What Games Are: The Politics Of Play Matter


Editor’s note:  Tadhg Kelly is a consultant game designer and creator of leading game design blog What Games Are. You can follow him on Twitter here.

A few years ago, film critic Roger Ebert royally put his foot in it when he declared that video games could never be art. Tone deaf though his reasoning was (he got hung up on their functional nature and saw the capacity of play as destroying all possible representation), the most interesting aspect of the debate was just how pilloried he became. Ebert wasn’t just wrong, he was on the wrong side of history.

It was an example of how games are increasingly political, and of how some of the next gamer generation finds personal significance in them. I don’t mean stuff like players who cosplay their favorite characters at conventions. I mean issues of representation, reflection and the dynamics of power.


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