Sunday, June 15, 2014

Another Quick Update

Apologies for continuing to not update this website. I've been teaching the last semester and that's taken up most of my time. I have been writing elsewhere, though. I've written a few quick columns for The Conversation. This one about Jane McGonigal's dubious play-Tetris-to-cure-PTSD project/blog was pretty popular. I've also written about how the Liberal Government's draconian, scorched-earth budget effects game makers in Australia, and my presumptive hostility towards blockbuster games with Themes. I wrote a piece for ABC's The Drum about esports and videogame spectatorship. I wrote a piece for Overland's print journal that has since been republished online, where I write the letter I would have written to Susan Sontag about games criticism if she were still alive. I'm pretty happy with that one. And, for the newly launched Unwinnable Weekly, I have a "Notes on Luftrausers" post in Issue 2, which I strongly encourage you to chip in some money for. I think this is my favourite Notes post yet, maybe, and I'm so thrilled to be able to get it published somewhere.

I've also been taking advantage of my ungaming tumblr to throw out a whole heap of super rough, unfinished thoughts. The kind of stuff that probably would end up as blog posts here eventually if I had more time. It's been really liberating to just dump them there, half-formed, and get people to engage with them. I really love how the design of tumblr kind of encourages that messiness. I've been using that blog for both gaming and non-gaming things. Here are some really rough thoughts on Final Fantasy XII that I am currently fleshing out into a Notes post. Here are some thoughts on why this console generation transition is really interesting because nothing is happening. Here are some thoughts about the federal budget which was, literally, forged from satan's own toilet paper. Here are some notes on David Sudnow's Pilgrim in the Microworld, which is a really great book.

Oh yeah, let's talk about what I've been reading. I read both of David Sudnow's books, Ways of the Hand (about becoming a jazz pianist) and Pilgrims in the Microworld (about getting really good at Breakout!) and both are excellent, closely descriptive accounts of what the hands do at various tools. Both are definitely worth a read if you have an interest in the bodily, phenomenological pleasures of videogames.

I also just this last week read Anna Anthropy's new book on ZZT, written for Boss Fight Books, and it is really remarkable. It does this incredible job of transitioning from a close, detailed look at 'the game itself' as this kind of seed in the first chapter that then shoots outwards into this vast discussion of communities and an important snapshot of a particular moment in time. Not only is it a really great analysis of a game, capturing both personal and broader cultural implications, but a really significant contribution to videogame history. Here is a cool quote from towards the end of the book on exactly why that history is important. Here is Cameron Kunzelman's review for Paste.

I bought a WiiU last week for Mario Kart 8, and have since been instagram-ing countless slow-motion replays. I should have a piece up soon about how spectacular (in the most literal sense) that game is. I also finally played A Dark Room to completion on iOS after reading Cara Ellison's piece on the first Unwinnable Weekly, and it was truly remarkable. I've also gotten sucked into Pocket Trains because NimbleBit knows how to hook me.

And that is what I am up to.

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