This allows us to see the underlying problem of digital game studies: ‘narratologists’ and ‘ludologists’ alike would rather be fragged to bits than make a negative value judgement.
The reason for this is to be found in the history of game studies: once upon a time, videogames were only taken seriously by psychologists. They would lock up a 14-year-old to play Street Fighter II for 48 hours straight, submit him to a marathon of Rorschach ink blot tests, and then come out of the lab convinced of the detrimental effects of videogames (but without a second thought about the detrimental effects of their testing methods).
When game studies emerged from the primordial digital ooze in the mid-1990s, this kind of research was still prevalent. It is therefore understandable that ‘serious’ game researchers are loath to utter a bad word about their object of study. If they would proclaim a certain videogame ‘bad’, this might be taken to mean that all videogames are bad. So, to be on the safe side, game studies has reverted to a particularly bland variant of formalism and stuck to it. —Julian Kücklich —Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Herrigan: First Person. New Media as Story, Performance, and Game (Dichtung Digital)
This 2004 review of First Person is… interesting. The narratology/ludology infighting has largely (thankfully) settled down, but I blogged it anyway because it usefully points out one of the major problems in new media studies. It takes time to get yourself published on paper. The extra time (and expense) doesn’t help the value of your printed scholarship. It does, however, ensure that your work will be out of date sooner.
In my current job, I’ve felt that my online work is appropriately valued. My department chair lists his own blog on his annual report, and the other day he told me that some of his blog entries are going to be published in Croatian.