An Update on the Lack of Updates
Some things that have happened elsewhere and some things that have not happened here.
Let’s start with the burning issue: Issue 7 still isn’t here. I haven’t actually set it on fire though: It should be finished soon and I can only apologize for being incredibly tardy again. To address the latter point, we are also going to skip the next issue, Sound, and hopefully get everything back on track next year with what would have once been Issue 9 – Money, in March. It’s become increasingly obvious that I’m in over my head trying to get another issue ready while also keeping the site running and pretending to be a student of some sort. I added Sound to the theme pile as an experiment, meaning to challenge myself to learn to talk about an aspect of games that I really lack the necessary vocabulary for, but in hindsight, I really could not have timed that worse. So it goes back on the pile for now, maybe we’ll get to it some other time.
With that out of the way, I’d like to talk about some of the interesting things that have happened while I’ve been preoccupied. Last week, the Games Journalism Prize has released the first part of its 2013 shortlist, and thanks to garish self-promotion, Haywire is listed three times so far, with one piece by Francisco Dominguez and two pieces by Andrew Huntly. Not a bad track record for our first year, I think. The selection of nominees so far has garnered a bit of criticism, but I think it’s important not to overestimate how representative or even important the prize is. As glad as I am that we are on there, the Games Journalism Prize has a tendency to cover a lot of nominees, and the time span covered by these entries indicates pretty clearly that there is more to come. I assume our chances of winning anything are negligible.
Personally, if I had to predict a likely candidate, it’d be a toss-up between Leigh Alexander’s This Is What Video Games Are and Simon Parkin’s Video Game Invasion of Iraq, even if both lose points for spelling ‘videogame’ wrong. I’ve ranted at length about the complaints on my dumb old blog, but don’t mistake that response as feeling defensive of my own work (or not exclusively). If we really are the best games writing has to offer, something is certainly going wrong, but there’s more wonderful writing out there than you may think, and the yet unfinished list of nominees may well end up reflecting that diversity. If not, that’s an argument to be had with the awards, not with all of games writing. I get mad about the indictment not because I’m a writer, but because I’m also a curator of writing.
Speaking of, last Tuesday (the day I once meant to finish this post) marked Kris Ligman’s two-year anniversary of running Critical Distance and also saw her step down from being in charge of absolutely everything that happens over there. Having been involved with the project since February, I still very much feel like the Johnny-come-lately of the site (still a babby, as Kris might say), but there’s not a doubt in my mind that it’s where I belong. If you appreciate anything I’ve written in the past year, try to take a moment to thank Kris for her hard work, since the sheer amount of clever writing I am confronted with by way of Critical Distance helped inform practically everything I’ve done lately. Managing to make the list every so often is a huge honor: Seeing my name among my favorite writers never ceases to motivate, and the huge gap between my writing and theirs never ceases to inspire. I know from the few times I’ve been left in charge of the list that reading all those submissions takes more time than you’d think and that any sane person might devote to this kind of task, so let her know if you’ve been following the write-ups. Unpaid does not have to mean unrewarding, after all.
Providing further proof that, like my own column, anything to do with games and literature must be titled Wordplay, Christof Zurschmitten has been spearheading a similar series over on Video Game Tourism and, noticing each other’s plans, we’ve agreed to some jolly cooperation. My interview with Jon Ingold has already made it there, and whenever I get around to it, I’ll start formatting their efforts for crossposting. Between this and VGT’s new movie series, there’s quite a few English features appearing there lately, if you’re interested.
Last but not least, there’s a new Story Bundle available if you want to acquire some good videogame reading for dirt cheap. If it didn’t mean monetizing, I’d try to get our own issues thrown in there some time.