Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Why I need to learn Italian

I like getting books through the post, although nothing beats a bookshop, and yesterday delivered three copies of Schermi Interattivi (edited by Matteo Bittanti). Lovely. My essay is ‘Replicando Blade Runner, tra giochi di superficie e spazi profundi’, firmly about the fantastic Westwood game rather than the film. There is an accompanying website that should be interesting if you speak Italian. My essay was originally ‘Replicating the Blade Runner’ in The Blade Runner Experience- The Legacy of A Science Fiction Classic (edited by Will Brooker). Also lovely. Thanks to Matteo’s generosity as an editor (and a string of translators who must curse my prose more than most) I now have quite a list of publications in Italian. Some, such as this essay and (2004) “Amministrare il reale: per una letura di SimCity” [“Administering the Real: Reading SimCity”] in SimCity: Mappando le città virtuali [SimCity: Mapping the Virtual City], ed. and trans. Matteo Bittanti, Milan: Unicopli, 2004,156-73 are republications of English originals, while others are only available (unless people ask me directly) in Italian: (2005) “La Critica Videoludica Funziona?“ Ripetizione, iterazione ed estetiche del videogioco” [Is Game Criticism Working?: Iteration, Repetition and Aesthetics”], in Gli Strumenti del Videogiocare: Logiche, Estetiche e (V)ideologie [Understanding Videogames: Logics, Aesthetics and (V)ideologies, ed. and trans. Matteo Bittanti, Milan: Costa Nolan, (2005) “La Storia é un’assurdità: Civilization come esempio di barbarie storiografica?” [“History is Bunk: Historiographic Barbarism in Civilization”] in Civilization: Storie Virtuali, Fantasie Reali [Civilization: Virtual Stories, Real Fantasies], ed. Matteo Bittanti, trans. Valentina Paggiarin, Milan: Costa Nolan, 65-81, and (2005) “Presagi di Doom III: Tra le Viscere delle Prime Schermete” [“Portents of Doom III: Reading the Entrails of the Early Screenshots”] in Doom: Giocare in Prima Persona [Doom: The First Person Reader], ed. Sue Morris and Matteo Bittanti, trans. Paolo Ruffino, Milan: Costa Nolan, 95-105. The essay in Gli Strumenti del Videogiocare is probably my best piece of games writing. And I really like the Doom essay as well. The core ideas were reworked for an article in Games & Culture ((2006) “What Are We Really Looking At?: The Future-Orientation of Videogame Play” Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media, 1.2, 127-140) but it is a real shame it isn’t in English anywhere. Actually, it is a real shame that any of the books and book series that Matteo has so industriously put together haven’t been picked up by an English language publisher. As someone pointed out in a discussion of the paucity of current games writing kicked off by Greg Costikyan at, Italian is the language to speak if you want substantial (academic) games criticism.

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