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Zoya Street's Blog


I am a historian, linguist and writer for games and playful art. My writing looks at play, games and software within material and symbolic systems of every scale: from the tiny emotional loops of caring for a virtual pet, to the massive macro network of meaning making in late capitalism. I work on a freelance basis, bringing my interpretive and expressive skills to a range of projects in different media.


History and criticism

I am a PhD student at the University of Lancaster, studying the history of games in the years 1998-2008, specifically the emerging networks of mobile, social and indie game production and consumption. This research is supported by crowdfunding, and in return for readers’ support I create books to publish my research. I have previously published three books on the design history of games: Dreamcast Worlds, Delay, and Digital Bodies.

I am Editor-in-Chief of Memory Insufficient, a publication of the nonprofit Silverstring Association for Critical Discourse, which is supported by experimental games studio and design consultancy Silverstring Media. Memory Insufficient focuses on the history and craft of game development, and aims to act as a home for in-depth, long form critical writing. I founded the publication in 2013.

I organised the Critical Proximity conference in 2014, and co-organised the Queerness and Games Conference in 2014 and 2015.

Language services

I am a professional Japanese-English translator working in academia and the games industry. I also provide language services such as constructing fictional languages for games, and writer coaching.

Game development

I currently have a project in the works that focuses on immersion in a fictional language as a form of storytelling, as well as working on other in-progress games exploring communication, relationships and new media.


Member Blogs

Posted by Zoya Street on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:50:00 EDT in Smartphone/Tablet
Understanding the mobile phone user as a snake in a box

Posted by Zoya Street on Fri, 26 Apr 2013 04:09:00 EDT in Production
I met Unity CEO David Helgason at GDC and spoke to him about Unity -- beyond Unity as a game engine, to Unity as an agent in the games development network. I learned that Unity has a great deal of responsibility on its shoulders.

Posted by Zoya Street on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:01:00 EDT in Design, Serious
Taxonomies of games and play are fundamentally flawed. In this post I go through some existing typologies and show how they are useful for analysing a game like Skies of Arcadia, and why they fail to describe game play completely.

Posted by Zoya Street on Tue, 24 Jul 2012 08:01:00 EDT in Console/PC, Art
Technology in Skies of Arcadia is presented not as temporal advancement, but geographic determinism.

Posted by Zoya Street on Sun, 08 Jul 2012 10:38:00 EDT in
Theme parks and game worlds share in common the creation of a `place’ for entertainment purposes. A game world is often a `metaverse’ that contains a variety of barely connected styles and moments. How do you join together a fragmented world?

Zoya Street's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 06/03/2016 - 10:25]

Ooh I would love to ...

Ooh I would love to hear more about your time making J2ME games

Comment In: [News - 10/22/2012 - 11:29]

Isn 't the fact that ...

Isn 't the fact that the main characters of Breaking Bad are middle class white men part of the reason for its popularity HBO subscribers can see themselves in it.