Welcome to the Codex

Vol. 1
editors-note

Editors’ Note

Welcome to the first volume of The Codex, a collection of curated essays on race, gender, and history in video games and interactive narratives. These essays are brief forays into critical issues that impact the aesthetic, narrative, and technological study of digital games, as well as the ways that play itself constitutes a critical practice.

The Codex is a regular publication of The_Critical_Is, an experimental, experiential working group attending to the creation, consumption, and critique of video games. Learn more about our enterprise at gaming.thecritical.is.

Yours,

The Editors

the-writers

The Writers

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander

English Ph.D. Student, Cornell View Details
Kimberly Bain

Kimberly Bain

English Ph.D. Student, Princeton View Details
Criss Guy

Criss Guy

Five College Blended Learning Post-Baccalaureate View Details
Jeffrey Moro

Jeffrey Moro

5CollDH Post Baccalaureate Resident View Details
Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander

English Ph.D. Student, Cornell

Elizabeth Alexander is a first-year English doctoral student at Cornell University (BA, English and Black Studies, Amherst College ‘14). Her research focuses on black women’s narratives, particularly women writing during slavery and post-1965, attentive to the creation of new worlds and different bodies in the process of surviving trauma. She also attempts to bring new media and digital concepts to bear on literature, as well as using digital technology as a novel method of presenting critical work. She can be found at @_superluminal.

Kimberly Bain

Kimberly Bain

English Ph.D. Student, Princeton

Kimberly Bain is a Post-Baccalaureate Resident for the Five College Digital Humanities program in Amherst, MA. A prolific writer, she has written on topics ranging from sexual assault in film to postcolonial consciousness in Hong Kong to, more recently, digital games and issues of virtuality and embodiment. Bain received her BA in English and East Asian Studies from Amherst College and will be joining Princeton University’s English department in Fall 2015 as a Ph.D. student. You can reach her at @kgbain.

Criss Guy

Criss Guy

Five College Blended Learning Post-Baccalaureate

Criss Guy is a Post-Baccalaureate Fellow in Blended Learning for the Five Colleges, Inc. Blended Learning Initiative. Criss’s engagement with video games in context of The_Critical_Is stems from his dual interest in historical narratives and how stories shape representations of individual and collective identity. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College. Feel free to contact him at @thiscrissguy.

Jeffrey Moro

Jeffrey Moro

5CollDH Post Baccalaureate Resident

Jeffrey Moro is the Senior Post-Baccalaureate Resident with Five College Digital Humanities. He collaborates with the program’s director and his fellow post-bacs on a variety of administrative and scholarly programs, focusing in particular on the 5CollDH Undergraduate Fellowship Program, classroom outreach, and project management across all of 5CollDH’s initiatives. He also runs a new media gallery series, E.LIT / NET.ART and co-edits The_Critical_Is. He graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in English and Theater & Dance.

crisss-essay

(Un)Acceptable Violence in Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry

By Criss Guy

painting of Battle of Vertières in 1803

There is no such thing as a discrete revolution.

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jeffreys-essay

Strange Creatures Made Of Memory

By Jeffrey Moro

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.29.50 AM

There are strange creatures lurking at the edges of video games. Players who follow the rules may never encounter these creatures, or the alien landscapes they inhabit. Or, the game might erupt at the seams, giving even obedient players glimpses at bizarre worlds. If met, whether by chance or design, these creatures can work strange energies on the game. They can bend dimensional space, skip through time, or crash the game, leaving even the hardware inert silicon.

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kims-essay-front

The Mechanical Body, the Existential Slave

By Kimberly Bain

Video game controllers are liminal spaces. They inhabit and embody an existence between two experiences, two imaginings. What does it mean to hold a tool in our hands and translate ourselves into a digital space? How do we think of the console as a critical tool, a piece of technology that enacts certain social spaces and ideas? How can the tensions created in a liminal space translate into the “real world?”

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historical-memory

Haunted By Historical Memory

By Elizabeth Murice Alexander

There is a rather uncomfortable way in which the game floats between being the historical fictional representation wherein Adewalé frees the enslaved and thus bolsters a maroon community and being an interlocking combination of missions one must complete in order to successfully win the game. To put it differently, what does it mean for slave revolt to be a “game” that one can “play” and “win”?

floating digital bodies

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