Michael Ryan Skolnik’s workblog
Studies in Games and Performance

Longform gaming criticism: Why Brendan Keogh is getting my three dollars.

Another local games PhD student, Brendan Keogh, has been working on a long-form piece about Spec Ops: The Line for some time now. In addition to the PhD, he’s slammed out some 50,000 words on, ostensibly, every aspect of his game experience. He just announced that this is going to be released on November 14th as a DRM-free PDF, costing $3 for purchases in the first month and $5 thereafter via Critical Distance.


I have a hard time thinking of anything remotely like this in a published format. There are books on videogames and theory, your stuff of highly variable quality along the lines of Halo and Philosophy (which academic buddy Felan Parker has a good piece in), game guides, companion art books to games, but a blow-by-blow account of a whole game, from design decisions to affective results?


Is there a market for this sort of thing? I don’t know, and neither does he, but I want there to be one. Whether I write in it or just read what others do, deep and holistic criticism of videogames should be encouraged. It’s long been time for us to say more mature things about videogames. That’s something I want to encourage and possibly even be a part of. That’s why Brendan Keogh is getting my three bucks.


(I’ve been debating doing a lengthy companion piece to both versions of La-Mulana, but I’m not sure I’ll do this while still having the PhD to do on top of it.)

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