Journal of Games Criticism, Volume 2, Issue 1 (January 2015)


invited ARticles

Hermeneutics and Ludocriticism

by V.-M. Karhulahti

This article introduces the concept of ludocriticism as a practice for evaluating videogame artifacts. It is not so much concerned with understanding the product, but rather with whether the product is worth understanding. The primary method of this practice is hermeneutics.

All of Your Co-Workers are Gone: Story, Substance, and the Empathic Puzzler

by M. J. Heron & P. H. Belford

This paper discusses the nature of structured and non-structured exploration and the pivotal role it plays in the experience we have of branching narratives. We then discuss how free-from story structures create a new kind of game genre—the "empathic puzzler."


Game Criticism as Tangential Learning Facilitator: The Case of Critical Intel

by R. Rath

Video games have great potential to encourage tangential learning, but obstacles still exist. Enter explanatory game criticism, a critical structure that generates a springboard for tangential learners and offers them routes to continue their exploration using vetted sources.

Passion as Method: Subjectivity in Video Games Criticism

by S. C. Jennings

This article posits an approach to games criticism in which the subjectivity of the critic is accepted as central and necessary. It provides a method by which the critic and the critic’s experiences become a part of the game text under analysis.


What Makes Gêmu Different? A Look at the Distinctive Design Traits of Japanese Video Games and Their Place in the Japanese Media Mix

by V. Navarro-Remesal & A. Loriguillo-López

This article defends gêmu (or Japanese games) as a separate category for the critique of games, based on their relation to Cool Japan, the Japanese media mix, and their specific aesthetic and creative features, including design strategies, animation techniques, genres, and tropes.


A Counterrevolution in the Hands: The Console Controller as an Ergonomic Branding Mechanism

by D. Parisi

New consoles are lauded for their capacity to revolutionize the relationship between players and games. By looking at formal and commercial logics of console controller design, this article shows why stability, not revolution, has defined the controller's material configuration.