Talking About Games: Not a Horror Game

Horror as a genre of video games can be both incredibly appealing and a source for a lot of debate. One major point of contention is what is really “scary.” However, I present the argument that trying to argue about what is and isn’t scary is ultimately pointless, as it confuses a very personal experience for a point of objective debate.

The Ticking Timebomb

A common way to make a game’s story seem interesting and urgent is by telling the player they have a limited time to complete it – there’s a ticking timebomb that will cause disaster. But often the use of this timebomb in storytelling creates problems for the gameplay that needs to be addressed. This essay will look at the problem of the ticking timebomb through the lens of how it is used in Cyberpunk 2077.

Talking About Games: “This Is Not a Political Statement”

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.

Talking About Games: Video Games and Politics

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.

Talking About Games: Categories

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.