100 episodes

Welcome to Keywords in Play, a joint collaborative podcast between Critical Distance and the Digital Games Research Association! In this series, we deliver interviews with writers, thinkers, makers, and critics working with games in an approachable and conversational format, suitable for fans, players, and critical thinkers alike.

Critical Distance: Keywords in Play criticaldistance

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    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Welcome to Keywords in Play, a joint collaborative podcast between Critical Distance and the Digital Games Research Association! In this series, we deliver interviews with writers, thinkers, makers, and critics working with games in an approachable and conversational format, suitable for fans, players, and critical thinkers alike.

    Keywords in Play Ep. 23: Everest Pipkin

    Keywords in Play Ep. 23: Everest Pipkin

    Everest Pipkin is a writer, game developer and software artist from Central Texas whose work follows themes of ecology, information theory, and system collapse. As an artist and as a theorist, they fundamentally believe in the liberatory capacity of care; care not as an abstract emotion but rather as a powerful force that motivates collective work towards a better world.

    They hold a BFA from University of Texas at Austin, an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and live and work in southern New Mexico. They have shown and spoken at The Design Museum of London, The Texas Biennial, The XXI Triennale of Milan, The Photographers Gallery of London, Center for Land Use Interpretation, and other spaces. When not at the computer in the heat of the day, you can find them in the hills spending time with their neighbors— both human and non-human.

     

    Please consider supporting Critical Distance at https://www.patreon.com/critdistance

    Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed.

    Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

    Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

    Transcription: Charly Harbord

    • 42 min
    Keywords in Play Ep. 22: Alesha Serada

    Keywords in Play Ep. 22: Alesha Serada

    Alesha Serada is a PhD student and a researcher at the University of Vaasa, Finland. Their dissertation, supported by the Nissi Foundation, discusses construction of value in games and art on blockchain. Inspired by their Belarusian origin, their research interests revolve around exploitation, violence, horror, deception and other banal and non-banal evils in visual media. In this episode we discuss Alesha's paper "‘Died from Debeeration’: the Case of the First Belarusian Political Game" which characterises the game MENSKBand in the context of cultural, technical and political change in Belarus.

    Please consider supporting Critical Distance at https://www.patreon.com/critdistance

    Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed.

    Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

    Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

    Transcription: Charly Harbord

    • 30 min
    Keywords in Play Ep. 21: Gregory Whistance-Smith

    Keywords in Play Ep. 21: Gregory Whistance-Smith

    In this episode we talk with Gregory Whistance-Smith, an independent scholar based in Edmonton, Canada. The discussion focuses on the book "Expressive Space: Embodying Meaning in Video Game Environments" https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110723731/html?lang=en

    Video game spaces have vastly expanded the built environment, offering new worlds to explore and inhabit. Like buildings, cities, and gardens before them, these virtual environments express meaning and communicate ideas and affects through the spatial experiences they afford. Drawing on the emerging field of embodied cognition, this book explores the dynamic interplay between mind, body, and environment that sits at the heart of spatial communication. To capture the wide diversity of forms that spatial expression can take, the book builds a comparative analysis of twelve video games across four types of space, spanning ones designed for exploration and inhabitation, kinetic enjoyment, enacting a situated role, and enhancing perception. Together, these diverse virtual environments suggest the many ways that video games enhance and extend our embodied lives.

     

    Please consider supporting Critical Distance at https://www.patreon.com/critdistance

    Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed.

    Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

    Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

    Transcription: Charly Harbord

    • 34 min
    Keywords in Play Episode 20 - Jaroslav Švelch

    Keywords in Play Episode 20 - Jaroslav Švelch

    Jaroslav Švelch is an assistant professor at Charles University, Prague. He is the author of the recent monograph Gaming the Iron Curtain: How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist Czechoslovakia Claimed the Medium of Computer Games (MIT Press, 2018). He has published work on history and theory of computer games, on humor in games and social media, and on the Grammar Nazi phenomenon. He is currently researching history, theory, and reception of monsters in games and his monograph Player vs. Monster: The Making and Breaking of Videogame Monstrosity is forthcoming from MIT Press in 2023.

    • 25 min
    Keywords in Play Episode 19 - Regina Seiwald and Ed Vollans - Paratexts

    Keywords in Play Episode 19 - Regina Seiwald and Ed Vollans - Paratexts

    In this episode we speak with Regina Seiwald and Ed Vollans on paratexts and their forthcoming collaboration "Not in the Game: History, Paratext and Games", soon to be published with De Gruyter.

    Regina Seiwald is highly interested in the relationship between literary theory and narratology across the languages. Her focus thereby lies with the Anglo-American and Germanic tradition. In my PhD thesis, she researched metafiction in the postmodern British novel to determine how texts communicate the relationship between fiction and reality. The insights generated have subsequently been applied to video games and digitalisation more generally (also XR/AI/MR), particularly in the context of paratextuality and Cold War narratives.

    Ed Vollans' research interests explore the promotional culture of the entertainment industries, how they promote, market and position themselves within the wider popular sphere. Specifically focusing on film and videogame promotion, his work has explored the emergence of trailers for the games industry, and audience reception of film promotion.

    Please consider supporting Critical Distance at https://www.patreon.com/critdistance

    Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed.

    Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

    Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

    Transcription: Charly Harbord

    • 34 min
    Keywords in Play Episode 18 - Esther Wright on Rockstar and History

    Keywords in Play Episode 18 - Esther Wright on Rockstar and History

    Esther Wright is Lecturer in Digital History at Cardiff University. Her work is situated within the field of Historical Game Studies, critically examining how digital representations of the past found in popular visual media have the potential to shape public understandings of history. Her PhD, awarded by the University of Warwick in August 2019, is a study of Rockstar Games as developer-historian, and the company’s long-established project of negotiating and representing U.S. History in their games – in particular, focussing on Red Dead Redemption (2010), Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018), and L.A. Noire (2011). This project is forthcoming as a book entitled Rockstar Games and American History: Promotional Materials and the Construction of Authenticity (De Gruyter, 2022). Esther argues for the importance of studying promotional materials, developer branding strategies, and other kinds of paratextual materials associated with the development and release of historical digital games. These materials are important digital sites and spaces through which game developers, like Rockstar, perform the role of historian and manage expectations for "historical authenticity" among players and critics. She uses promotional materials to offer more nuanced interpretations of the influence of dominant understandings of U.S. History on game development and marketing decisions. These hegemonies, established by and through the conventions of pre-existing cultural "genres" like the Western and film noir, and popular narratives long-centred on the white and male experience, lead to games that exclude and marginalise other people and identities, and promotional practices that reaffirm exclusionary stories about America’s “real” past. Esther is also a convener of the Historical Games Network https://www.historicalgames.net/

     

    Please consider supporting Critical Distance at https://www.patreon.com/critdistance

    Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed.

    Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

    Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

    Transcription: Charly Harbord

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Paperclypse ,

I've really enjoyed the interviews

Some great interviews with games critics and creators!

johnwvail ,

Compelling and Insightful Conversations

I recently discovered this podcast and found the recent interviews with online video creators to be very facinating -- especially given that the guests haven't done many other interviews. They talk about their processes, inspiration, and their craft generally which was really cool to hear. Host Eric Swain is personable and asks genuinely interesting questions.

If you're interested in games criticism, this is a must listen~

Greyjoyiiiii ,

Is good

Plz more

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