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Creative Exemplars of Videogame Criticism

Here is a collection of exemplars, of interesting multimedia criticism that explore new ways of writing about videogame media, expanding the scope of questions and expressive goals. These may be sources of inspiration for your Multimedia Essay projects!

Session 3: Experimental Criticism, Example Discussion

Hey All,

Thank you for your attention today. We covered questions on Universal Pass and discussed how to think about your learning in this class going forward. We also spent the lion share of the time discussing the idea of experimental criticism and looking at two possible examples (see post on experimental criticism / Multimedia Essay examples).


  1. Projects: Multimedia Essay assignment document is posted. Email with questions.
  2. Session Archive: The session has been archived. Here’s the link to the folder for convenience.

Work Targets / Status

  1. Game Review: Revisions recorded. More feedback by request.
  2. Game Criticism: Sending feedback. Peer Review ongoing.
  3. Multimedia Essay: Explore games, topics, and media strategies this week.

Due Next Monday

  1. Read Paolo Pedercini’s “Indiepocalypse
  2. Work on Projects – (GR/GC) + Revisions, backwork.

Session 2: Peer Review; Reading Q&Q, Multimedia Essay

Hey All,

Thank you for your attention today – I really enjoyed the discussion. I am still working on adapting to this medium for discussion and apologize for the awkward dynamics between the screen sharing, commentary and discussion integration. I had a nice chat at the end about how to make this experience better and more efficient for you. My take home thoughts about this second session:

Efficiency – I need to offload more of the housekeeping to email and website communication so that maximum time can be interactive and useful. I felt my starting with logistical things and lack of concision there makes the class drag on, and I would like to respect the time you are taking to log in to this as best I can.

Discussion needs to be more accessible – I need to minimize tangents and references to games we have not played together for class, and slow down a bit on conceptual material. Normally I can read the room and energy and adjust my comments better, but I am having trouble speaking into the void and doing so.

Better facilitation – I need to set some protocols for questions and comments in discussion. If you have suggestions I’d love to hear them.

I’ll be thinking about these things for next time. Thanks for your patience!


  1. Peer Review: Peer Review partners have been assigned. The assignment is here.
  2. Projects: Get in a Game Criticism project draft for feedback and peer review ASAP.
  3. Session Archive: The session has been archived. Here’s the link to the folder for convenience.

Work Targets / Status

  1. Game Review: Revisions recorded; More feedback by request.
  2. Game Criticism: Sending feedback, organizing peer review.
  3. Multimedia Essay: Think about a game you want to work on!

Due Next Monday

  1. Watch Jane McGonigal’s “Games Can Make a Better World” TED Talk – come with thought to share.
  2. Work on Projects – (GR/GC) + Revisions, backwork.

Session 1: Class Reset, Live Read, Ex.3

Hey All,

Thanks for the attention today. A quick follow up:


  1. Google Meets: Virtual class will be Mondays 440p-600p, and virtual drop-in / open chat is Wednesdays 400p-600p. Links to sessions will be on Schedule page.
  2. Projects: Try your best to get in a Game Criticism project draft for feedback and peer review.
  3. Session Archive: The session archived video is shared with you on Google Drive. Here’s the link to the folder for convenience.

Work Targets / Status

  1. Game Review: Revisions receiving provisional grades.
  2. Game Criticism: Sending feedback, organizing peer review.
  3. Multimedia Essay: We’ll introduce this next week. Exercise 3 Game Analysis is a bridge to this project.

Due Next Monday

  1. Read Brian Schrank’s “Videogames and the Avant-garde” chapter, come with one passage, one question.
  2. Write Exercise 3 Game Analysis.

Transition to Remote Learning

I hope you and your loved ones are well.

I’m sure you’ve received many emails regarding the transition to remote learning for the remainder of the semester. This will be a challenge, but we can make the best of the situation and continue our learning and writing projects. I will be adjusting our plans in the coming days.


Please note that the college has canceled classes next week (3/16 – 3/20) for faculty to prepare alternative plans.

I will be editing the website to reflect new timelines for projects and testing remote conferencing prospects for us. The biggest challenge will be to maintain community and facilitate collaboration (discussion, peer review, etc.).

It is important that you remain responsive to emails from your faculty in the coming week as best you can.


  1. Sending a Google Form survey asking you about your technical capabilities and learning concerns.
  2. Sending Game Review project grades with comments next week. These can be revised further, but that revision is optional.
  3. Providing feedback to Game Criticism projects as they come in.


  1. If you have not turned in a Game Criticism project for feedback (which is many of you), please do so as soon as you are able.
  2. Complete the Google Form survey when you receive it.

Looking forward to this new experiment with you all.

Ebertian Premise: “Games Can Never Be Art”

As we discussed in class, Ian Bogost’s essay “Art” in How To Do Things With Videogames (2011) makes reference to an infamous article from 2010 in which the late celebrated film critic Roger Ebert argued that videogames cannot be art. This prompted all sorts of responses from gamers and non-gamers alike at the time. Some pointed to the “artgames” movement while others took umbrage with the framing, as many of you did in class. As I noted, part of the problem is that Ebert’s awareness and experience of games was very limited, and his theory of authorship stands in the way of his ability to appreciate the way in which specific games create aesthetic experiences, explore ideas, and, as Jonathan Blow (the creator of Braid) said, “speak to the human condition.”

Note his commentary on Braid – it’s clear that he has no sense of the object of the “art,” instead addressing the qualities of mechanics and writing in the story in isolation, abstracted from any inquiry as to what (and how) the game is trying to express. It is worth a read if this recent discussion captivated you, and it gives context for Bogost’s commentary in “Art.” Also, you might take interest in Henry Jenkins’ “Games, The New Lively Art”

Game Review Publications

Below is a list of websites that post videogame reviews pretty regularly. Of course, you can also simply search for reviews on a specific game and then read around the publication you find to get a sense of the approach to the genre at that particular site.

Game Review Publications

Also, you might look at some of these style guides. Reading them gives you a good sense of how the game review genre is imagined through the industry and framed by the approach to videogames as entertainment products (and technologies). These will also help in writing your Game Review, providing comments on structure and guiding questions.

Review Style Guides, Commentary

Welcome to Writing and Analysis II

Welcome to the course website for HS 112. This site will serve as our hub for information and scheduling of readings and due dates on coursework, as well as a space to post questions, comments, and resources. The syllabus that you received on the first day of class will be posted here for download in case you lose it, and all assignment documents and guides will be archived on the Documents page.