Announcing: The List Jam

An (incomplete) list of functions of lists, as a prelude to List Jam:

  • I feel like “lists” are seen as a shallow or resented element of games criticism online, like the inevitable churn of year end lists that reinforce the need to consume constantly to stay up to date
  • Or they’re the context for fanboy hair-splitting over which game or genre or console or franchise is “better,” constantly ranking experience against an abstract set of ideals.
  • Ultimately I think this undersells how lists can simply offer a modular way of organizing your thoughts, not necessarily with a value judgement.
  • They can be taxonomies,
  • or all (or a selection) of things included in a category.
  • They can be recipes,
  • manifestos,
  • or tell a story.
  • They can be a record of a series of attempts,
  • or a list of things yet to do.
  • They often are, above all, a device to help us remember.
  • And hopefully, as this list itself has compiled examples of to develop an argument…
  • lists can also offer a way for thinking experimentally about writing on videogames, beyond year end lists and rankings.

For this year’s writing jam, take the format of a list as a starting or ending point, as a way to re-orient and re-think how we write about videogames. Gather inspiration from the examples in the list above, or previous games writing jams, like the Speculation Jam, Lost Histories Jam, Visual Essay Jam or Manifesto Jam. Like past jams, your writing can take a variety of forms: plain text, hypertext, comics, zines, or even short games, so long as they engage with the theme somehow.


February 14th-21st, 2021


  1. Decide on a topic to explore with your entry
  2. Make a response to it that takes the form of a list, from the most typical to most creative interpretation of what that means
  3. If you are referencing existing texts, clearly credit them.
  4. Share it on the jam page!


  • Explore critical essays and gaming related topics using Critical Distance’s search function
  • Contact me on Twitter if you have any further questions or concerns: @netgal_emi

As with the Bitsy Essay Jam we will also have discussions and sharing in the Critical Distance Discord.

Happy list-making!


(Banner image credit: Cat Reading from the Open Clip Art Library)

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