August 12, 2014

Defined by Committee: Games and the Language Thereof


The Challenge of Talking About "Talking About" Games

It's futile. That is what a lot of people say when I, or many others, start to get all big-wordy when the subject of game analysis or critical review, or other forms of game-related theorizing and pontificating take root. The argument is that (1) we're never going to agree on terms, or (2) this topic has been endlessly debated before, or (3) why do you think you are right, or (4) even if we all agree on terms not everyone is going to use them correctly, or (5) what a waste of time.

My opinion is that without talking about the language we use to discuss games, we are going to be challenged to actually talk about games in a way that opens the door for critical analysis or discovery If we don't advance the language we are in a holding pattern. And even if any particular conversation doesn't yield something tangible and applicable, the discussion nevertheless helps with knowledge building and working towards a common understandings - or at least framing our disagreements and differing perspectives.