Building on the last essay about the role of politics in video games, this essay will engage in a case study of how the idea that a game is not political often falls apart. Instead of trying to build a wall, it is better for us to tear that wall apart to be able to talk more honestly about how art/entertainment and politics are connected.
Video games have often been the subject of political controversies, and one such controversy is that they should “stay out” of politics entirely. People often want video games to just be about entertainment and nothing more. However, that argument misunderstands how both politics and entertainment work. In this essay I’ll explore the meaning of “politics” and how video games fit into political discussion.
When we play games, one thing we sometimes do is replay games, for a wide variety of reasons. But when it comes to designing games or talking about them, what is it that makes a game “replayable”? In this essay I’ll explore some factors that contribute to the idea of replayability in games.
One thing we rely on when we talk about games is categories: those little boxes that tell us what genre a game belongs to. And yet, those categories are often vague or messy, and can lead to a lot of (often silly) debates. So in this essay I will propose some broad ideas about what categories are for and how we might rethink our use of them.
Have you ever looked at a lineup of major game releases, only to feel like there are way too many sequels, and not many new properties? In this essay I will explore why we can often end up seeing a lot of longrunning video game franchises, and why that can often cause a problem for the games themselves.
Games have been getting bigger and taking longer to finish. It’s not uncommon to see big games boast about how many hours it will take to do everything. But is this tendency towards bigger maps and longer playtimes actually valuable?
What makes a given game mechanic and a given genre “compatible”? As easy as it might be to say that some combinations aren’t compatible, the problem is actually much more difficult to solve, and demands careful attention.
Video games often allow you to choose how you want the game to end, often by quite literally asking you which ending you want. But presenting stories in this way is ultimately counterproductive. In this essay, I’ll explore the idea of how asking players to pick the ending they want generally undermines the ultimately purpose of both storytelling and interaction.
Crunch is an aspect of video game development that has been gaining attention in recent years. And for those who are aware of what it is, it’s horrific to even read about. In this essay I take a deeper dive to examine crunch through the lens of moral philosophy to help put into broader terms just exactly why crunch is wrong.
“Why do people play video games?” The question seems easy to answer, but will that answer tell us much? In this essay I dig a bit more into the question of why people play video games to provide some ideas for how we might better talk about video games with other people.