Introducing

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We are proud to present the inaugural issue of The New York Review of Video Games, an online magazine dedicated to thinking seriously about electronic play, written and produced by a New York University-based community of faculty and student game scholars.

Despite our affiliation, we’re not an academic journal. Rather, we believe that with the ascent of video games to the fore of popular culture, there’s room for a thoughtful, argumentative, and irreverent publication devoted to parsing all corners of this expanding field, from considering particular games to thinking about the medium’s social, political, and economic implications.

We were moved to start this publication by the blunt realization that nothing like it exists. With very few exceptions, anyone currently curious about gaming can turn to one of three avenues. The first is game blogs, where games are often treated like cars, taken apart and subjected to a thorough mechanical examination that is comprehensible to few outside a small community of enthusiasts. While these outlets have their value, we think it necessary to find a new language to discuss games, one that leaves the minute machinations behind and seeks instead to capture the passion and the wonder that make us all spend so many of our hours with a controller at hand.

The second form of writing about games we reject is that sporadically available in the press. Despite maturing both as an industry and as a medium, video games still seem to evoke some unfortunate concoction of dismissal, derision, and alarm in many of the journalists who cover them. While questions of violence or addiction—largely settled by scholars long ago—continue to haunt the conversation about games, little or no attention is paid to both the cataclysmic shifts and the tiny tremors that are each day reshaping video game technology, design, marketing, and community. We hope to fill this gap by providing reviews, interviews, essays, and reports that would be of interest to both those familiar with video games and those curious to learn more about them.

Finally, while we are indebted to the many fine thinkers—in academia and beyond—whose work continues to challenge and inspire us, we believe that we are still far removed from a thorough understanding of video games, the ways in which they differ from other media, and the relationships, not always obvious, they foster with their players.

These are big questions, and they mustn’t be addressed by scholars alone. With time, we hope to turn this publication into a platform in which academics and designers, artists and policy makers, bloggers and gamers and other interested parties could discuss the topics that occupy us all, and together inch towards a better understanding of what may already be called, with little or no exaggeration, the predominant medium of our generation.

We hope you enjoy this inaugural issue. We’ll be updating the magazine regularly, and urge you to visit us again soon as well as sign up for our mailing list for ongoing updates.  In the meantime, game on!

Liel Leibovitz, Editor, is a visiting assistant professor focusing primarily on video game and interactive media research and theory. Having received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2007, Leibovitz continues to study the ontology of electronic game play, exploring such diverse issues as human-machine interaction, gaming and the construction of player subjectivity, and representations of death and violence in video games. Prior to coming to NYU, he taught at Barnard College. He is a member of the advisory board of the New York chapter of the Digital Games Research Association, a founding member of the NYU Faculty Council on Games, and a member of the academic advisory board of the American Jewish Historical Society. He is also the author or co-author of several books of non-fiction, including, most recently, The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election, co-written with Todd Gitlin, as well as contributor to newspapers and magazines such as the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Dissent, and Tablet.

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