- “In this variety pack of exciting essays, writers make an electric case for the essentiality of video games, both as storytelling aids and as ways of understanding the world. . . . Critical Hits marks the welcome ascendance of an emerging body of gamer literature.”—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire's “Best Books of Fall 2023”
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.
Celebrate the launch of CRITICAL HITS: WRITERS PLAYING VIDEO GAMES, featuring editors Carmen Maria Machado and J. Robert Lennon, with contributors Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Max Delsohn, Eleanor Henderson, nat steele, and Tony Tulathimutte at Wonderville
- “Insightful. . . . The diverse entries highlight the ways in which the far out plots of video games can change how players understand themselves and the world around them. Gamers with a literary bent should take a look.”—Publishers Weekly
- “Alexander Chee, ??Charlie Jane Anders, Hanif Abdurraqib, and other writers who love gaming wax poetic about the lasting emotional impact that comes with playing some of the most popular video games on the market: The Last of Us, Call of Duty, and Disco Elysium.”—Time's “Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2023”
- “A veritable arcade of essays on the cultural vitality of video games.”—Michelle Hart, Electric Literature's “Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books for Fall 2023”
“Whether they’re casual gamers, lifelong fans, or simply curious, readers will come away with a deepened sense of appreciation for the medium.”—Booklist