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Title: - Video Game Theory and Criticism  •  Size: 61140

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Friday 03-Mar
  • EA's "Black" opens like a film. So why doesn't it feel like one? (16)

  • Thursday 02-Mar
  • Considering Gravity (7)

  • Monday 13-Feb
  • The Medium Is Not The Message (21)

  • Thursday 19-Jan
  • All Your Readers Belong To Us (10)

  • Friday 13-Jan
  • Censorless Violence (12)

  • Tuesday 10-Jan
  • Disneyfied (Disney Fried?) (20)

  • Friday 30-Dec
  • The Escape from Xmas (14)
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap (24)

  • Tuesday 15-Nov
  • Gerbils (19)

  • Thursday 13-Oct
  • Suddenly Serious about Games (12)

  •    Blogging Vacation Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, June 21 2006 @ 03:34 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    After a month of letting posts slide, I'm ready to get back at it.

    Unfortunately, in the big churn of Internet attention, leaving your blog idle for a few weeks usually equals the rapid departure of your regular readers.

    Oh well.

    I guess we need to implement a global blogger vacation policy. You know, some sort of social service that lets a blogger take a few weeks off every year without worry about loosing thier blogger job.

    Just a thought.

    Most Recent Post: 06/21 06:06PM by cfoust


       Alas, GDC At Last Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 08:11 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    And with that, I'll move on to some belated GDC stuff.

    First off, check the pix. As usual, it's a pretty random collection of stuff. But, somehow, this is what GDC is like for me--a random collection of stuff.

    Highlights: Meeting Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi and getting my picture taken. Richard Bartle's acceptance oratory for his First Penguin Award. Eugene Jarvis' acceptance speech for his lifetime acheivement award, the Emily Dickinson game design challenge, the journalists group gathering, Frans Mayra's new dredlocks and hanging out with friends new and old.

    Lowlights: Katamari not winning the Game Developer's choice award for game of the year (much more on that here), Bartle getting cut off for time, missing the Burning Down the House session, missing Will Wright's Spore demo, missing Takahashi's sessions.

    Most Recent Post: 08/25 05:47PM by Anonymous


       Newletter 10.30.03 Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Friday, October 31 2003 @ 06:19 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    ^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v -- Video Game Theory and Criticism

    Sent to you by: David Thomas,


    New content on the site has been a little slow in coming lately. I’ve been busy with teaching my courses, traveling to client locations to make a living and getting ready for Level Up!

    Level Up!
    In three days I will be heading to Utrecht, The Netherlands to attend the first international digital game research conference. I am quite excited to get to see some of the folks I met earlier this year at the Game Developers Conference, as well as finally meeting face-to-face with many of the people I have corresponded with online. Also, I will be presenting a poster on a critical game vocabulary that I have been working on (and teaching courses on) for the past year. If you are going to be at Level Up!, be sure to let me know. Also, I will post about the conference during the week and after on buzzcut as well as on my new blog.

    The New Blog
    I have written for the Denver Post for close to 10 years. For most of that time, I have written a weekly column, Long ago it was about bands, Then, it was about alternative culture, whatever that might be. In the past 4 years or so, it has covered video games. Recently, I had the opportunity to start writing online for the paper. Bloghouse is an effort to bring some more frequent, more personal and less structured coverage to the paper via the Web. My new column is titled GAME ON. And although it will feature plenty of game reviews, it is also a platform for talking about the games business in general.

    I still plan to use buzzcut as my homebase, and to provide (and solicait) smart content for the site. GAME ON will give me a place to talk to a more mainstream reader, to shoot a little more from the hip and to find a home for the many game reviews I want to write!

    Check out the initial efforts at:,1413,36%257E29077%257E,00.html

    La Migra/Crosser
    Speaking of the Denver Post, as a follow-up to the games “La Migra” and “Crosser” I wrote about on buzzcut, I also put together piece for the Post.

    The article features some of the background behind the games. At some point, I am looking forward to running the entire interview I did with Rafael. Interesting guy!

    Original buzzcut piece:

    Article on Denver Post site:,1413,36%257E24769%257E1716120,00.html?search=filter


    The Future is Now
    I posted up a funny quote from the head of Sony America.

    Basically, he was lamenting the business problem that the industry has created for itself—namely planned obsolescence. During the later years of a consoles’ life, they loose steam and stop earning money even thought they still deliver the gaming goods. Kind of reminds me of the scene in “Blade Runner” where Roy Batty complains about the same issue. Of course, Roy was talking about himself. Kaz is just talking about the PS2.

    The Emotion Engine?
    A few weeks ago, I asked a simple question: Suppose video games were just no good as a medium at carrying emotion.

    The conversation on this point was impressive. So much so, that I followed up with a second post. I’d summarize here, but the commentary was precise. Better you just read what folks had to say. The result? Well, to my mind the jury is still out.

    First Post:



    Ye Olde Guilde of Video Game Critics
    As a journalist and academic, I find that I’m always trying to make courses more appealing to the masses and to make my newspaper writing smarter. This thought process has led me to the point where I am about to launch am International Society of Game Journalists. It’s not a catchy name, but I think the time has come to create a virtual press club for those that write about the game industry. I’m looking to coalesce a community of other journalists who want to mature what we do.

    I’ve bounced the idea off a number of people. And they have all had at least the courtesy to no tell me to my face that this is crazy. So, after Level Up!, I’ll be setting up the site and trying to reach a critical mass of game journalists. If you cover games and have crossed my path at some point in the past, beware! I’ll be bugging you to participate. Don’t worry, at this point there are no dues!

    IGDA @ GDC
    In related news, I will be hosting a group gathering of journalists at the game Developers Conference nest year on behalf of the International Game Developers Association. I fully plan on using the game journalists group (whatever it eventually gets called) to help promote the GDC event!

    Comments, Questions and Feedback
    As always, I'm interested in what you think. Want to post an original article to buzzcut.? Great! Just feel like chiming in on the discussions. Bring it on! Rather send me an anonymous note in email. Excellent! Just want to get off this mail list. Just follow the directions below.



    Most Recent Post: 08/28 09:41AM by Anonymous


       Newsletter 9.23.03 Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, September 24 2003 @ 05:31 AM UTC
    Contributed by: Admin

    ^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v -- Video Game Theory and Criticism

    Sent to you by: David Thomas,


    Text Message
    After fiddling with using pages from my portal as the source of a really nifty HTML email, I have abandon that approach and decided to go with an all text newsletter. Why? The HTML send was busy, some people prefer not to get HTML mail and, frankly, the results were not worth the time to prepare two versions of the email. However, I will post the text of the newsletter on the site, so they will still be available if for any reason you are looking for something in a past mail.

    The 10 Most Dubious Claims About Video Games
    There is a very good piece on the IGDA site providing some "talking points" on the issue of games and violence. This got met to thinking about all the misunderstandings and dubious claims made by the other side, out side, the video game industry, fans, crtiics and academics.

    Frankly, I thought this article would generate a little more attention than it did. Maybe my efforts to be provocative only turned out to be good at pointing out the obvious!

    Buzzcut link:
    IGDA link:

    On the Border
    I got an email the other from someone local who is actually doing some very cool video game research. Rafael Fajardo is on the faculty at the University of Denver. He has recently released two games that deal with the subject of illegal immigration, but from a very wry take-he and his team built two games based on "Frogger" and "Space Invaders" that pit Mexicans crossing the border against American border police. This week I get a chance to meet with Rafael, so I hope to post a more informed update. But for now, check out the buzzcut article and the link to Rafael's paper on the games.

    Buzzcut link:
    Link ot Rafael's paper:

    This Couldn't Be Good
    In August, the game sales charts show a disturbing fact-not a single game in the top 20 best-selling console games is truly original work. They are all sequels, derivatives and spin-offs. As the title says, this couldn't be good.


    Virtual Guest Speakers
    As a resource for my class on critical video game theory at the University of Colorado, Denver, I have added a new discussion group to buzzcut and have begun to invite people to participate in asynchronous "guest speaker" opportunities. Because the class is 100% online, the benefits of using a discussion forum for the class are pretty obvious. I ended up hosting the discussions on buzzcut because the eCollege software I use to run the class does not have an easy way to host an external guest. And I actually hope that over time I'll have a pretty decent bank of these "guest lectures".

    To kick it off, Todd M Fay has graciously agreed to come on the boards and talk about game audio. He is the director of development at the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) and the author of "DirectX 9 Audio Exposed: Interactive Audio" published by Wordware.

    Buzzcut link:
    GANG link:
    Wordware link:

    Comments, Questions and Feedback
    As always, I'm interested in what you think. Want to post an original article to buzzcut. Great! Just feel like chiming in on the discussions. Bring it on! Rahter send me an anonymous note in email. Excellent! Just want to get off this mail list. Just follow the directions below.



    Most Recent Post: 08/27 02:43AM by Anonymous

             Newsletter 9.7.03 Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Monday, September 08 2003 @ 05:18 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    What's new on buzzut?

    This fall I am teaching two courses online through CU Online ( Critical Video Game Theory and Critical Video Game Theory Lab explore the language of describing the experience of playing a video game. This is my second semester teaching the theory course, and the first teaching the lab.

    Building these courses, and getting them online, has been a major effort. So, my time for posting to buzzcut has been limited a bit. However, I am planning on pulling out some of the key articles from the course and posting them on the site in the interest of soliciting feedback.

    So, things might be a little slow around buzzcut for a few weeks.

    New Stories

    Isometric Perspective Considered: One topic I cover in my course is how different camera perspective effect the game experience. For example, the isometric perspective is usually associated with a "god view" and, presumably, the subsequent godlike powers that come with the territory. I challenge this notion in an article that argues the isometric perspective is actually a very childlike view of the world. Read More

    Car Toys:I teach critical theory rather than game design and development. I draw the line at how games are created and instead concern myself with thinking about what has already been created. One aspect of this orientation is that I try to use my own theory ideas to improve my game reviews. From time to time I get my gumption up and write some game criticism that I hope is moving in the right direction for game reviewing. The most recent entry is a tour through Auto Modellista. Read More

    Other Stuff This has nothing to do with video games, and little to do with buzzcut, but I recently ordered some buzzcut shirts from Cafe Press. In case you are not familiar with Cafe Press, they allow you to print stuff, like shirts, in lots of as few as a single item. The printing is full color and the quality is very good. Just thought I'd give a plug to a very innovative Internet business that's done a good job for me!

    Finally, I am working on a longer essay that hope to describe and circumscribe to a degree, what critical video game theory is. There seems to be a lot of interest in the area, and a great deal of uncertainty about what it is. For example, Jesper Juul posted an article today that asks whether or not Ion Storm's developer vocabulary is convertible to be used as a critical vocabulary. I don't think it does. And actually, I thought that people like Matthew Sakey has made the point firmly that a technical vocabulary will not suffice as a critical vocabulary.

    Hopefully my perspective will cast a little more light on a subject.

    That's it for this newsletter!

    -- David

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    Most Recent Post: 08/27 01:35PM by Anonymous

             Newletter: 8.21.03 Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Thursday, August 21 2003 @ 11:23 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    What's new on buzzut?

    Welcome to the first issue of the periodic newsletter from David Thomas and This newsletter is a summary of new posts on buzzcut, links of interest and other odds and ends related to the world of video games.

    read more (458 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 11:13PM by Anonymous


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