First Person Podcast Episode 12

Horror Games with Special Guest Michael Lutz

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This month on the First Person Podcast Betsy, Rob and I are joined by our first-ever special guest Michael Lutz to discuss some of the latest trends in horror games including indie horror, glitch horror, interactive fiction and VR. What is the role of jump scares in the modern horror game? What kind of fears does glitch horror prey on? Is P.T. really a failed project and how might Resident Evil 7 be following in its footsteps? We also talk to Michael about his work and how he manages to balance his academic and creative projects. Continue Reading

The Games People Replay

Toward a Performative Account of “Replayability”

Essay - The Games People Replay

The way in which Fernández-Vara’s comments turn attention back to the player of the game also raises the question of why certain games are repeatedly played by certain players, and furthermore why the games are esteemed for this quality, commonly called “replayability” or “replay value.” In 2010, Ben Abraham posted a polemical entry to his personal blog in which he points out that as pieces of software, games by definition may be played multiple times. He alleges “replayability” is a “non-word … lack[ing] any actual meaningful content,” because while we can understand replayability in a general sense, in individual cases its particulars remain elusive and difficult to quantify. Speculatively, Abraham asks if “replayability” might in fact be used as a “shorthand way to refer to a series of unrelated yet seemingly connected factors that influence whether someone is willing to endure repeat exposure to a game-type experience?” A game may have a branching narrative, multiplayer components, or unlockable content that becomes available as the player reaches certain benchmarks; none of this is a guarantee, however, that any given player will be willing to play the game multiple times. Continue Reading