The September issue of Game Informer features a profile of someone they describe variously as “one of the leading thinkers about video games in the world” and “The Game Academic.” I am not certain I know who they are talking about but the guy in the picture looks remarkably like me.
As a result of this story, this blog is probably seeing at least a modest influx of visitors from readers of Game Informer magazine, which is given away free with purchases at one of the leading games retail chains. I thought I would flag for these visitors some past posts on games which extend on points raised in the interview and provide a bit more background about my work in game studies.
Games as Meaningful Expression
With Stephanie Barish
With Eric Zimmerman
With Chris Kohler
With Peter Ludlow
With Wagner James Au
If you would like to read some more of my writing on games, check out the following articles which are available online:
Eight Myths about Video Games Debunked
As I suggested in the interview, my interest in games dates back to playing Pong when it first was released in the market. But my transformative experience came when I bought my son a NES for Christmas and I saw Super Mario Bros. for the first time. I was so astonished by what video games had become already and became convinced that this was going to become an even more important medium in the future. I’ve been studying and writing about video games for sixteen plus years.
Along the way, my involvement with games has led me to:
host several conferences on computer games, including From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games; Computer and Video Games Come of Age; and two Education Arcade conferences held in conjunction with E3, the major trade show in the video games industry;
Doing consulting work for Brenda Laurel at Purple Moon and conducting a Creative Leaders program for EA;
Co-Editing From Barbie to Mortal Kombat with Justine Castell;
Testifying before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee about games and violence in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting;
Defending Grand Theft Auto on the Donahue Program and taking some hits for my efforts;
authoring a white paper for the MacArthur Foundation which, among other things, stresses the value of games-based skills;
overseeing a team which is producing digital documentaries on topics, such as the Big Games Movement;
appearing in a range of documentary films about games and games culture, including PBS’s Video Games Revolution;
helping to start GAMBIT, a collaboration between MIT and the Singapore Media Development Authority to conduct games design and research projects;
overseeing a range of thesis projects dealing with games secrets, morality and ethics in game design, mastery and multiplayer games, representations of adolescence in games, and a range of other topics;
Writing the monthly Applied Game Theory column with Kurt Squire for Computer Games Magazine;
and much much more.
In the interview, I talked about the growth of games studies as a field. I thought I would also throw out some pointers to those wanting to learn more about academic games studies.
Here are some pointers:
Some Key Blogs:
Some Conferences and Organizations
Some recent books I’d recommend:
Jesper Juuls, Half Real
T. L. Taylor, Play Between Worlds
Mia Consalvo, Cheating
Ian Bogost, Persuasive Games
James Paul Gee, Video Games Are Good For Your Soul
Pat Harrigan and Noah Waldrup-Fruin, Second Person
Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salens, The Game Design Reader
This list only scratches the surface, but hopefully it will allow those of you who are discovering academic game studies for the first time a point of entry into this much much larger conversation.