“Warning: Infected inside, do not enter”
Zombies and the Liberal Arts

On Saturday, April 18, I gave the following talk at Bard College, as part of Bard's Experimental Humanities Mellon lecture series. Sorry if it doesn't read as an "academic" talk. It's written to be told. I’m going to tell you a story today about zombies and the liberal arts. There are a lot of places… Continue reading “Warning: Infected inside, do not enter”Zombies and the Liberal Arts

Closed Bots and Green Bots
Two Archetypes of Computational Media

The Electronic Literature Organization's annual conference was last week in Milwaukee. I hated to miss it, but I hated even more the idea of missing my kids' last days of school here in Madrid, where we've been since January. If I had been at the ELO conference, I'd have no doubt talked about bots. I… Continue reading Closed Bots and Green BotsTwo Archetypes of Computational Media

Sites of Pain and Telling

The Expressive Work of Spaces of Torture in Videogames At the 2014 MLA conference in Chicago I appeared on a panel called "Torture and Popular Culture." I used the occasion to revisit a topic I had written about several years earlier—representations of torture-interrogation in videogames. My comments are suggestive more than conclusive, and I am… Continue reading Sites of Pain and Telling

Be Weird and Other Game Design Tips

Instead of writing papers at the end of the semester in my videogame studies class, my students are building videogames. After all, what better way to understand games than to make one, a notion Ian Bogost calls carpentry. My students aren’t designing merely any kind of game. They are designing metagames, by which I mean… Continue reading Be Weird and Other Game Design Tips

Videogame Studies Panels at SCMS 2012

Later this week I'll be heading to Boston for the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. I'm delighted to be presenting on a panel organized by my frequent conspirator Zach Whalen on code studies and videogames. I'm also delighted that there will be an abundance of other panels devoted to videogames.… Continue reading Videogame Studies Panels at SCMS 2012

Close Playing: Literary Methods and Videogame Studies (MLA 2012 Roundtable)

I recently received word that my proposal for a roundtable on videogame studies was accepted for the annual Modern Language Association Convention, to be held next January in Seattle, Washington. I'm very excited for myself and my fellow participants: Ed Chang, Steve Jones, Jason Rhody, Anastasia Salter, Tim Welsh, and Zach Whalen. (Updated with links… Continue reading Close Playing: Literary Methods and Videogame Studies (MLA 2012 Roundtable)

Gamifying Gamification by Making It Less Gamely

In a recent post on the group blog Play the Past, I wrote about the way torture-interrogation is often described by its proponents as a kind of game. I wrestled for a long time with the title of that post: "The Gamification of Interrogation." Why? Because I oppose the general trend toward "gamifying" real world… Continue reading Gamifying Gamification by Making It Less Gamely