Welcome to the first volume of OneShot: A Journal of Critical Games and Play! What you have before you is an experiment in the marriage of games and pedagogy. Like these sorts of projects often do, OneShot began as a frustration with the current state of publishing and the limits of current models. First and foremost, the academic publication process as we had experienced it thus far had been opaque. We wanted to work more with authors to get their work out there and provide a service that we had always wanted as contributors. Our second ambition was simply to create a journal of games and play that was comprised of, well, games. As game developers, players, and educators, we had spent a great deal of energy advocating for games as viable texts with rhetorical and pedagogical powers. Where was the outlet for others like us who are vested in the union of games and pedagogy?
When we first conceived of a journal that would publish games and critical reflections on their development, we had no idea of the delightfully diverse projects that would emerge from the experience. This entire process has been one of constant discovery. From seeing the large number of initial submissions to working with authors on projects ranging from a 30+ page sourcebook for playing historical battles in 1604 to an Inky, browser-based project for teaching rhetorical concepts, we have been inspired, humbled, and at times at a loss about how to reply to a wide range of projects spanning multiple genres, disciplines, and topics. This has truly been a unique and, we hope, not singular adventure.
We chose the name “One Shot” because, we joked, “this might very well be our ‘one shot’ at making a journal like this!” It also may be our contributors’ “one shot” at making a game for academic purposes (but we hope not!). What we have seen in this first issue shows us that there is not only a place for journals who publish work like this, but that it is needed more than ever. The projects we have in this first issue demonstrate ideas in ways that might not have fit in any other journal.
We admit that the editing and testing process for this first issue has had its problems. Even coming to the project with decades of combined experience in print layout, design teaching, and game development did not prepare us for the journey that is starting and struggling to run a journal. Moving between organizational platforms mid-process did not help this either, as we struggled to learn Open Journal Systems and then migrated to a WordPress-based platform. We have not always kept to our own deadlines, and for that we apologize.
This first issue represents the work of months of writing, development, and planning. It is, for most, a critical engagement and reflection not often found in academic writing on game development. For others, it represents a chance to publish their digital work for the first time in a journal that accepts and even helps with development of projects based in Twine and Ink not found anywhere else. It has been a long road filled at times, yes, with the occasional bump, but one which has delivered us on a trip through considering our projects, process, and the relationships between the two in new and exciting ways.
To the contributors, we want to sincerely thank you for working extremely hard on your games. We would not be writing this if not for your diligence and ownership of your work. We also want to thank you for showing us how invigorating the game development process is. It is a gift to play some role in your work.
To our readers, we ask that if you use one of the games in your classroom or are inspired by these developers’ work in any way, please be sure to reach out and thank the developer and give them proper attribution.
So why are you still reading this? Get playing!
Your OneShot Editors: