Iroquois Pliskin, who may have the coolest name in all the blogosphere, writes a blog called Versus CluClu Land. If you haven't bookmarked or added it to your feed reader yet - well, I'll just wait here a minute so you can address that oversight.....
Iroquois mixes games criticism with a healthy dose of philosophy, which adds a fascinating and thoughtful dimension to his understanding of video games. He's only been at it for a month, and already he's getting well-deserved traction from Leigh Alexander, Mitch Krpata, and Tycho at Penny Arcade.
This is enormously encouraging to me because it suggests that it's still possible for good writing about games to emerge from out of nowhere, purely on the strength and intellectual appeal of its content. With all the hundreds (thousands?) of game-related sites on the 'net, getting lost in the shuffle would seem to be inevitable without a PR machine at your side. Happily, Versus CluClu Land proves otherwise - despite being named after a bubble fish named Bubbles. ;-)
Iroquois recently commented on my post about Jim Gee's GLS presentation on games and the future of learning. Gee believes, among other things, that well-designed games possess an inherent potential for teaching kids to learn, especially when they provide emergent gameplay possibilities. You can read the post for details on what Gee means, but Iraqois believes we shouldn't ignore the dynamic relationship that arises between the player and the game designer. He drew my attention to a post on his blog that describes how this works:
We do not only learn rules during a game but also find out what these rules are for: our uptake of these rules is also the act of learning the design to which these rules are being put. The pleasure of video games, it seems to me, comes from our sense that we are collaborating in the realization of the designer's intentions by learning those rules. When she makes a game-world governed by certain rules, the designer is inviting a player to share an intention with her and participate in the realization of same end. Our appreciation of these rules is like the appreciation of nature in this way. We enjoy perceiving a world shaped by an intelligence towards a final end.
You can read the rest of Iroquois' essay Rules and Fun here. Excellent stuff.