Chungking Espresso

Hey I’m a Journo Now

Posted in Miscellany by Simon Ferrari on October 6, 2009


So I’ve been a bit absent from this blog lately, pouring most of my time into schoolwork. I just finished my thesis proposal, which I’m split about posting here because 1) it’s ridiculously long and 2) I don’t want to share the core concept until I’ve written a lot about it. Is that selfish or stupid? Anyhow, the main goal is to expand Bogost’s concept of procedural rhetoric to incorporate subversive readings by players and understandings of game space that go beyond simply acknowledging them as the places where mechanics and players meet. The ancillary goal, from a design perspective, is to flesh out that vague middle letter in the MDA formula.

For News Games we’ve mostly been prepping the book for review at a couple of university presses, and we’ve got a number of fresh, new writers who’ve tackled a bunch of the more recent games we’ve come across. So I haven’t written much there, except for a piece about the Dante’s Inferno marketing campaign that got a nice amount of buzz for a day or so.

The big news is that I recently acquired an associate editor position at Sleeper Hit, which is an ideal foray into enthusiast press for me for a number of reasons. First, I spend a lot of time and money on new games, but I usually don’t have any school-related reason to write about them. If I don’t write about a game right away, my memory of the play experience slowly fades into vague talking points for arguments on Twitter. Being an editor at Sleeper Hit means I’ll get first pick on review copies of games, which will save me a lot of money and give me a reason to write about almost everything I play (something I used to do on this blog). Second, I’ve never played a game that I hadn’t read anything about beforehand. Doing product reviews means I’ll need to write about games before I get a chance to read what other reviewers have thought about them–an exciting and scary opportunity. Third, the website is relatively new (having broken off from GameTopius, I believe), so I’ll have a chance to influence its direction and expertise.

Finally, it’s a long-awaited chance to work with my friend Tom Cross of GameSetWatch fame. Tom was my first game blogging compatriot, introducing me to Jon Mills, who introduced me to the Brainysphere bloggers. Tom is a fairly strict narratologist, and I’m a fairly strict ludologist. We’ll be able to learn a lot from each other by editing each others’ work, clashing in the “Versus” column and podcasts, and generally having a good time reviewing games. So please stop by the site in the next few weeks to see my first honest efforts at pure consumer reviewing, and thanks again for being such good friends and readers.


13 Responses

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  1. Ben Abraham said, on October 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Woah, this looks promising! Keep us posted as it develops.

    • Simon Ferrari said, on October 6, 2009 at 8:51 am

      Thanks Benji! You and I are both testing the waters of PhD candidacy and enthusiast press at the same time: soul brothers!

      • Ben Abraham said, on October 9, 2009 at 12:54 am

        Fo’ lyfe.

  2. Nick LaLone said, on October 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I feel sad for the stress you’re about the get!

    • Simon Ferrari said, on October 6, 2009 at 9:09 am

      Man you were running the tabletop scene. That shit’s a lot more hardcore than videogame journalism. I’m looking at the editing role as practice for being an educator someday. As for flack on the reviews, I mean… I can ignore it if it’s stupid and learn from it if it’s right!

      • Nick LaLone said, on October 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm

        It will be fun to see how you deal! And yeah, the pen and paper folks are hard core (annoying). But a lot of them are making games now so I mean, it’s got to have some sort of benefit.

        I keep thinking about going into your program but all of the folks here are trying to get me to go to Michigan, Toronto, or UT for applied soc. I guess I shouldn’t have done so well as an applied evaluator.

  3. deckard47 said, on October 6, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Yay! You’re going to kick ass at Sleeper Hit, btw. Now I just need to enter a masters or PhD program in something, and the circle will be complete.

    Also, once you’ve properly gotten into your thesis, I hope you do let us see a bit of it.

    • Simon Ferrari said, on October 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

      I’ll post the abstract at least once the review of it is complete. The proposal itself was 15 pages long, so I’ll spare everybody that (there were another 10 pages that didn’t even make it into the final draft). Bobby Schweizer did a good job of posting pieces of his, so I’ll hopefully follow suit!

  4. […] make a long story (that is in fact short) short, Simon Ferrari, the purveyor of Chunking Espresso and News Games delights, is now an Associate Editor at Sleeper Hit. This is awesome for Simon, […]

  5. Charles said, on October 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Oh man, if you’re a ludologist what does that make me!?

    • Simon Ferrari said, on October 7, 2009 at 1:30 am

      Well I *did* say “fairly strict” for myself… you’d a be a “strong” ludologist. I’d also call you a play historian because of your interest in multiplayer and non-video games. Would that be off?

      A big reason I might not look like a ludologist on the Internet is that most of my stuff is somehow related to my schoolwork. And I’m from the program started by Janet Murray! It’s a position I respect, so I don’t mind taking it for granted for the purposes of school-related work. Also, Hamlet on the Holodeck remains one of the few actually well-written books that deal with videogames.

      Maybe fairly strict was the wrong word. Ludologist-lite?

      • Charles said, on October 7, 2009 at 9:33 am

        How about ‘ludologette’?

        It’s funny, I don’t consider myself a ludologist but I suppose it’s the most appropriate label. I’m re-reading Half-Real and I find myself nodding along to almost everything (Hamlet on the Holodeck is next).

        As far as an interest in multiplayer and non-digital games, it seems to me that if you want to say something about ‘games’ you have to have an interest in non-digital games. They’re all the same when you get right down to it, and if you say something about one type that doesn’t apply to the others then it’s not really that profound.

        Anyway, congratulations on the gig!

  6. Borut said, on October 8, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Meant to congratulate you earlier Simon (as two days late is like eons in internet time) – but I’m also not sure entering the world of games journalism is worthy of congratulations. Good luck classing it up though. 🙂

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