Rennie McDougall

  • culture July 24, 2017

    Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America by Michael Z. Newman

    Now that we’ve been in a “golden era” of television for nearly two decades, it’s fair to ask what could come next. Will the long-promised video-game renaissance ever materialize? It’s possible, but one obstacle is that gaming criticism is still in its infancy. “There is no Pauline Kael of video-game writing,” Chuck Klosterman lamented in 2006. “And I'm starting to suspect there will never be that kind of authoritative critical voice.” Eleven years later, we’re still waiting.

    This is, in part, because video-game writers often find themselves on the defensive, having to justify their subject’s

  • syllabi June 07, 2017

    Reading Play

    Whether or not you consider yourself a gamer, video games have probably found their way into your life. Maybe you spend hours lining up gemstones, hypnotized on your daily commute. Or perhaps you roam the streets, scanning the landscape with your phone and searching for pocket-sized monsters; or live a second life, work a second job, and loyally tend your Facebook farm. Players love these games, but critics have struggled with how best to examine them, partially because video games defy categorization. They often have filmic elements such as mise en scene, a soundtrack, and a classic narrative