The Games We Play

In this extended read, Dr Paul Booth presents the findings of a survey of board gamers to find out who played hobby games, what types of games people played, and how people played games together.

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Paul Booth Comment
Video Games Have Always Been Queer

In their latest book, Video Games Have Always Been Queer, Bonnie Ruberg lays out the case for the fabric of play and gaming being essentially queer. That title is, as internet speak suggests, something of a BIG MOOD and can serve as a rallying cry and a reminder: video games have always been queer.

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Games and Shakespeare

In this edition of Games Lab, Dr Stephen Curtis examines the ways in which the Bard and his works have been used as the inspiration or setting for games, both card/board and digital. As well as a brief summary of the general state of Shakespearean games, Stephen discusses what the process of ‘gaming’ Shakespeare can offer to critical discussions of the plays and poems that make up his work.

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Marx at the Arcade

Marx at the Arcade, like Luigi in his haunted mansion, clears out the cobwebs and names the spectre haunting gaming. Woodcock’s text ties together several, hitherto disparate, branches of research and commentary into and of gaming. The text brings together modern labour movements, games criticism, and history under the umbrella of Marxist analysis.

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Dungeons and Dragons is Not a Game!

My title is a provocation: at one level, Dungeons and Dragons is a game, a role-playing game with numerous rules and supplements. At several other levels, D&D is much more than a game. I’m not interested here whether role-playing games are actually games in the same way as other games or in the definition of games, which, as Wittgenstein demonstrated in his Philosophical Investigations, are actually very difficult to define, given the variety of objects and practices that are referred to as games. Nor do I want to discuss here the social practice that is playing D&D (fascinating though this is). Instead, what I’m interested in here is the way in which cultural objects expand beyond their original medium into other media, and how that process affects how we approach the original text, often decentring them.

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Ludopolitics: Videogames Against Control

We’ve never lived in a better worse moment for politics in gaming. Worse in the sense that mass layoffs, union busting, and the leftover gg trash pockmark the landscape like a bad skincare routine, and best in that now is the moment where taking a stand is starting to show its payoff. Game Workers Unite is gaining steam, Queer indie devs and Queer Game Studies are making bigger impacts on the industry and academia, and theorizing the politics of games is a scaffolding taking the shape of a space in which we can all find room. Coeval to this dialectical change is Liam Mitchell’s Ludopolitics: Videogames Against Control published in 2018 by Zero Books.

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Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt Review

On entry the initial room is dimly lit with a glowing neon sign advertising the subject of the exhibition: Videogames. There is sufficient light to navigate and read but enough darkness so that each screen, projection, and CRT monitor pops with colour, drawing each visitor to its glow. The track ‘Nascence’ from the soundtrack of Journey puts the listener into a state of awe while around each corner more iconic videogame music entices further exploration. This is the space containing the V&A’s Design/Play/Disrupt exhibit.

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Charlotte GislamComment
The Vampire Interviews II - Justin Achilli

Justin Achilli led development of Vampire: the Masquerade and Vampire: the Requiem at the turn of the millennium, reinventing the groundbreaking tabletop RPG twice over. Both games represent the Vampire 'franchise’ at its most literary, as Achilli explained when interviewed during research for an upcoming textbook chapter on Vampire and its evolving Gothic…

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Jon GarradComment
The Vampire Interviews I: Olivia Hill

Olivia Hill - Tokyo-based video game producer, author and radical leftist - is also a veteran tabletop game designer, who I interviewed during the research process for an upcoming textbook chapter on the Vampire roleplaying games from White Wolf. Olivia’s responses roamed far across the process of developing tabletop games and the history of the Vampire line, and I share them here with her consent.

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Jon Garrad