Here are the slides from my recent DiGRA’13 keynote, The Ambiguity of Game Studies: Observations on the Collective Process of Inventing a New Discipline, reminding folks of the intersection of Huizinga’s concept of the magic circle and Victor Turner’s concept of liminality.
With DiGRA ’13 coming up in 2 weeks, I went searching for an accessible version of my keynote at DiGRA ’05, for which the short piece “The Last Word on Ludology/Narratology,” which I posted a few weeks ago in text and slides, was just the preface. The text of the keynote itself, “Games as Joint Attentional Scenes” can be found on the Google Books site, since it was published as a chapter in Words in Play edited by Suzanne De Castell and Jennifer Jenson. Continue reading
Here are the slides from the oral version of the DiGRA 2005 Preface to my keynote talk, which was introduced by Espen which made it more fun for both of us. Continue reading
Ian Bogost’s rendering of the great critical struggle.
Recently this image has resurfaced in a talk by Espen Aarseth. I believe that the Ludology/Narratology discussion has moved on. My favorite sign of the discussion changing occurred a few years back when Espen announced that he was studying narrative elements in games. But only last month I had a request for the content of my “preamble” to my DIGRA 2005 talk which I think was published in the Proceedings but may be hard to track down. So I am posting it here, along with a movie version of the slides. Espen introduced me for a keynote speech, and the body of my talk focused on other issues. But I felt a need to begin by offering the “Last Word on Ludology v Narratology”.
The slides are here and the essay is below:
Now that game auteur Peter Molyneux‘s massively mobile cube clicking game, Curiosity -What’s Inside the Cube?, is over we are left to puzzle over its odd success. The gameplay was so mindlessly repetitive that it could be performed by a simple robot. And yet millions of people downloaded it to their iPhones and iPads and clicked away at billions of pixelated squares, and 30,000 of them were still at it almost six months after the release date when the game came to an end last Sunday. What would make a human do it? I think there were 4 main motivators. Continue reading
With his customary understatement, my Georgia Tech colleague Ian Bogost has famously pointed out that Gamification is Bullshit, or more precisely “marketing bullshit” whose purpose is “to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business.” I know what he means and I am also often skeptical of the more benevolent arguments for “gamification,” such Jane McGonigal’s heartfelt argument that games are the best way to ensure human survival in the next century. What McGonigal ignores is that human culture is already completely gamified – how else to explain the deep pleasure in synchronizing our behavior with one another, in finding symbolic meaning in arbitrary symbols like vocalized sound and scratches in stone? We are hard-wired to enjoy all the things that make up games and we have already used all of those pleasure-producing and obsession-engendering mechanics to shape everything from language to tax codes to traffic lights to war strategies. For good or bad, the world is already profoundly gamified — so we had better pay attention to the hands we have already been dealt. Continue reading
There has been a lot of twitter chatter this week about an endearing rant by Darius Kazemi with the arresting title of Fuck Videogames aimed at encouraging frustrated game designers to embrace other forms of creative expression.
Clearly this is a timely message, and probably a mark of the success that this active community of practice has had in encouraging creative expression in videogames.
I don’t quarrel with Kazemi’s main point — and in fact I’ve often said that there is no hierarchy of media. No individual book, for example, is more valuable than any individual game (or film or TV show) just because it is expressed in lengthy text passages instead of interactive bits or moving images. But Kazemi isn’t talking about books or films. He is talking gelato and cat poop — which I do indeed have a problem with.