This page contains a selection of my published essays from 1991 to the present.
"Turn Back From This Cave:" The Weirdness of Beginner's Guide
Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, Spring 2020. Full text |HERE|.
This article on Davey Wreden's strange, confessional game Beginner's Guide (2015) was based on a talk at ELO 2019, though it belonged more properly at the Wandering Games Conference a week earlier. Bits of this paper find their way into one of the critical chapters in Twining.
After Multimedia: Speed, Mass, and the Future Literary
Paper delivered to the Seoul Inernational Forum on Literature, 2017. Published in Literature and Its Readership in the Changing World. Text available |HERE|.
This was an invited address on technology and literature to a group of leading international artists and critics, several of them Nobel laureates. The paper touches on some of the revulsion from (social) mediation that was going around post-2016. A recontextualized version was delivered at the ELO conference later that year.
Deep Time in Play
Published in Paradoxa 29 . Text available |HERE|.
This is an article on Valve's Portal 2, John McDaid's Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, and the Fulbright Company's Gone Home, among other things. Siegried Zielinski's notion of "deep time" provides a framework for thinking about time travel, the time of play, and narrative.
(with Justin Schumaker) Along the Folds: Sea and Spar and Portals Between
Published in CounterText 2 . Text available |HERE|.
This collaboration with Justin Schumaker began as a paper on the topological structure of video games written for the 2013 Conference on Games and Literary Theory. We read Portal 2 against Nick Montfort and Stephanie Strickland's generated poem Sea and Spar Between, crossing from games to electronic literature. After much discussion and editorial help, we decided the paper needed more Deleuze. Everything needs more Deleuze.
Lift This End: Electronic Literature in a Blue Light
Published in electronic book review 2013. Text available |HERE|.This is the paper that came out of my 2011 social/media/writing seminar, home to the ideas that would inspire my work with Michael Joyce's Was: annales nomadiques. Along the way, Marjorie Perloff, Kenneth Goldsmith, Lawrence Lessig, and remix culture. The article was reprinted in Joseph Tabbi's edited collection of essays from ebr.
After the Last Generation: Rethinking Scholarship in the Days of Serious Play
Published in Pre/Text 2010. Text available |HERE|.I wrote the first version for this paper for the Digital Arts and Culture Conference in Copenhagen, 2006. A few years later the editors of Pre/Text asked for the revised version posted here. The notion of "interventions" that I propose was picked up and significantly developed by Jan Rune Holmevik in his book of the same name. A decade later, I am still rethinking scholarship in newer days of Serious Play. There are (we can hope) no last generations.
You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media
Originally published in Postmodern Culture 1991. Text available |HERE|.This was not by very first scholarly article, but it's sort of where things began. I had been reading the posthumous McLuhan book Laws of Media while trying to think about distributed hypermedia systems, or about the cultural logic of hypertext (Jameson's Postmodernism also on my mind, as ever). The piece was reprinted several times. I don't know whether the Reversal of the Overheated Medium is before or behind us. What goes around comes around, perhaps.