Video Game Genres – Simulator

We have simulators for everything these days. Janitor sims. Driving sims. Treasure hunting sims. Probably a sim where you watch paint dry.

Luxuria Superbia: On Electric Sex

One of (I think) the frontiers of video games or digital fiction is the representation of sex and sexuality. We have this really interesting space where – you know, gaming is still stereotypically gendered as a male activity (even though women make up around half of the gaming community), and that obviously bleeds through into […]

Satisfactory: On Outputs

Since starting a new save in Satisfactory, I’ve just reached oil extraction again – you can unlock a new type of machine that pulls oil out the ground, and you can connect it to a refiner to create plastic or rubber, that sort of thing – but it’s interesting, because it’s the first time in […]

Viscera Cleanup Detail: Beyond Comedy

So I started playing Viscera Cleanup Detail, and – guys, I’m in trouble. If you’re not familiar, Viscera Cleanup Detail is in the vein of Surgeon Simulator, or any of those hard to control games where the comedy stems from the ragdoll physics. In this one, you’re a space janitor, cleaning up in the wake […]

Rover Mechanic Simulator: Work and Play

So one of the basic things about technological change is that as new techniques come in, they make old techniques and technologies redundant. Sometimes those old techniques become the preserve of artisans or hobbyists, and sometimes they just sit in the archive. But there’s also this curious overlap, where contemporary tasks get picked up as […]

Stardew Valley: Food Production and Surplus Labour

So by now we’re pretty familiar with the notion of games that simulate jobs. There’s Euro Truck Simulator, where you pretend to be a long-haul driver, there’s Farm Manager and Farming Simulator – I’ve recently been playing Rover Mechanic Simulator, which I might write about soon – there’s a whole stack of them, and they […]

Forager: On Wilderness and the Whip

So I have this long-standing curiosity about how video games use space. When you’re playing a game, you can walk around an area and poke into all the little corners – it’s just a very different experience of space to what you’d get in a movie, for instance, where the camera and your field of […]


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