This article is part 1 of a 2-part series on prison management games, and the controversies surrounding them. You can read the introductory remarks for the series here. Apparently, Prison Tycoon isn’t much fun to play. “Apparently”, because even though I’ve played it myself, I wasn’t seeking entertainment. In
N.B. This post is an introduction to an upcoming two-part series on prison management games, and the controversies surrounding them. It’s a fair question to ask: are prison management games any less controversial than your average violent video game? Or any opus from the Grand Theft Auto family,
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.
Drama in the Delta is an immersive role-playing videogame under development at the University of California, San Diego. The historical backdrop to Drama in the Delta could not be more compelling. Funded by the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities, Drama in the Delta takes the player to two Japanese American
I argued in my last post on Play the Past that the simulation game Prison Tycoon can only imagine an inwardly-directed, self-contained prison world—a world we know to be at odds with prisons in the real world. In the comments to that post, Peter Christiansen suggested comparing Prison Tycoon with
In my previous post on Play the Past I introduced the idea of virtual prisons, noting that prisons appear in videogames as either spaces of confinement or spaces of control. In the first kind of game, the player tries to escape the prison. In the second kind of game, the
I have a longstanding interest in the way videogames imagine a part of our cultural heritage that many of us might enjoy experiencing in a game or on a cinema screen, but which we’d presumably rather not know firsthand, and that is the role of prisons, asylums, and hospitals in