Zoyander Street

I am a critical historical material semiotician of technology and art.

My writing looks at play, labour and games within material and symbolic systems of every scale: from the tiny emotional loops of caring for a virtual pet, to the massive macro network of meaning making in late capitalism. I work at the intersection between games and art in both digital and analogue media.

Critical and historical studies of games

A freelance writer turned documentary filmmaker, my first short film was featured at the BFI Flare Festival and received the Rising Star award at the Transforming Cinema festival: Skeleton in a Beret. I have previously published three books on the design history of games: Dreamcast Worlds, Delay, and Digital Bodies.

As Senior Curator of Critical Distance, I am in charge of one of the largest and longest-running archives of games criticism, as well as the main editor for all site content. In 2013 I founded Memory Insufficient, which focuses on the history and craft of game development, and aims to act as a home for in-depth, long-form critical writing. It is now a publication of the nonprofit Silverstring Association for Critical Discourse. I am a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Lancaster, studying how games have mediated people’s relationships with emerging technologies such as mobile phones, social networking, and VR.

Language services

I am a professional Japanese-English translator working primarily on academic articles. I have also done translations for the games industry in the past, and contributed interactive translations of classical Japanese text to a game anthology.

You Were Made for Loneliness

Game development

I’m particularly interested in small, expressive projects that use game engines to do something surprising – I’ve used Pico-8 to make an art tool, and I’m currently using VR to make sculptural environments. I consult on game projects with a narrative element, particularly projects that aim to make players feel like they are in a different time and place, or like they are talking to someone with vastly different experiences that their own.

Carpet generator

Art studio

Having previously been based at Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance, I have recently moved my practice to an art studio in a working steel forge in Sheffield. Locating my work primarily in the arts sector allows me to take a more connected view of game development and critical writing: I think of games as part of the art world as well as part of the tech world.