Following a Writer: Simon Parkin

Returning to the venue of the New Yorker from my first post but following on the more interesting (to me, at least) subject matter of my second, I eventually found Simon Parkin. Simon is a contributing author at the New Yorker and has also been published in The Guardian, the Times, and many other respectable venues. While the list of his contributions to the New Yorker spans a variety of topics, his articles are most consistently about video games. I discovered him through an article titled “Could Ms. Pac-Man Train The Next Generation of Military Drones?” which caught my attention pretty immediately. The articles explores not only how Ms. Pac-Man improved the AI from the original maze-runner, but how that technology would be a good fit in developing AI for military use. Ms. Pac-Man is not currently being used in this capacity, but Parkin makes the argument for why it would be a good fit, or at least a good model for how an AI like that in a military drone should function.

This article shows the trend in Parkin’s pieces to pull video games into reality in relevant ways, aiming to prove that there is more to games than mindless entertainment, be that through powerful narratives or practical application. As we have discussed extensively in my class on video games this term, there still exists some major stigma against video games as both a respectable form of media and gamers as more than white-teen-homophobes. Parkin’s work across the New Yorker does much to dispel this stigma, proving that video games are not only a respectable, but a major step towards our future.

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