Journal of Games Criticism, Volume 1, Issue 2 (June 2014)



The Brechtian, Absurdist, and Poor Video Game: Alternative Theatrical Models of Software-based Experience

by C. Evans

This essay proposes a set of avant-garde models for video game illusions prioritizing artistic goals that do not necessarily function in terms of the market. The author both challenges and builds upon Brenda Laurel’s “Computers as Theatre” analogy by incorporating approaches from 20th Century theatre into video game creation.

Beyond Identification: Defining the Relationships between Player and Avatar

by L. Papale

Do we really identify with our avatar, no matter what? This article deconstructs the notion of identification and tries to determine how and why different kind of characters, points of view, and video game genres convey and allow different relationships between player and avatar.

Do You Feel Like a Hero Yet? Externalised Morality in Video Games

by M. J. Heron & P. H. Belford

Game morality systems are, by and large, incapable of confronting players with meaningful issues of ethical complexity. In this paper, we discuss two titles that present real moral issues while avoiding the classical tropes of in-game karma meters.

Book Review


Why Failing in Games is a Positive Aspect of Play: A Review of Jesper Juul’s The Art of Failure

by P. Lorentz

Jesper Juul’s latest book The Art of Failure interrogates the role of failure in video gaming by questioning the paradox between the pain felt when failing and the eagerness to reiterate the experience. Juul displays his thoughts and observations harvested along his experience.

Cyborgs and Academia

by J. Köller

If player and game are joined together as one, then the activity of playing the game becomes playing with oneself. … The majority of academic work still exists behind such firewalls or paywalls, and you are speaking the same language, which is a barrier of its own.

Reply to J. Köller

by G. S. Hubbell & N. A. Hanford

Academia has valuable informal institutions. … We want and value your language—we see your craft of writing as a craft of knowledge.