Zine Culture and the Embodied Community of Rookie Mag

This research project analyzes the ways in which the online magazine Rookie utilizes material-based elements of zine culture in order to create an embodied community. The term “embodied community” is taken from Alison Piepmeier’s Girls Zines and it refers to the connections that are formed between zine creators and readers by materiality. A zine, in its existence as a handmade artifact, acts as a sort of mediator of human touch (Piepmeier calls it a “surrogate physical interaction” (59)), sharing human emotions through their physical traces. Such an embodied community opens up space for a participatory culture, to borrow the term from Henry Jenkins, because it encourages … Continue reading Zine Culture and the Embodied Community of Rookie Mag

Playing Stories and Reading Games

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).

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Critical Play: Radical Game Design

Flanagan, Mary. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2009. Print. (Access Flanagan’s introduction online here.)

9780262062688Mary 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”