In the introductory chapter of her book Critical Play, Mary Flanagan provides a quote from Greg Costikyan’s “I Have No Words” that touches on the difference between stories and games (Flanagan 7). Stories, according to Costikyan, are linear because the characters do the same things every time you reread them. Games are non-linear because player agency and decision-making possibilities are built into their design. While Flanagan continues to chronicle the intersections of art, games, and play throughout her book, she does not expand on these ideas about the separation of stories and games beyond to call them both “mediums of expression” for artists, and that “noticing the ways language plays with culture, especially language as used by artists, can help designers find methods of consciousness raising, too for social commentary” (118).
Continue reading “Playing Stories and Reading Games”
Flanagan, Mary. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2009. Print. (Access Flanagan’s introduction online here.)
Mary Flanagan’s Critical Play is a call to develop a new methodology that will allow activist games to be created in greater numbers, and for games in general to be designed with increased diversity. “Critical play” refers to games and other types of play that involve the examination of social, cultural, political, and personal themes and issues, wherein the goal is not to win, but to think and discuss the issues within the safe space created by play. In these types of play, critical thinking, education, intervention, and humanistic themes are emphasized. Continue reading “Critical Play: Radical Game Design”