Mary Flanagan’s chapter ends the provocative Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming (MIT Press 2016), Edited by Pat Harrigan and Matthew G. Kirschenbaum. The book offers a diverse set of perspectives on wargaming’s past, present, and future, covering both digital and tabletop games. In her chapter, “Practicing a New War Game,” Flanagan notes that wargames have long been understood a form of war simulation. She asks, however, if their simulation of conflict isn’t so much about war as it is about critical thinking and critique? In this conclusion to a very hefty, rich, and insightful book, Flanagan posits provocations against which readers can consider the readings in the book in order to continue to look at the ancient practice of wargaming in new light. In the end, she calls for new models of war games to foster creative solutions to all kinds of conflict facing the world today.
Christiane Paul’s 632-page A Companion to Digital Art (Wiley 2016) is a definitive guide to Digital Art that spans the evolution, aesthetics, and practices of digital art through essays by leading theorists. Flanagan’s essay, “Critical Play: The Productive Paradox” looks to a series of game-related artworks to offer three propositions on how to interpret game art from a critical play perspective.