First Person Podcast Episode 21

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

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

Mobile Games, SimCity BuildIt, and Neoliberalism

A screenshot of a city in SimCity BuildIt

EA Mobile’s SimCity BuildIt, released for iOS and Android in 2014, is the newest entry in the historic SimCity franchise. With forty million players worldwide, SimCity BuildIt is also the most played SimCity game ever released (Lazarides, 2015). Its expansive international community seems, at first, to procedurally deliver on the promises of free market globalization, achieving an equitable marketplace in which anyone, anywhere can participate. While playing SimCity BuildIt, I have traded goods with players who speak Arabic, French, Japanese, and Russian (though we have never exchanged a word). Continue Reading

The Mobile Story

Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies

Jason Farman’s 2014 edited collection The Mobile Story: Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies follows closely on the heels of his critically acclaimed Mobile Interface Theory (2011). This new book features twenty articles from a diverse range of voices working in the field of locative media theory and design, each bringing his or her own background to bear on the topic of mobile narratives. Many of the challenges, considerations, and theoretical perspectives addressed in this volume serve to complement what has thus far remained a gap in game studies: the growing popularity of mobile games. While there have been several articles and books on the rise of mobile, social, and other “casual” games, most notably Jesper Juul’s A Casual Revolution (2012), there has been very little written on narrative in mobile games. Farman’s collection doesn’t fall back on the emergence of locative media as a field in the early 2000s, but rather propels both design and scholarship forward by acknowledging what I would call a second generation of mobile narratives and games, linked with the convergence of GPS and high-speed wireless Internet in smartphones since the iPhone 3G. Continue Reading