Creative Loafing Atlanta interviews Ian Bogost
Video game innovation amounts to more than concocting new ways to kill computer-generated bad guys. In his book How to Do Things With Videogames (University of Minnesota Press, $18.95), Ian Bogost explores the multitude of ways video games can be used to create art, educate kids and grown-ups, play pranks, foster empathy, provide exercise and even achieve Zen-like relaxation. A Georgia Tech professor and award-winning game designer, Bogost has become the gaming-world equivalent of Roger Ebert or Lester Bangs, arguing that video games are attaining maturity as a medium, like movies and popular music.
When you were younger, were there particular video games that put you on your current career path?
I played a lot of games as a kid, but the one that really influenced me was Life and Death, which came out the same time as SimCity. You were an abdominal surgeon, in the same way you were a city planner in SimCity. You even had to talk to patients and tease out what was wrong with them before performing the surgery. At the time, that was most fascinating to me. It provided a view into a world that you wouldn't think about otherwise.