If you have trouble reading this email, click here.


Advertise with Nectar Ads


Featured Article

Games are a Faith-Based Pursuit: A conversation with Jenn Frank
Nora N. Khan on Monday Apr 20th, 2015

Still image from Chop Suey (1995).

On Friday, Rhizome published a restoration of three CD-ROM games from the 1990s by Theresa Duncan, which you can play here. Duncan's work has been largely and unjustly forgotten since the 1990s, and this restoration project was inspired, in no small part, by a 2012 article on Duncan's work by Jenn Frank.

To mark the restoration of the games, Jenn Frank spoke at a panel discussion at the New Museum in New York on Thursday (video here). Here, Nora N. Khan interviews her about her life in gaming. —Ed.

Acclaimed writer and games critic Jenn Frank is widely known for her excruciatingly intimate memoir essays, in which she often probes her family history and girlhood nostalgia to illuminate why games have been vital for her personally  and, by extension, for many others. Her work also explores how players engage with, and imagine themselves, in relation to systems, to the sets of rules established by a game world.

Frank uniquely renders games as profoundly human, explicit articulations of longing, curiosity, awe, fear, and love. Her work is very important to me, and to many other writers and game developers, and when she stepped away from games journalism for a time last year because of harassment, it was a real blow. Now she is publishing again, cautiously, and in an effort to better understand her importance, I spoke with Frank over email about her personal history, her lifelong relationship to games, and her part in shaping games criticism as a form.



Nora N. Khan: Let's start from the beginning. Could you tell us a bit about where and how you grew up?

Jenn Frank: I primarily grew up in a small town in coastal Texas, which is a place very unlike what most people visualize when they think "Texas." This part of Texas is mostly little run-down beach communities: houses on stilts, palm trees, antique stores, fresh shrimp. It's humid; it looks and feels like Florida. Geographically, it's nearer to Mexico than it is to Dallas. It's also sort of remote, locked by land on all sides except the side that is the Gulf of Mexico.

And—I think this is important also to note—I moved here, no kidding, by myself when I was 7 years old, from Seattle, to live with my great-aunt and great-uncle, these much older relatives who eventually adopted me. Until then, I'd been bouncing around the Pacific Northwest to live with all these different people. By the time I was 7, I'd decided I should have myself sent to Texas, so my grandfather packed me up and put me on a plane. So I was still really young when I got here, but I experienced an extreme sort of culture shock anyway.

Meanwhile, my great-aunt and great-uncle, Midwesterners who'd never had children of their own, were really very conservative, even for Texas—not only because they were evangelical Christians, but also because of their age. So they held some very dated ideas about parenting. These people sent me to school each day in a party dress, patent leather mary-janes, and those little socks with lace eyelet at the ankles—every day until third grade. I looked like the main character from The Bad Seed! So my peers were right to be terrified of me. Elementary school was a very rough time.




22 April 2015

Artist Profile: Guan Xiao

20 April 2015

Games are a Faith-Based Pursuit: A conversation with Jenn Frank

17 April 2015

The Theresa Duncan CD-ROMs are now playable online

15 April 2015

Custom-Produced for Imbeciles of Some Sort: An Interview with John Russell

14 April 2015

In the future, people will pay to feel unemployed: On Melanie Gilligan's latest film



14 April 2015

In the future, people will pay to feel unemployed: On Melanie Gilligan's latest film

13 April 2015

Seven on Seven: Sold-out for the 7th time (but here's how you can still join in)

8 April 2015

Airbnb vs. Berlin: Was sagen die Daten?

7 April 2015

Managing Boundaries with your Intelligent Personal Agent

6 April 2015

Poetry as Practice: not_I want you to roll over



Seeking NYC-based Visual Poets / Artists

Open Call for 2nd Round of American Arts Incubator

Branscombe House Artist Residency

Posting for Assistant Professor in Art History - Simon Fraser University

Museum Registrar




Exterminio by Edgardo Aragon

Ellipsis by Pablo Rasgado

Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Exhibitions: Work by Michael Arcega, Ma Li and Eden V. Evans

Sounds Images and Data





Internet Real Estate, Art and Power: The cases of Artsy and .art (13 posts)


uk national gallery strike: a painting and a call for support (2 posts)

Resolution Disputes: A Conversation Between Rosa Menkman & Daniel Rourke (1 posts)

Interview With Domenico Quaranta (1 posts)

Featured Article
News & From the Blog
Opportunities & Calendar

Become a Rhizome Member!




Contact our partner Nectar Ads for details

The Rhizome News is supported, in part, by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and The New York State Council on the Arts. You are receiving this email because, at one point, you signed up for Rhizome News.