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

I Put on my Robe & Wizard Hat

A Brief Introduction to Erotic Role Play

Essay - RobeAndHat

At the heart of this post is an effort to define and explain the social phenomenon of erotic role play for those unfamiliar with the term. The post compares and contrasts erotic role play with other types of online sexuality and after arriving at a thorough definition, asks the dreaded ‘so what?’ question. Rather than summarise the findings of my research, as I have laboriously done in my recently-defended thesis, I would instead like to use this blog post as an opportunity to highlight some of the questions that arise from playing with erotic content in imaginary worlds. Although, through research, I have developed my own answers to some of these questions, they are presented here as a rhetorical exercise to illustrate not only the fruitfulness in studying how erotic role players play with sexuality, but also what this play might mean to our conceptualisation of role playing games, reality, and relationships. Answers, musings, and follow up questions are encouraged in the comments. Continue Reading

Meaningful Play

Anti-Immersive Aesthetics in Serious Videogames

Essay - Sept 12th

Educational and/or serious videogames have seldom been popular among mainstream game audiences, but that hasn’t stopped the recent onslaught of indie developers from trying to use their games to explore complex themes outside the realm of pure entertainment. Games that try to engage players in meaningful play are often criticized for not being enjoyable. Yet, is that because they aren’t well designed, or is it because audiences aren’t used to games that don’t try to heavily immerse them in computer graphics? Continue Reading