The so-called "narratology vs. ludology" debate in game studies can be a beast of discourse to start studying from square one, and Juul does a good jo...moreThe so-called "narratology vs. ludology" debate in game studies can be a beast of discourse to start studying from square one, and Juul does a good job of outlining the tensions that have been expressed over a decade of back-and-forth. It's the second time I've read Half-Real, and it's been valuable to return to this book in light of recent conversations around the rejection of formalism in personal, "zinester" games. It's clear that Juul still primarily views games as systems of rules and of play, but his attempt to integrate the concept of game as a narrative system highlights how the two approaches are in fact intersecting subsets of a larger toolbox with which we can leverage to study games.(less)
A solid primer to a framework for understanding textuality, audiences, and industry in an era of media convergence. Though I recognize that an argumen...moreA solid primer to a framework for understanding textuality, audiences, and industry in an era of media convergence. Though I recognize that an argument for the (often unacknowledged) importance and uniqueness of paratexts is important, I would love to have read more critical perspectives on this development—particularly in relation to its participation in a capitalist ecosystem.(less)
"Later I would think, maybe if I had told her, she would have confronted him, would have done something, but who can know these things?"
Storytelling...more "Later I would think, maybe if I had told her, she would have confronted him, would have done something, but who can know these things?"
Storytelling is often done in retrospect – one picks up the pieces to make sense of it all. 'Drown' is that kind of post-traumatic attempt. Never didactic or philosophically self-indulgent, this book consists of a series of episodes—perhaps psuedo-auto-biographical, perhaps interrelated—that deal with growing up and familial dysfunction in all their contradictions. Set in Santo Domingo and, later, New Jersey, the stories are lush with the kind of detail that could only be known to someone who had lived there. And yet, all stories also trace the theme of never wanting to be where you are. Whether it be the opening story 'Ysrael,' where two brothers at very different stages of life torment a disfigured village boy in a mask, or 'How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie,' where readers get instructions on impressing that significant New Jersey other – the displacement and alienation experienced by the Dominican migrant are stowed not too far away. To Junot Diaz's great credit, these are feelings that emerge from the events recounted, and not the other way around.
Though the polished voice of a recent Cornell creative writing MFA may be too evident at times—why did you stop the story there? you're not Carver, so don't try to be—Diaz's language is infectious and his stories haunting. 'Drown' is an awesome debut, and one that I recommend reading just prior to 'Oscar Wao.' When you start the latter, you'll feel right at home—or maybe you won't.(less)