Some of the things I have written (or am writing).


Fun, Taste and Games. Co-authored with David Thomas (February 2019)

A short book seeking to reclaim fun as a meaningful concept for discussing games and play. The book establishes an aesthetics for games and play using fun as a central concept articulated through its relationship to ambiguity, set-outsideness and second-order design.

Games, Design & Play: A Detailed Approach to Iterative Game Design (Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley Professional, 2016)

Games, Design & Play is a game design textbook. It is divided into three sections: Concepts, Process and Practice. Concepts outlines an inclusive approach to understanding games; Process looks at the iterative method, the forms of documentation most suitable for iterative practices, and the “soft skills” necessary for collaboration; Practice drills down into the four phases of the iterative process: concepting, prototyping, playtesting and evaluating. 

Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Art and Games (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015)

Part of the Playful Thinking series of short volumes on games and their relation to another facet of culture. Works of Game investigates the ways games and art are perceived by their own communities of practice, and how they consider the other’s using their cultural value systems. The book looks at the ways the communities of practice consider the conceptual, formal and experiential affordances of games and art.

Iterate: Ten Perspectives on Design and Failure. Co-authored with Colleen Macklin (April 2019)

A series of case studies on how a wide range of creative disciplines use iteration—artists, musicians, skateboarders, chefs, DJs, radio, writing, interaction design and game design. Each case study is used to frame a particular methodology and mindset around iteration.


“Independent Games” in Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016)

A look at the rise of the indie game phenomenon. A little comparative media, a bit of theory and a lot of historical analysis on the conditions that produced the indie games movement.

“The Slow Grind: The Cult of Commitment to Mastery in Skateboarding and Skateboard Videogames” in Sports Videogames. Ed. Mia Consalvo, Konstantin Mitgutsch and Abe Stein. (New York: Routledge, 2013)

A critique of skateboard videogames from the perspective of an ex-skater and game studies scholar and game designer.

“Freakin’ hard: Game Curricula about Game Design, Issues and Technology,” co-authored with Colleen Macklin, in Games, Learning and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age. Ed. Constance Steinkeuhler, Kurt Squire and Sasha Barab. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). pp. 381-402

A discussion of the challenges in designing a curriculum using digital games and their design as a tool for teaching about cultural issues. The chapter discusses our work on Game Tech and Activate!. It also includes case studies of three similarly-focused programs.

Pandemic is my favorite serious game” Tabletop Games. Ed. Drew Davidson and Greg Costikyan. (Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press, 2011)

A critique of serious games through the lens of the cooperative boardgame, Pandemic.

“The Mechanic is the Message: A Post Mortem in Progress,” co-authored with Brenda Romero, in Ethics and Game Design: Teaching Values through Play. Ed. Karen Schrier and David Gibson. (Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2010). pp. 311-29

An unusually structured collaborative essay: Brathwaite provided a post mortem on her design of Train and Siochan Leat, while I wrote a critique of the same games. We did not read one-another’s contributions until just before publication.

“The Purpose and Meaning of Drop7Well-Played 2.0. Ed. Drew Davidson. (Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press, 2010)

A meditation on the abstract puzzle game, Drop7. I explore the role the game has in my life, and theorize on reasons for its hold on me.

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