Intelligently Artificial began life as a collective writing space designed to facilitate discussion about digital games from a variety of theoretical viewpoints. Over the years various people have contributed pieces to what was always intended to be an occasional writing venue, a place of mutual inspiration and provocation as we worked on other projects elsewhere. These people are remembered on the IA Honor Roll.
In general, the mainstream gaming press has not served either players or designers well when it comes to providing an informed critical perspective on video games. Games are routinely previewed or reviewed as simply fun rides, lack of developer imagination is rarely called out, childish displays of player entitlement are treated as “legitimate feedback” and end result is a vast, dismal swamp of mediocre games. There have been welcome signs of change, driven largely by the rise of a viable indie gaming movement built atop the accessibility afforded by platforms like Steam and revenue streams afforded by crowd-sourcing mechanisms. These trends too have not been free of problems as the plethora of unfinished, and downright dodgy “Early Access” titles attest. As gaming becomes increasingly popular, the need for writing about games that is not driven by the norms of the industry (novelty for novelty’s sake, the need for immediate judgment, and planned obsolescence) is greater than ever.
Twitchdoctor is Mark Mullen, an associate professor of writing with the University Writing Program at the George Washington University. I have published on nineteenth-century theatre, pedagogical uses of information technology, and my work on the connections between gaming and writing technologies has appeared in Computers and Composition Online, the anthology Writing the Visual and Eludamos, and in The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds.