First Person Podcast Episode 23

Surveilling Stealth Action Games

What makes a stealth action game? Among the titles discussed in this podcast, including (and predominantly) the Metal Gear Solid series, Assassin’s Creed, Hitman, Splinter Cell, Batman: Arkham Asylum and, to some extent, Horizon Zero Dawn, a distinction was placed between stealth as a procedural mechanic baked into all aspects of the game design and stealth as an additional option afforded to players. Continue Reading


Games are interesting to us for a few reasons. The first is this idea of Procedural Rhetoric put forth by Ian Bogost. For Bogost, software programs are a unique medium in their procedural rules, a flow of loops and state changes governed by conditional elements. Leveraging this idea for the purposes of employing rhetoric is then “the practice of using processes persuasively.” Our 2014 collaboration with the New York Civil Liberties Union aimed to put this into practice. Continue Reading

Casual Surveillance

Why We Should Pay Attention to Candy Crush Saga & Other Casual Games

I’ve long identified as a gamer. First I learned how to program in BASIC and create simple computer games, thrilled that I could influence the action in such a kinesthetic, immediate way. Later I enjoyed playing games on various systems—Frogger and Adventure on my Atari 2600; Bubble Bobble and The Legend of Zelda on that old-school gray Nintendo Entertainment System; Parasite Eve and Silent Hill on my PlayStation; Nintendogs and Animal Crossing on my sweet pink Nintendo DS that accompanied me on many an airplane ride to an academic conference. One thing has remained consistent, despite the changes in hardware, peripherals, and gaming systems over the years: I still gravitate towards games that I can play on my own in sessions as short or as long as I like. I prefer first-person gameplay to massively multiplayer, and I find that I enjoy games with relatively simple rules and controls–games that I can pick up, learn quickly, play for a while, and then put away again for some time if I wish. Continue Reading