Categories
Articles (non-refereed)

“Critical War Play”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. “Critical War Play.” Communication Currents 9.5 (December 2014). Solicited for inclusion.

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“War Bytes: The Critique of Militainment in Spec Ops: The Line

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. “War Bytes: The Critique of Militainment in Spec Ops: The Line.Critical Studies in Media Communication 31(4) (2014): 265-282.

Abstract:

The vast majority of commercial military-themed video games produced after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks celebrate Americas War on Terror as a grave but necessary and patriotic undertaking. This essay argues that the multi-platform Spec Ops: The Line (2012) runs counter to this tradition in recent military entertainment (or militainment) by engendering a host of gameplay displeasures that critique the interactive attractions of mainstream first- and third-person shooters. In particular, the games brutal mise-en-scène, its intertextual references to popular war media, and its real and imagined opportunities for player choice create a discordant feeling that lays bare the problematic ease with which most video war games indulge in their nationalistic power fantasies. The result is a game that wields its affective distance as a critique of the necessary illusion that all military shooters trade in, but one that so few acknowledge.

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“Gaming Art”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. and Michael Fleisch. “Gaming Art.” Journal for International Digital Media Arts Association 9.1 (Spring 2013).

 

Abstract:

This article makes the case that the “are video games art?” debate — recently reignited when famed film critic Roger Ebert declared that games can never achieve artistic standing — presents us with instructive insights about how popular commodities attain cultural worth. The true value of this public debate lies in the way that it showcases how the discourse itself functions as a kind of game. Furthermore, the debate highlights the need for recognizing video gaming’s power as an engine for creativity and innovation across the arts.

Categories
Books

Flow TV: Television in the Age of Media Convergence

Citation:

Kackman, Michael, Marnie Binfield, Matthew Thomas Payne, Allison Perlman, and Bryan Sebok (Eds.). Flow TV: Television in the Age of Media Convergence. New York: Routledge, 2010.

 

Description:

From viral videos on YouTube to mobile television on smartphones and beyond, TV has overflowed its boundaries. If Raymond Williams’ concept of flow challenges the idea of a discrete television text, then convergence destabilizes the notion of television as a discrete object.

Flow TV examines television in an age of technological, economic, and cultural convergence. Seeking to frame a new set of concerns for television studies in the 21st century, this collection of all new essays establishes television’s continued importance in a shifting media culture. Considering television and new media not as solely technical devices, but also as social technologies, the essays in this anthology insist that we turn our attention to the social, political, and cultural practices that surround and inform those devices’ use. The contributors examine television through a range of critical approaches from formal and industrial analysis to critical technology studies, reception studies, political economy, and critiques of television’s transnational flows. This volume grows out of the critical community formed around the popular online journal Flow: A Critical Form on Television and Media Culture (flowtv.org). It is ideal for courses in television studies or media convergence.

Categories
Books

Joystick soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games

Citation:

Huntemann, Nina B., and Matthew Thomas Payne (Eds.). Joystick soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games. New York: Routledge, 2009.

 

Description:

Joystick Soldiers is the first anthology to examine the reciprocal relationship between militarism and video games. War has been an integral theme of the games industry since the invention of the first video game, Spacewar! in 1962.While war video games began as entertainment, military organizations soon saw their potential as combat simulation and recruitment tools. A profitable and popular relationship was established between the video game industry and the military, and continues today with video game franchises like America’s Army, which was developed by the U.S.Army as a public relations and recruitment tool.

This collection features all new essays that explore how modern warfare has been represented in and influenced by video games. The contributors explore the history and political economy of video games and the “military-entertainment complex;” present textual analyses of military-themed video games such as Metal Gear Solid; and offer reception studies of gamers, fandom, and political activism within online gaming.

Categories
Edited Book Chapters

“Interpreting Gameplay through Existential Ludology”

Citation:
Payne, Matthew Thomas. “Interpreting Gameplay through Existential Ludology.” Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education. Edited by Richard E. Ferdig (Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2009): 621-635.

Abstract:
This chapter introduces and operationalizes an innovative interpretive strategy called “existential ludology” to explain how the game-play mechanics of two tactical shooter video gamesAmerica’s Army: Rise of a Soldier (Microsoft’s Xbox) and Full Spectrum Warrior (Sony’s PlayStation 2)educate gamers on how to play militarily. These titles, both produced in part by the U.S. Department of Defense, engender strict, doctrinal learning opportunities by embedding official combat protocols into their game-play structures. By employing existential ludology as an interpretive tool we can understand these military-backed games from an experiential, player-centric perspective, while also recognizing how their seemingly innocuous game-play is located within, and linked to, larger networks of power. Moreover, existential ludology’s flexibility as an interpretive instrument encourages educators to recognize the educational affordances of popular video games so that they might adopt these popular media artifacts for their own pedagogical ends.

Categories
Edited Book Chapters

“Attack of the Livid Dead: Recalibrating Terror in the Post-9/11 Zombie Film”

Citation:

Muntean, Nick & Payne, Matthew Thomas. “Attack of the Livid Dead: Recalibrating Terror in the Post-9/11 Zombie Film.” The War on Terror and American Popular Culture: September 11 and Beyond. Edited by Andrew Schopp and Matthew B. Hill. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009: 239-258.

From the anthology’s Introduction:

“Nicholas Muntean and Matthew Thomas Payne’s ‘Attack of the Livid Dead: Recalibrating Terror in the Post-9/11 Zombie Film’ interrogates post-September 11 zombie films, and the significant changes in this genre’s formula, as they reflect a cultural tension between affirming traditional American ideals and challenging our contemporary social and political practice … Their study emphasizes that while [28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead] diverge from predecessors in common ways, especially by depicting the zombie as a ravenous, swift threat that cares for nothing but itself and attacks rabidly and indiscriminately (i.e., terrorism) rather than the slow, almost moronic figures of tradition (i.e., the Cold War), they diverge from each other in terms of what they reflect about post-September 11 culture and how to function within that culture.” (pp. 34-35)