First Person Podcast Episode 21

Love Live the Queen: Love Nikki and the politics of playing dress-up

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Confession: the subject for this podcast was selected without my having the first clue as to its contents. Before the start of this month I had never heard of Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen (2017), knew almost as little about mobile games (does one go to the Pokemon, or is it that the Pokemon go with you?), and I certainly was unfamiliar with any controversy involving Love Nikki’s procedural dress-up competition mechanics. Continue Reading

Adult Supervision Encouraged

A review of Rated M for Mature: Sex and Sexuality in Games

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Over the past few years, games have begun to feature sexual content that is increasingly nuanced, and which moves away from the conspicuous treatments that have fueled political outcries in the past. Rated M for Mature seeks to offer a sustained scholarly response to these developments, to foster critical debates of sex in video games, and to push for new considerations and even implementations of sexuality in games. The collection of essays is categorized into three distinct sections: the first, “The (r)evolution of video games and sex”, examines the history of sexual content in video games and the varying political and social responses; the second, “Video games and sexual (dis)embodiment”, explores the use of sex and sexuality in both video game play and practice; the third, “Systems/spaces of sexual (im)possibilities”, considers the interplay between sexual content and game design. Continue Reading

Playing the Photographer

in The Last of Us Remastered: a New Frontier of Digital Photography?

Essay - Playing the Photographer

In-game screenshots are by no means a new phenomenon; publishers have long used the techniques of live-action photography to capture scenes of their video games for use as advertising materials. So too have gamers had the opportunity to take screenshots during play for later reflection and sharing. The photo editor mode in TLOUR is unique in that it does not require technological literacy, such as modding or coding, to operate this feature. A player does not need specialized skills beyond the ability to play the game in order to take photos. This democratization of game photography may be another commercial impetus, a means of Naughty Dog to get more people creating promotional content for their game, but it also enables a new means of play and self-expression. Continue Reading