"Camus sharply observed, 'Life is short, and it is sinful to waste one’s time… But being active is still wasting one’s time, if in doing one loses oneself.' The increasingly workaholic formulation of video games and flow is exactly this sort of 'active wasting.'"
"The Beginner’s Guide is so suspicious because while it blusters naively about complexity and unknowability, it at the same time demonstrates only the most rudimentary and rigid vision of the relationship between art and life. The game seems to be built on the premise that the audience will never be able to grasp the deep arcane secret that the David Bowie we see in Labyrinth both is and isn’t himself."
Essays On The Global Esports Phenomenon
"You should read this, no matter if you're already playing MOBAs or, like me, just stand at a distance, wondering at the chorus of millions cheering for a sport that seems to come straight out of a Philip K. Dick novel." - Rainer Sigl
Exploring In-Game Photography & Photo History
"So what were people doing with photography for that whole previous century if they weren't sure if it was art? I know I'm being facetious, but the question begs a number of interesting followup-questions which directly inform what is happening now with in-game and virtual photography: Why do people make photographs? Who makes photographs? What kinds of photographs get made? What does photography mean in the internet age?"
Dwarf Fortress NYC: ASCII Wallpaper, Conceptual Maps, and The Landscape Of The Museum
"We live in a world with nested landscapes: some visual, some institutional, and the game is not just an ASCII screen saver, it is a meditation on how overwhelmingly complex it is to even make a crude dwarf chair, let alone the low-slung museum-pieces sitting in the next room over."
Echoing Histories: Impressionism, Indie Games, and Artistic Revolutions
"Today Impressionism is so tame that your parents probably have a cheap reproduction of a Monet waterlily or Degas dancer sitting above their toilette. But in its historical context Impressionism was radical and the circumstances surrounding its rise have some fascinating social and artistic overlaps with the current tensions rising in the gaming community with the growing prominence of 'indie' games."
Hiroshi Hamaya's Yukiguni
"Can you imagine a winter 400 years ago in the age of knights and drafty castles? I ask that question honestly because its answer, which relies on the scope of our (and the designers') travels and imagination, actually defines what can be created to experience in games.."
"Both Gone Home and Ready Player One are laden with inside information, allusions, and culturally specific cues... The closer you look at the tiny microcosm of the house in Gone Home, the more the whole shimmering field of possibility, past and present, in life blooms in all its diverse glory. Not only that, but it lights the fire of creation, lauding the long history of fans as DIY creators, which is carried on so brightly in communities like Twine games and indie comics."
A Few Thoughts On The Future of Virtual Photography
"The deluge of digitally-generated spaces are all-pervasive in our businesses, in our media, in our hobbies, in our leisure, and in our relationships... The physics, the lights, the textures, and even the rules governing the rendering of perspective, are all crafted to seamlessly let us experience the space as being as visually real as possible."
The Legacy of Geeks, Bros, and Filthy Casuals
"We've reached a tipping point where... publishers are basically forced into making choices between limited historical markets or expanded future markets. This, by its very nature, has the potential to change the esports culture. If radical enough, it could reshape how we define videogame fandom as a whole by bringing massive swells of new, more diverse fans into the dedicated cultural sphere."
Civilization Outside Stasis
"In the end, contemplating starting virtual WWII in a time of real turmoil is a deeply personal but far reaching question: Are video games simply shiny toys designed for passive entertainment, or can video games be a deep part of a complex life outside of a narrow marketing demographic?
Global Game, Global Life
"Above the swirl of fans on the street, there is a hundred foot banner flapping against the side of the stadium. On it is a CG rendering of the winner’s trophy, the Summoner’s Cup. Amidst the steel skeletons of high rises, a broken radio rattles out half Spanish and half static as the overcast day inches imperceptibly to dusk. Hundreds of fans huddle in front of the stadium to shoot selfies that prove that this City of Angels battle royal is real."
How To Break Up With a Videogame
"These gaps in our language and these places where we have yet to construct shared stories are the exact places where we have the most to discover and learn. To own our future, we need to be able to share what we’ve learned, what we’ve lost, how we’ve been wounded, and how we’ve been inspired, even if it has been immersed in video games."
"Fuming over beers afterward, I realized that I couldn’t even figure out what a 'real fan' or 'bad fan' was, and in fact, I can’t remember when in the past I really cared if I was counted amongst the legion of anime fans in America. But this also got me thinking back to if I ever really knew what a 'real fan' was."
The History of Women In Esports
"Even as D.Va becomes a political symbol amongst Korean youth, there remains one aspect of esports that hasn’t changed much: the lack of top-tier women professional players. So I thought it would be the perfect time to talk with Morgan Romine, Director of Initiatives at Any Key, an organization working to help competitive video gaming become more inclusive, about the history and future of women in esports. "
The Next Century
Some Thoughts On The Future of Esports
"Remember: the spry young gents from Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first openly professional baseball team, taking to the field with their handsomely groomed mustachios in 1869. My grandfather would become a fan of the sport some 60 years later, with the rabble-rousing medium of television revolutionizing sports a decade after that. "
We Should Pay More Attention To Esports Losers
"Many of our culture’s favorite sports stories, from the old standby “Casey at the Bat” to more modern movies such as Money Ball or League of Their Own, end with the main protagonist failing to win. Though it seems counterintuitive to tell stories about competitions that don’t focus on the winner, as David Wong over at Cracked pointed out one of the main reasons that the current bevy of superhero films are so often forgettable is that they have very little narrative tension because the heroes ridiculously superior to the villains."
Spirit Breaker Bash
"What makes Spirt Breaker’s 17% bash, critical hits, and the other unholy riders in the host of random chance so contentious in esports, is this longstanding cultural tension between the simulated, the game, and the actual, the sport."
The Hidden Worlds of Esports Stages
"Seated at another table to stage right are the three announcers, perched like they are noisy patrons peering over at the next table at a bar. Some Hearthstone tournaments even have a small side room on stage left where the other tournament players can mill about, play practice games, watch the main event, and drink from tankards, fleshing out the illusion that the games are taking place in a crowded bar."
The Rules Change Entirely:
Jason Bender On The Hidden History Of CNCTV and Mobile Game Design
"Marketing runs their own show, right? They're not beholden to the dev team, especially at EA where marketing had quite a bit of support. So they had a budget, they had an idea, and that was that. They ran with it and we thought it sounded fun. But it did sound kind of crazy. "