PopMatters: Do We Need a Book That Talks About Videogames in Relation to Kant's Thoughts on the Sublime?

By Catherine Ramsdell

How to Talk about Videogames by Ian BogostIan Bogost’s How to Talk About Videogames doesn’t open exactly the way you might expect it to; it opens by talking about toasters, because, evidently, “videogames are a lot like toasters”. This idea, like many of Bogost’s, might sound a little strange at first, but give the man time—most of his ideas will make sense in the end.

In both the introduction and the conclusion, Bogost provides a broad focus, looking at the difference between reviewers and critics, comparing videogames to other forms of media/ entertainment/ art, and wondering about the future of not only games, but game writing, too. Perhaps the most memorable line here: “God save us from a future of games critics, gnawing on scraps like the zombies that fester in the objects of our study.” It’s a well put phrase, and one that resonates on many levels simply because long form, thoughtful commentary that looks at the broader picture has seemingly gone out of style, leaving in its wake a pile of writing that does little more than label something good or bad.

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