First Person Podcast Episode 54 – The Social Functions of Roleplaying Games

Embed code: FirstPersonPodcast · First Person Podcast Episode 54: The Social Functions Of RPGs Welcome to the 54th episode of the First Person Podcast. This month will be examining the social functions of roleplaying games: how the stories and characters… Continue Reading

Rediscovering Politics in RPGs

The Case of Disco Elysium

Players in Disco Elysium are presented with a different set of choices than those that prevail in conventional RPGs, but this on its face isn’t important if we don’t articulate how and why choice matters in the RPG genre. Player agency in RPGs always begins and ends with some expectation of choice. It is in RPGs where expectations of player agency are highest and where the idea of what constitutes freedom is most produced. Choice thus marks a common point of departure for RPGs and how they are received. However, it is important not to accept the notion of agency uncritically and question its significance based on its own conceptual ambiguity (Stang, 2019). Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 38

Companions in Gaming

Welcome back to First Person Podcast after our August hiatus. On this episode you are joined by, Giuseppe Femia, the FPS Podcast Producer, Sabrina Sgandurra, our new Editor-in-Chief/Book Reviews Editor, Lia Black, our new Co-Managing Editor/Commentaries Editor, and Patrick Dolan, our other new Co-Managing Editor/Essays Editor. In this episode, we’re going to be discussing the companions that venture forward with us into the night. Or, the ones that stand by us through the good and the bad. We will be examining and discussing the plot significance that the in-game companions have and what they undergo while keeping us company. Continue Reading

“Bullet Feels”

First Person Podcast Episode 6

Episode 6 of the First Person Podcast will discuss the critical darling Undertale. We cover the attempts at gender neutrality, the ups and downs of pacifism, the anxiety produced when mixing bullet hell and RPG elements and the barriers to entry when playing such a meta game. This podcast is full of spoilers so we recommend you play Undertale first if you were planning on it. Continue Reading

Why Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is

One of My Favourite RPGs Ever

It was a hazy, mid-May afternoon in when PES United faced off against Merseyside Red in one of the greatest games in the English League’s history. It had to come down to this: Merseyside Red had stolen the title from PES United the previous season when PES United’s captain Iouga went down with an injury—and the club’s chances went down with him. In the off-season Merseyside Red swooped in to sign Ordaz, who had made his name with PES United. Continue Reading

Dungeons, Dragons, & Digital Denizens

If you’re immersed in game studies long enough—or just interested in videogames in general—you’re bound to pick up certain acronyms. FPS. RTS. MMO (or, if you’ve really been around long enough, MOO or MUD). And RPG, the abbreviation for role-playing game. In consideration of the quotation above, just what does the RPG have to offer us in terms of thinking about contemporary living? The answer may be a negative one; on the one side, the RPG has its roots in Dungeons & Dragons and fantasy stories, and those roots in turn lead to J. R. R. Tolkien, who famously declared that the use of fantasy was escapism. And on the other side of the Dungeons and Dragons relation, you have statistics and numbers, which lead to horror stories of obsessive grinding and wasteful time commitments. In their anthology on RPGs, Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens: The Digital Role-Playing Game, editors Gerald A. Voorhees, Joshua Call, and Katie Whitlock provide no definitive answers, and, indeed, any definitive answers for such a complex question should be suspect. What the book offers instead is three sections, sixteen chapters, some four hundred pages on how games commonly labeled as RPG are “designed, played, and made relevant to contemporary society and culture” (18). And while the book tends to dwell on particular areas of the RPG catalog more than others, the quality of the essays make it worth reading for anyone working on a game that fits under the RPG umbrella—and their variety offer several very interesting yet very different potential answers to our question. Continue Reading