Do violent video games cause violence? No. But some video games support the weapons industry through licensing fees and advertising revenue. If it's time to get gun money out of politics, it should also be time to get gun money out of games.
In this episode, I talk with Beth LaPensée, an Anishinaabe and Métis designer, Dawn Saas, a games journalist, and Brontë Mansfield, a lifelong Sims fan, about the ways in which video games and 'home' intersect. Can games help us reclaim stolen space? Can they help us reckon with trauma? Can they show us a life that we never could have imagined on our own? The answer just might be 'yes'.
Pokémon is one of the most famous video games in the world. This month, I talk with art historian Daisy Charles and writer Omari Akil about the ways that Pokémon Go is changing our relationship to public space, and find out what happened to Nintendo's first United States Pokémon champion, Ian Garvey.
War and gaming have a long and complex living history. In Level One, Brian talks with combat veterans who use video games to treat their PTSD. In Level Two, Robertson Allen talks about 'America's Army', and online FPS developed by the United States Army as a recruitment tool. In Level Three, Brian gets to know the man who created Wolfenstein way back in 1981, long before Nazis began marching openly down American streets.
Guests: Stephen Machuga, Tim Locklear, Bryant Chambers, Dr. Skip Rizzo, Robertson Allen, and Kari Ann Owen.
'Cuphead' is one of the most critically-acclaimed independent games in recent memory, but it takes its inspiration from a problematic period in American animation. Samantha Blackmon and Yussef Cole detail the history of Fleischer and Disney studios and hold 'Cuphead' accountable for its racist ancestors.
In the very first episode, I tell the story of how I got here and why this podcast was created. It started with me on the couch playing video games and ended all the way in my office recording the show (okay, I didn't move very far, but a lot of stuff happened in between). Along the way, I hear from scientists and gamers and journalists from all over the world, who try to help me answer one big question: Why do video games mean so much to us?
Guests: Evan Narcisse, games journalist and writer for Marvel's 'Rise of the Black Panther'; Ahmed Ali Akbar, writer and podcaster for Buzzfeed; and Tom Boellstorff, anthropologist and author of 'Coming of Age in Second Life'.
Our first episode is due out in the beginning of November, but here's a little glimpse of what's to come!
Side Quests are interviews or short pieces that didn't fit into any specific episode, but that I still wanted to explore and share. For this first Side Quest, I chatted with the creator of A Mortician's Tale, Gabby DaRienzo, about her life in games, her love of NeoPets, and the Death Positive movement that led to the creation of A Mortician's Tale.