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Leigh Alexander is a writer working at the intersection of technology and popular culture. She hosts the Guardian's tech podcast, does futurist and digital society reporting at How We Get To Next and Medium, writes a technomancy column at Motherboard called "Oracles of the Web", and occasionally does narrative design for independent video games. She recently published Monitor, a cyberpunk novella, and stealthily nurtures a crowdfunded ASMR video series devoted to vintage computing.

Laura is an editor and writer about entertainment and technology whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The LA Times, FiveThirtyEight, Slate, BBC and TIME. She worked as a senior editor at WIRED, founded and edited the Eisner Award-winning website ComicsAlliance, and scripted the Feminist Frequency video series Ordinary Women about incredible female leaders throughout history.

The Offworld Collection by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson

The Offworld Collection is an anthology of some of the best and most insightful writing about video games in the universe, created by (and often about) the experts so often ignored by mainstream tech culture: women, people of color, and other marginalized folks. The features in the book are just as varied as the roster of contributors, with features that explore everything from the growing world of competitive women's pinball to the dynamic lingo of gaming culture in China, reimagining roleplaying games through the lens of Native storytelling traditions, or how small, intimate games deal with sex and technology.

This book is a sophisticated but accessible look at an amazingly diverse landscape, where small, simple experiences can reflect our humanity. We hope it can introduce more people to the full breadth of what games, technology and play can mean, and who can participate in them.

Contributors: Leigh Alexander, Laura Hudson, Anna Anthropy, Aevee Bee, Katherine Cross, Tanya DePass, Sidney Fussell, Gita Jackson, Shareef Jackson, Juliet Kahn, Soha Kareem, Aroon Karuna, Merritt Kopas, Riley MacLeod, Annie Mok, Maddy Myers, Maxwell Neely-Cohen, Kim Nguyen, Sarah Nyberg, Liz Ryerson, Katriel Paige, Catt Small, Daniel Starkey, Zoe Quinn, Christina Xu.

CURATOR'S NOTE

"A complex, smart & progressive set of new voices - compiled from articles on the website of the same name - take us through alternative visions for the future - or indeed the present - of video games." – Simon Carless

 

REVIEWS

  • "It left me aching for a community I've never had, but found, somehow, in this book."

    – Reader feedback
  • "This is, no lie, the book of games criticism I have been waiting for: poetic, nuanced, thoughtful, insightful, genuinely representative, often moving, and super inspiring. I'd call this a rare gem of a collection, and entirely worth reading for ANY lover of video games, though especially those who see games as an expressive and emotional form."

    – Goodreads review
  • "It's hard to make quality games journalism when so few people are willing to pay for it, and harder still to make quality games journalism that doesn't focus solely on the biggest and most popular topics. Kudos to Offworld for doing both."

    – Rock Paper Shotgun
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Forward

by Leigh Alexander

I wrote about video games for ten years. I loved the damn things—as is common for many of us, playing games was a source of order in a disordered world, a place of self-soothing and creative stimulation. And one of the reasons I started writing was that I felt sort of alone in that love, like I didn't really know anyone who was 'like me' who played, and who thought about games in the way that I did. I wished to see that change.

Over the years, I tried all kinds of ways of shouting into the universe in the service of that wish. For years I quietly wrote about tools, game design and development. I sat on publishers' financial calls and interviewed executives and asked game developers how they did their jobs. But I was always attracted to the unusual and the non-traditional; I blogged about hentai games and horror games, I over-analyzed everything, I thought about what creators meant to say, and I took noisome stands whenever possible about all the ways I thought the commercial, calcified world of video game culture could be broken open, made stranger and cooler and more beautiful. Less gunmetal and neon, less merchandise and memes, more good colors, good music, good clothes.

And louder, and sweeter: Less polish, more feeling. I believe in that.

Eventually I learned I would never get the world of technology and play that I wanted so long as that world remained dominated by the same kinds of people. I got interested in diversity in games not just because I thought it was right and fair, but because I thought a world led by new voices would be the best and the most interesting. The coolest and the funnest and the sexiest and the weirdest and the most beautiful. The most truthful.