Memory Insufficient began as a games history ezine that recenters marginalised perspectives. We see critical and historical writing as a transformative practice that makes us better readers and writers, better players and designers, better at savouring art and better at creating it. This kind of transformative work takes time and space, just like any other practice. It cannot thrive in the tiny slices of time between reading tweets. We are creating a place where readers sit down with a pot of tea and take the time to nurture themselves and challenge themselves. As stated in our Editorial Ethos:
“We publish documents, interrogations, and resonances. This work is not confined to the traditional boundaries of an essay as a logical argument. Rather, a Memory Insufficient piece is an authored experience. Our writers use text combined with sound, video, images etc. to give someone a slow, reflective experience that could last an hour, without giving them one hour’s worth of reading material.”
Playful new media
We are building a critical publication that covers more than just videogames, aspiring to turn our gaze to any interactive experience in conversation with digital culture. However, we see our roots in the work set out by the finest thinkers and writers that have come out of games criticism: those who ask not just “is it any good” but “what is it doing?” and “how does it feel to encounter this media?”.
We believe that there is more to critical writing than reviews. Additionally, we aim to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, given that a games company funds the publication. Therefore, Memory Insufficient will not be producing any review content. There are plenty of places to find out which games are “objectively the best” already.
The reader walks on a journey with the writer, and both together retrace the journeys taken by any theorists cited. This is not about one person having more knowledge than the other and transmitting it down from on high; no assumption of prior reading material will be made. Always attempt to undermine the structures that gatekeep intellectual thought.
Maintaining Memory Insufficient’s goal of bringing historical context into the foreground, everything should be understood in a context of change and continuity. Teleologies and other simplistic ideas of technological and cultural progress will always be complicated by lived experience and marginalised realities; Memory Insufficient exists to examine the mess, rather than tidy it up.
Disciplines over professions
Everyone comes at a problem with their own tapestry of craft, skill and history. We want to value this and highlight it as a radical alternative to the classist notion of professions and institutional factions. Author bylines and invocations of theory should help the reader understand a writer’s framework and experience, rather than convincing a reader of their authority or seniority.
Always seek to build something new with your work, giving proper credit to the work of others who came before, especially writers whose work is often built upon without attribution, such as women and minorities. Help the reader to become better acquainted with the work that brought you to your current standpoint.
Memory Insufficient essays should problematise the idea of a “real world” that is separate from the “virtual”: “the real world” is a moral idea, not a descriptive one, and exists to deny the validity of some experiences in favour of others. Games history is about examining the constant process of world creation in all kinds of spaces.
Ideas come at different scales; social media fails to accommodate larger trains of thought, reducing complex writing into a crude caricature. We want our readers to share fragments, not summaries, with an invitation to explore further. This functionality is integrated in the editorial and architectural framework of the site. Writers may select tweetable fragments themselves, or the editor will work with sentences that seem apt.
Memory Insufficient exists to recenter marginalised perspectives on history, culture and new media. Editors work to ensure that material published on Memory Insufficient will not use oppressive language, and that the most diverse range of voices is represented as possible. Any events organised by Memory Insufficient’s publishers, the Silverstring Association for Critical Discourse, will have explicitly-stated safe-space and inclusivity policies.
Oppressive language includes sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and ableist language. Some oppressive terms are in common vernacular use; regarding quotes from direct speech, a decision will be made depending on the spirit of the original statement. We will typically replace the word, in brackets, with another word that preserves the meaning of the quote, and we will make an editorial note available via modal text explaining our decision. In cases where the speaker’s use of oppressive language is considered significant, we will follow such language with [sic] to demonstrate that this is not in accordance with our house style. Similarly, historical uses of terms no longer considered appropriate will be left intact with a historical note to provide explanation given in a modal link.
As middle-state publishers, we try to strike a balance between academic and popular writing styles. Articles should be written with clear language, fair and humanising descriptions of all people being discussed, and with proper attribution given to the people who originated ideas as well as helpful links for further reading. However, adherence to citation formats should not override the need for fluid prose.
In terms of academic disciplines, the work we publish here has most in common with the social sciences. As editors, we aim at a kind of punky, casual approximation of APA Style, using Canadian spelling. Most ambiguities regarding editorial style can be cleared up with reference to the text below.
Modifications to the APA Manual
Our operating principles are primarily based on the American Psychological Association Publication Manual (2010). Chapters one, two and eight of the Manual are not relevant as they specifically address the needs of peer-reviewed scientific journals. In addition, the following modifications apply:
Modifications to Chapter Three: Writing Concisely and Clearly
- 3.03 Levels of Heading: Formatting guide is replaced by our own custom CSS stylesheet.
- 3.09 Precision and Clarity: colloquial expressions are broadly acceptable as long as they don’t impair clarity.
- 3.12 Gender and 3.20 Pronouns: we accept the use of singular “they” as a generic pronoun, instead of “he or she”. “They” may also refer to someone who has expressed a preference for it as their personal pronoun.
Modifications to Chapter Four: The Mechanics of Style
- 4.12 Preferred Spelling and 4.13 Hyphenation: we use Canadian spelling, according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary or the Oxford Reference website.
- 4.14-4.20 Capitalisation: In addition to the uses listed by the APA, we accept the use of capitalisation as a rhetorical device to highlight or mock the high value placed on certain abstract ideas (such as Art) as long as it is justified by the overall aims of the article.
- 4.21 Use of Italics: When introducing a new, technical or key term, use bold face and not italic. Emphasis should also typically use bold face.
- 4.27 Scientific Abbreviations: Consult the Oxford Dictionary of Media and Communication (2011) for a list of abbreviations that readers can be reasonably expected to have some familiarity with.
Additional notes on preferred terms
If you need to use the word videogame, then we consider it to be one word, not two. However, we challenge you to avoid using the word at all: instead, consider other categories that might be relevant to the point you are making, such as software, apps, interactive art, digital media, architecture, etc. Consult the Oxford Dictionary of Media and Communication (2011) for more examples.
Modifications to Chapter Six: Crediting Sources
We expect most Memory Insufficient articles to cite no more than five sources. As long as this is the case, in-text citations should not be added in parenthetical form. Instead, the author and text should be attributed as part of the natural flow of the writing. However, the publication year should be added in parentheses after the first reference to any work, unless the year is stated elsewhere in the sentence.
For example, these are preferred:
- Final Fantasy VII (1997) was the first RPG that Square released on CD-ROM.
- In 1997, Square released their first CD-ROM RPG, Final Fantasy VII.
This should be avoided, despite being typical APA style for other publications:
- Final Fantasy VII was an early CD-ROM title (Square, 1997).
The reference list should contain enough information for readers to be able to easily access the material in question. The author name should be written in full. We do not require the publisher name or location to be included in a reference, as long as a hyperlink is provided. Hyperlinks should be one or more of the following:
- A permalink that is unlikely to expire in the foreseeable future
- A free preview of a text, on a page that contains links to buy, rent or access the text via a library (such as a Google Books preview)
- An official page created by the publisher or artist to promote the work in question.
- Platform-agnostic, and with no bias toward one reseller or another (for example, iTunes and Google Play links are not desirable).