Saturday, February 2, 2008

What we do for you is so good for you: the mission statement post.

My name is Peter Rauch. I am twenty-six years old, and I possess a master's degree and no marketable skills.

I study videogames and a variety of other stuff loosely covered by "philosophy." In college, I tended to focus on one or the other, studying literature, political science, religion, and the accordant theory for class, and playing videogames as a means to avoid studying literature, political science, religion, and the accordant theory. Somewhere along the line, I screwed up, and things got reversed. I ended up writing my undergrad thesis on videogames and constitutional protection, the result being that I spent my senior year in my room reading, whereas my suitemate, who was writing a thesis on relativity, spent his senior year in the common room playing videogames. This struck me as a bit counterintuitive, but in the process I discovered the growing body of academic work on videogames, referred to here as "videogame theory" because a) it's not game theory, and b) it isn't ludology either.

When I was accepted into grad school at MIT's CMS program, I figured videogames scholar might not be a bad career path, and studying games became my prime interregnum academic work. So, on my own time, I picked up where I had left off studying moral philosophy.

At some point it occurred to me that I had a hard time thinking about one without thinking about the other. More to the point, thinking about one often helped generate new insights into the other. Both ultimately rest on models of worlds and how they work, ought to work, or fail to work, and both require very clearly delineated rules about what is important and what is epiphenomenal.

So here's a place I'm going to be writing about this thing I like to write about. It will generally fall into one or both of those categories. Formality will vary, as will post frequency, at least until I hit a fairly standard rhythm. Of course, this is all academic (so to speak) until I actually "launch," i.e. start showing this to people outside my immediate social circle, which should be sometime between the next couple of weeks and, um, fall.

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