Critical Hits: Writers on Gaming and the Alternate Worlds We Inhabit edited by Carmen Maria Machado, J Robert Lennon
'A loot drop of brilliance' Naomi Alderman, author of The Power
Whether you're an avid gamer, a Twitch subscriber, or just an incidental Subway Surfer, video games have changed the way you interact with the world, and have been part of our lives for over fifty years. Critical Hits is a celebration of play and playfulness, and the lasting impact of videogames. Composed of sharp, impassioned, and inquisitive essays, this collection begins with an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado and presents video games through the eyes of eighteen writer-gamers as they straddle real and artificial worlds.
In games, they find solace from illness and grief, test ideas about language, bodies, race, and technology, and see their experiences and identities reflected in-or complicated by-the interactive virtual realities they inhabit. From a deep dive into "portal fantasy" games by Charlie Jane Anders and a comic by MariNaomi about her time as a video game producer, to the overlaps in gaming and poetry by Stephen Sexton, Critical Hits illuminates fragments of an industry that is wildly popular, grossly misunderstood, and absolutely spellbinding.
Elissa Washuta immerses herself in The Last of Us during the first summer of the pandemic. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah describes his last goodbye to his father with the help of Disco Elysium. Jamil Jan Kochai remembers being an Afghan American teenager killing Afghan insurgents in Call of Duty. Also included are a comic by MariNaomi about her time as a video game producer; a deep dive into “portal fantasy” movies about video games by Charlie Jane Anders; and new work by Alexander Chee, Hanif Abdurraqib, Larissa Pham, and many more.
Paperback / 256 pages