Guest Editor Brian Oliu & Justin Lawrence Daugherty
Shigeru Miyamoto, the driving creative force behind some of the most celebrated video game titles of our time, once said that his job title at Nintendo is ‘ningen kougaku,’ or ‘human engineering.’ The idea behind this is that he regards himself as more than a video game designer–that he is crafting something that teaches us how to interact with ourselves in ways that we may not have perceived possible.
It is simple for people to write off games as just ‘games’: voluntary movement, things in place for pure pleasure, something that we participate in for our own enjoyment; certainly not worthy of anything more than a quick glance over. When professionals ‘play,’ whether that is a perfectly arced jump shot, or the whip of a tight spiral, it can resemble something that can be seen as art: there is beauty in watching an expert move through their world, even if the world itself exists on a plane of frivolousness.
However, what about the rest of us? Those who cheer on our favorite teams from our couches, those who cannot dunk, those who throw horseshoes, swing golf clubs, string combos together with the grace of a thousand thumbs. There must be a place for beauty here; for we have all known the stomach drop of a forced fumble, the joy in grinding & leveling up.
Consider this an experiment in play: puzzles and patterns, chutes and ladders, gains and losses. Sundog Lit & myself are truly honored to present these works to you in hopes that they will engage you in the way that they did us: we hope that you will be defeated, we hope that you will unlock secrets, we hope that you will be guided up, over, and through each world.
Welcome to Sundog Lit’s Games Issue. Let us make a journey to the cave of monsters.
–Brian Oliu, Guest Editor, Sundog Lit Games Issue
When I thought to do a theme issue earlier this year, I wondered a lot on the theme. I wanted something fresh and new. Something to generate electricity. When it occurred to me to do a GAMES issue, I thought, naturally, I need a guest editor, and, naturally, who else would I ask to do that guest editing but Brian Oliu? I could not do a games issue without him involved in some way. And, he jumped on board. We debuted the theme at AWP 2013 and invited submissions of anything games-related. We received baseball poems and Game of Thrones poems, essays on Pac-Man and Blizzard. We were unsure what kind of response we would get, but the response was GIGANTIC. And, so is this issue. We have 37(!) authors all writing down games for you, taking you from Hyrule to JR Smith to made-up board games to Uncharted fiction to Minecraft. There’s sport and identity and play and rules. We set out to bring a few games writers together and what we got was an anthology, of sorts, a call to attention to a rising genre of literary writing about play and games. Let these pieces get under your skin, let them be a part of you. GAME ON.
–Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Managing/Founding Editor