Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture








This edition is as much about Game Studies as it about the games being studied. At its heart there are really two impulses behind the collection of critical thought we have been fortunate enough to gather for this issue of Reconstruction. First, there is the sense that games can’t do anything. Second, there is the sense that games don’t do anything. Their origin (and the underlying biases) makes these sentiments particularly intriguing. In the simplest terms, these premises delineate competing camps, as well. Roger Ebert notoriously asserts that video games will never be art (Ebert). Similarly, and yet quite differently, Espen Aarseth proclaims that a game has no intertext (cf. 48). Frankly, locating a project within these dismally disparate parameters is kind out like hitting water after falling out of a boat in the Pacific Ocean. It is, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant. Nevertheless, the question of games and cultural resistance is something of a loaded one given the prevailing popular and professorial positions on the subject. For his part, Gonzalo Frasca, wonders if (video) games will ever have the purchase to qualify as progressive political texts (cf. 86). Moreover, neither of the current editors began approaching games, gamers and gaming with either or even an inkling for these positions. Quite simply, we recognize that gaming is a (kind of) social act. It doesn’t take a rhetorician—though one of us is—to notice that any assertion implies its negation, nor does it take someone versed in cultural theory—though that would be the other of us—to find that any discourse defines itself by implicitly disqualifying and that this signals a clear relationship of power.


© Marc Ouellette. Posted with permission of the author.

Original Publication Citation

Ouellette, M., & Thompson, J. (2012). Playing for keeps: Games and cultural resistance [Special Issue]. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 12(2).