Programming Note: Darts and Letters is off and retooling to relaunch in a new format early 2024.

Mini-Series: The Politics of Video Games

  • Thumbnail for EP61: Enter the Zuckerverse (ft. Sandrine Han and Ian Bogost)

    EP61: Enter the Zuckerverse (ft. Sandrine Han and Ian Bogost)

    The term "metaverse" comes from a 1993 science fiction novel. Since then, it's grown from a dystopian literary concept to a reality that corporations want to sell you. Strap on some VR goggles and escape your tired analog life! Except that the systemic issues we already have seem to be creeping into the metaverse, too.
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  • Thumbnail for EP31: Moral Kombat (ft. Liana Kerzner, Cyril Lachel, & Henry Jenkins) [Rebroadcast]

    EP31: Moral Kombat (ft. Liana Kerzner, Cyril Lachel, & Henry Jenkins) [Rebroadcast]

    On this episode: guest host and lead producer Jay Cockburn travels back to the 90s, and looks at the story of Mortal Kombat. The game was violent, gory, glorious. It was a youth rebellion in miniature. Parents rebelled against the rebellion, staging their own petulant counter-revolution, and politicians embraced it. It  triggering a moral panic and even congressional hearings into violence in games. But why did it happen, who did it serve, and what does it tell us about our own culture?
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  • Thumbnail for EP50: Don’t hate the player (ft. Alexander Lee)

    EP50: Don’t hate the player (ft. Alexander Lee)

    Guest host (and regular lead producer) Jay Cockburn gets ready to enter the world of e-sports, with a lesson in Super Smash Bros from a top player and professional coach. Find out why he won’t make it (spoiler alert: he doesn’t have that reaction time he used to); but also, find out why he might not want to make it. Unfortunately, e-sports have many of the problems that ‘real’ sports do, and some are even worse.
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  • Thumbnail for EP44: Gamify Everything (ft. Sebastian Deterding, Paris Martineau & Mostafa Henaway)

    EP44: Gamify Everything (ft. Sebastian Deterding, Paris Martineau & Mostafa Henaway)

    Setting goals for the new year? Learning a language? Going for a run? Delivering food? Picking packages off a warehouse shelf for delivery? There’s a game for that. Or, at least, a gamified system designed to nudge you in a series of pre-programmed directions in the service of the state, techno-capitalist overlords, or any number of other groups and entities that chart the course of our hyper-connected, cutting-edge, dystopian 21st century lives. This week on Darts and Letters, guest host Jay Cockburn and our guests take us through gamification of…everything.
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  • Thumbnail for EP40: War Games (ft. Tanner Mirrlees)

    EP40: War Games (ft. Tanner Mirrlees)

    Why are there so many war games? They exploded in popularity post 9/11. Maybe you’ve played some of them. Or all of them. This week on Darts and Letters, Tanner Mirrlees, associate professor in the Communication and Digital Media Studies Program at Ontario Tech University and author of Hearts and Mines: The US Empire’s Culture Industry, joins us as we plunge headlong into the history of the militainment industrial complex, to understand the militarization of gaming and the gamification of war.
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