Roguelites, Neoliberalism, and Social Media

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In this essay I argue that roguelites are popular because 1) they reflect the kind of neoliberal values embedded within CYOA books, but also that 2) their fundamental design principles simulate and exaggerate the systems that fuel addictions to social media. To put it another way, I contend that the recent popularity of roguelites is no accident; rather, that it coexists alongside both the powerful neoliberal imperatives to risk it all, work hard, and adapt, but also the more immediate excitements, disappointments, and worries of a media landscape within which many people constantly define and value themselves. Continue Reading

The Paratext of Video Games

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A compelling but often overlooked part of video games is what we call the ‘paratext.’ The term was coined in literary studies to discuss the pieces of information which appear outside of the text (the main body of writing), but which nonetheless participate in and influence our reception of the text. For instance, the paratext of a novel would be the novel’s title, the author’s name, the synopsis on the back cover, chapter titles, publication details, or the cover art. It appears marginal to the experience of the text, but actually provides a significant network of ideas around which our approach to the text is shaped. Continue Reading