Here’s a short supplement to The Ethics of Selling Children (TEoSC), which was read by a lot of people. Some of those people approved. Others did a *rollseyes*. And someone scratched on my bedroom window while I tried to sleep… whoa, sorry, was actually channelling Salem’s Lot there.
First, a reminder of what this was all about. Confessional writing has been going on since for-ever and was not invented by folks who like writing about games. However confessional games writing is in vogue right now so TEoSC was about the dangers that stem from how intoxicating such naked writing can be. It was not about confessions being worthless as games criticism, which is an entirely separate topic.
I kept myself out of Twitter combat because a subject this nuanced was not suitable for 140-character transactions. It can smack of telling everyone to put down their pens and shut up with the writing already. And the added bonus is that when you take on personal writing, it can easily look like you’re attacking the writer with some brutal word-fu.
We had some great commentary on the article itself but who else wrote responses longer than 140 characters?
Leigh Alexander: “Snow Cats” Alexander has second thoughts about the importance of personal writing in understanding games, noting TEoSC in passing. (Scroll down to the end of the blog post.)
Amanda Lange: “On Games as A Confessional” Do confessional games have an unfair advantage over non-confessional efforts?
Chris Priestman: “Someone Else’s Shoes: Personal Games vs. Game Design” Does the personal nature of confessional games cripple criticism?
Jonas Kyratzes: “Would You Kindly Not” Referring to TEoSC, Kyratzes went into detail about problems he had with a personal piece written by Mattie Brice titled “Would You Kindly” and, well… things went a bit crazy after that. (Richard Goodness described Kyratzes’ post as “a case of using a crate of dynamite to dig a fencepost”.)
Liz Ryerson: “why we talk about ourselves” A response to the Kyratzes/Brice situation through the lens of personal writing; this is indirectly a response to TEoSC.
Dylan Holmes: “This Is Not a Story About Gaming with Autism” Holmes explains how he chose not to exploit his personal life to boost his writing. (Holmes recently published a book called A Mind Forever Voyaging: A History of Storytelling in Video Games.)
Lastly, I have no intention to write any more on the subject myself, although I could probably be tricked into a discussion in the comment threads. I get grumpy when I write about writing and Electron Dance is supposed to be about games.
Oh God, now I’m writing about writing about writing.