, commenter “matt” is referring to [Masterjun]’s (going by “true” on this message thread) hack, Total Control. In it, the games Pong and Snake were recreated within Super Mario World (1990), using what appeared to be random controller commands. In fact, they were frame-specific inputs exploiting various bugs to alter the source code on an original SNES running an unaltered game cartridge, all done live at the Awesome Games Done Quick 2013 event. Taking into account the very limited resources available, [Masterjun]’s effort in highlighting the flexibility of this medium is remarkable; simply by manipulating known input glitches, [Masterjun] changed the game as we know it. Continue Reading

The Game Jam

Creativity and Community

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 2.23.56 AM

Game jams are not without controversy. Ostensibly a community-based event that fosters enthusiasm and creativity, game jams do not always reflect these ideals in practice. As the lead organizer of two game jams in Waterloo, Ontario, I’ve had the opportunity to develop a perspective on what this event is—and no, it doesn’t live up to its hype, but jamming is not a terrible idea. The enthusiasm, creativity, and community promised by game jams are important and needed in a performance-obsessed society, and although game jams do not always deliver on these ideals in practice, they have the potential to do so. Continue Reading