Games and other playable forms, from interactive fictions to improvisational theater, involve role playing and story–something played and something told. In Second Person, game designers, authors, artists, and scholars examine the different ways in which these two elements work together in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), computer games, board games, card games, electronic literature, political simulations, locative media, massively multiplayer games, and other forms that invite and structure play.
Continuing their tradition (from the first book in the series, First Person), the Electronic Book Review has published the essays online and invited contributors to continue the conversation.
The ebr publication of the texts will not only open the book to readers across the Internet, but will also offer a site for continued conversation as readers respond to the texts through ripostes.
Luckily, I was invited to deliver a riposte. Out of the essays in the publication, I chose pervasive game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal‘s essay: ‘The Puppet Master Problem: Design for Real-World, Mission-Based Gaming‘. Whilst writing my ‘riposte’ (which could be a review, criticism, anything), I found myself fascinated with a sub-text and context of McGonigal’s essay. My piece transformed, then, into a metadiscussion about what I called ‘The Designer-Academic Problem’.
This ‘riposte’ does not directly address the subject matter of Jane McGonigal’s essay, ‘The Puppet Master Problem: Design for Real-World, Mission-Based Gaming’ in Second Person. Instead, this article is a rumination of one of the subtexts of McGonigal’s piece, a subtext that (to me) pervades some of the quotes McGonigal cites, informs her arguments, and is part of the context of her and others’ writings: the designer-academic problem. What is the designer-academic problem? Obviously, being a designer as well as an academic is not intrinsically a problem. Being a designer-academic does, however, present its own challenges, for designer-academics and their readers.
This riposte is now online. I would love to hear your views!
All of the essays and ripostes from Second Person and First Person are online here.
Hello! Apologies for the delay in blogging my updates here. At the moment, while I’m concentrating on finishing my PhD, I don’t have the time to blog my thoughts, experiences and research insights here as I would like to. I’m often asked what I’m doing though. So, besides my PhD writing, writing essays for forthcoming book chapters (can’t say what they are yet), mentoring and consulting on projects with beautiful design challenges (can’t say what they are yet either), art judging (can’t say these yet), I can say I’ve been continuing some of my guest lecturing. Here are the guest lectures I’ve given so far this year:
(2008) Invited Lecturer & Workshop Facilitator, â€˜Polymorphic Fictionsâ€™, Writing Between the Lines (Ficto-Criticism) (ENGL6979), Department of English, University of Sydney. Co-ordinated by Dr Rebecca Johinke. Workshop on 27th May, 2008.
(2008) Invited Lecturer & Workshop Facilitator, â€˜Hypertext Fictionâ€™, Writing Between the Lines (Ficto-Criticism) (ENGL6979), Department of English, University of Sydney. Co-ordinated by Dr Rebecca Johinke. Workshop on 20th May, 2008.
(2008) Invited Lecturer, â€˜Games, Stories & the Multi-Platform Ecologyâ€™, Introduction to Game Design (SOMA3622), School of Media Arts, College of Fine Arts, UNSW. Co-ordinated by Erik Champion. Lecture on 20th May, 2008.
(2008) Invited Lecturer, â€˜Games & Animation in the Multi-Platform Contextâ€™, Innovations in Storytelling, Screen Studies (SCS110), Graduate Certificate in Film, Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Adelaide. Lecture & workshop on 12th May, 2008.
(2008) Invited Lecturer, â€˜Interactivity, Games and Films in the Multi-Platform Contextâ€™, Innovations in Storytelling, Screen Studies (SCS110), Graduate Certificate in Film, Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Melbourne. Co-ordinator: Allan Cameron. Lecture & workshop on 30th April, 2008.
(2008) Invited Lecturer, â€˜History of Gamesâ€™, Department of Software Engineering, Faculty of Information Technology at The University of Technology, Sydney, Co-ordinated by Yusuf Pisan, 28th Feb.