Praise for Game Poems

Captivating... It is precisely Magnuson’s unique positionality as creator-scholar that lends greater authenticity to his claim that personal experiences, complex emotions, and the messy, loose ends of life can gain clarity through video game expression.” 

Public Books, review by Maria Dikcis, February 2024

A groundbreaking and accessible book.” 

Susana Ruiz, University of California, Santa Cruz

One of my favorite books on game design.”

Benjamin Ellinger, Game Design Program Director, DigiPen Institute of Technology

Game Poems tells a new story about games—that games can be lyrical, beautiful, emotionally challenging—to inspire creators and critics alike.”

Noah Wardrip-Fruin, author of How Pac-Man Eats

“Magnuson shines a sensitive and incisive light on small, often moving, videogames.” 

D. Fox Harrell, Ph.D., Professor of Digital Media, Computing, and Artificial Intelligence, MIT

“Everyone who loves the true power of games will benefit from the treasure trove of insights in Game Poems.” 

Jesse Schell, author of The Art of Game Design

“A rewarding text for scholars, game designers, poets, and anyone in between.”

Allison Parrish, Interactive Telecommunications Program and Interactive Media Arts, NYU

“In this evenhanded artist-scholar’s ars poetica Jordan Magnuson respects the material cultural specificity of videogames while regarding them through the ‘lens of poetry’ in order to discover – and help create – a practice and an art of Game Poems within the wider field.” 

John Cayley, Brown University

“In Game Poems, Magnuson listens carefully to videogames, and hears them speak to questions of art, language, and meaning that connect our written past to our software future. Read this book and you will hear it too.”

Frank Lantz, Director, NYU Game Center

Game Poems provides unique guidance for those interested in exploring the poetic potential of videogames.” 

Jenova Chen, designer of Flow, Flower, Journey, and Sky: Children of the Light

With Game Poems, Jordan Magnuson provides a guide to constructing the next generation of personal and incisive games.

Gregory Avery-Weir, designer of The Majesty of Colors and Looming

A concise, passionate articulation - and defence! - of an artistic space between poems and videogames.” 

Chris Bateman, author of Imaginary Games and 21st Century Game Design

Jordan Magnuson’s book is a fascinating exploration of games as poetry, and the poetry of play.” 

Miguel Sicart, author of Play Matters and Beyond Choices: The Design of Ethical Gameplay

The revelation for me in this book is the heat and power of the language of poets and poetry brought close to videogame design.” 

Pippin Barr, author of How to Play a Video Game and The Stuff Games Are Made Of

With Game Poems, Jordan Magnuson lays to rest any last vestige of the notion that the implicit limits of games are as ‘entertainment products’.

Soraya Murray, author of On Video Games

Jordan Magnuson is one of a surprisingly small group of artists who see in the technology of videogames a versatile medium capable of expressing much more than conventional games.” 

Michaël Samyn, co-creator of Sunset, The Graveyard, and The Path

In Game Poems, I found a new perspective on the kind of videogames that are dearest to me: short, personal, poetic games... Both experienced and novice game makers will find approachable, practical advice on the craft of videogames” 

Adam Le Doux, creator of Bitsy

Game Poems covers a lot of material, but always remains grounded in concrete examples and solid theory... The book ends with a call to 'go make some game poems!' After reading the book, I was keen to do exactly that.” 

Alex Mitchell, National University of Singapore

Magnuson succinctly examines how the imagination, rhythm, intensity, style – and brevity – of poetry can enlighten the game design process in order to form possibility spaces within videogames that are pointed and powerful.

Tim Samoff, Games and Interactive Media Program Director, Azusa Pacific University

As a creator and researcher, Jordan Magnuson has been able to demonstrate through the utmost visual simplicity, by enhancing basic geometric forms, the empathetic capacity of the videogame medium. Game Poems explores this idea and the reconfiguration of the videogame beyond its ludic component, highlighting the artistic and poetic potential of games.” 

Antonio César Moreno Cantano, University Complutense of Madrid

Even as the news swells with impending doom for creativity, writing, and text itself, this literate and crafty book pursues poetry not through implacable algorithms but in concrete and personal play. It should be an indispensable guide for anyone who aims to maintain the true, human promise of technical poetics.” 

Stuart Moulthrop, coauthor of Twining: Critical and Creative Approaches to Hypertext Narratives