A wide-ranging anthology of essays exploring one of the most vital art forms on the planet today
From the earliest computers to the smartphones in our pockets, video games have been on our screens and part of our lives for over fifty years. Critical Hits celebrates this sophisticated medium and considers its lasting impact on our culture and ourselves.
This collection of stylish, passionate, and searching essays opens with an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado, who edited the anthology alongside J. Robert Lennon. In these pages, writer-gamers find solace from illness and grief, test ideas about language, bodies, power, race, and technology, and see their experiences and identities reflected in—or complicated by—the interactive virtual worlds they inhabit. Elissa Washuta immerses herself in The Last of Us during the first summer of the pandemic. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah describes his last goodbye to his father with the help of Disco Elysium. Jamil Jan Kochai remembers being an Afghan American teenager killing Afghan insurgents in Call of Duty. Also included are a comic by MariNaomi about her time as a video game producer; a deep dive into “portal fantasy” movies about video games by Charlie Jane Anders; and new work by Alexander Chee, Hanif Abdurraqib, Larissa Pham, and many more.
J. Robert Lennon is the author of nine novels and three story collections, including Let Me Think, Subdivision, and Broken River.
Carmen Maria Machado is the author of the memoir In the Dream House and the story collection Her Body and Other Parties.
“This is certainly our first Great American Gamer Essay Collection.”—The Millions
“These fun, funny, occasionally cutting but often affirming essays celebrate the surprising potency of video games and virtual experiences. With any luck, this book will find a place of honor on every literary gamer’s bookshelf.”—Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter and co-author of The Disaster Artist