Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 60 (Fall 2020)

Check out TreaAndrea Russworm’s interview with me in the latest issue of JCMS! The Scholar Spotlight interview focuses on writing about games, my influences, interests and advice for scholars new to the field. JCMS is the journal for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, which is the the leading scholarly organization in the United States dedicated to promoting a broad understanding of film, television, and related media through research and teaching grounded in the contemporary humanities tradition.

Now Available: The Cambridge Companion to Nineteen Eighty-Four

The Cambridge Companion to Nineteen Eighty-Four, examining the impact of #Orwell‘s visionary novel, is now available to download via @CambridgeCore. The book will soon also be available to purchase in paperback from @CambridgeUP.

Included is my essay on the influence of Nineteen Eighty-Four on video games:

“In this game that we’re playing”: George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Video Games 

For those interested, here is the abstract:
Traces of George Orwell’s critiques of totalitarian society, in both blunt and subtle forms, exist throughout video games. Major themes of dystopia, surveillance culture, technologies of control, authoritarianism, and the oppression of a large underclass exist in innumerable game narratives and environments. Do these simulations encourage critical thought around the eventuality of totalitarianism, of which Orwell warned? Or, are these games merely systems in which to practice a kind of entrapment, in which so-called “freedom” may be practiced within a medium that is exceedingly ordered in its very constitution? Through the stories games tell, as well as in the very form of video games, is it even possible to truly stimulate a model of criticality? This essay proposes that the critical influence of Nineteen Eighty-Four exists not only in video game narratives and the constitution of their navigable spaces, but also in the wide variety of strategies, rule-based systems, rhetorical capacities, ethical quandaries and—most importantly—their “better” kinds of failure.