The Crowd, History, and Videogames

Sep 19, 12 The Crowd, History, and Videogames

Posted by in Articles

The future belongs to crowds. Don DeLillo observes this in Mao II (1991), as his characters watch a mass wedding of six thousand couples in Yankee Stadium. In light of the Occupy Movement, los indignados, the Arab Spring, and ongoing protests and marches throughout the world, it’s tempting to say that the future is here. But...

read more

Playing the Powerless in Videogames about the Powerless

Apr 17, 12 Playing the Powerless in Videogames about the Powerless

Posted by in Articles

In the 1993 afterward to The Bluest Eye (1970), Toni Morrison explains the origins of her devastating debut novel. It began in 1962 with an examination of racial self-loathing. “I focused,” Morrison writes, “on how something as grotesque as the demonization of an entire race could take hold inside the most delicate...

read more

The Limits of Playing the Powerless and the Doomed in Videogames

Apr 10, 12 The Limits of Playing the Powerless and the Doomed in Videogames

Posted by in Articles

In an unusually redemptive reading of the widely disparaged Atari VCS game E.T. (1982), Ian Bogost observes that the game perfectly (though perhaps not intentionally) captured the essence of Spielberg’s hit movie. “It was a film about alienation, not about aliens,” Bogost writes in How to Do Things with Videogames....

read more

Simulating Detroit, A City with Cars and Crime but No Races

Feb 14, 12 Simulating Detroit, A City with Cars and Crime but No Races

Posted by in Articles

Detroit bears the distinction of being one of the few cities in the world whose name alone stands in for an entire industry. Automobiles. Ford, Chrysler, GM. And in the distant past, all those smaller manufacturers gobbled up by the Big Three—Lincoln, Buick, Chevrolet, and so on—and then those even smaller companies that...

read more

What Comes before the Platform: The Refuse of Videogames

Jan 17, 12 What Comes before the Platform: The Refuse of Videogames

Posted by in Articles

I’ve tended to focus on close readings of individual videogames on Play the Past—such as my look at Prison Tycoon or the code of JFK: Reloaded—and while these readings have been informed by a progressive sensibility, they have been plagued by a problem common in videogame studies. And that problem is the emphasis...

read more