Well Played is a concept of providing in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found through the experience of playing a game. Around Halloween in 2020, the Well Played Journal started its 10th volume. Looking back, the first “well played” presentation and article was in 2003, with the first book coming out in 2009, and the first journal issue released in 2011.
Thinking of Well Played during the pandemic underscored how games have been a part of our experiences, and the value and role games have had in people’s lives this past year or so.This Well Played retrospective, along with companion essays on games during the pandemic, capture a critical history of Well Played and highlight how much games can matter in our lives. The retrospective essays and the pandemic essays have resonant themes, so we’ve woven them together to share a written tapestry of Well Played and games, value, and meaning.
In this collection of over 20 pieces of original contemporaneous reporting and analysis, veteran game journalist Kyle Orland takes a look back at gaming’s “awkward adolescence” in the early 2000s. In doing so, he examines the technological, cultural, and business forces that were roiling the industry during this important transition period, gleaning modern lessons from a time when video games were growing out of their “kids stuff” image and into a global entertainment powerhouse.
Well Played (Vol. 10, No. 2)
This special issue of Well Played examines playable theater.
Playable theatre, simply put, is live performance that integrates meaningful audience agency, where participants have some kind of perceivable and transformative impact on the experience. Playable theatre can take a variety of forms, from immersive and participatory theatre, to live action roleplaying (larping), to pervasive alternate reality games, to escape rooms with live actors, to interactive theme park experiences, to some of the mediated live performances that have become commonplace in the age of COVID-19.
For a companion to the retrospective, we invite authors to submit essays that articulate how games have been a part of their pandemic experience, and the value and role games have had in their lives this past year. By analyzing these gameplay experiences, we hope to highlight how much games can matter.
The ETC Press is proud to announce the release of Well Played Retrospective: The Past, Pandemic and Future of Video Games, Value and Meaning, edited by Drew Davidson, Ira Fay, Clara Fernandez-Vara, Jane Pinckard, & John Sharp.
The ETC Press is proud to announce the release of the Teaching the Game: A collection of syllabi for game design, development, and implementation, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, edited by Richard E. Ferdig, Emily Baumgartner, & Enrico Gandolfi.