Games as Art Discussion

The Ludologist has written a transcript of the discussion! Yay! Found here!

I don’t know what’s going on with my feeds – sorry about any inconvenience!

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Games as Art Discussion

Oooh! Almost forgot!!! The Ludologist reports:

“Join us on Wednesday, November 1st for a chat with on the subject of games and art with Henry Jenkins, Jesper Juul, Marc LeBlanc, and Eric Zimmerman.

Are games art? If not, why not? And if so, why? Is thinking of games as art useful or actually a hindrance for game developers? If games are art, what should our aspirations for the form be?”

Network: irc.freenode.net
Channel: #gamesandart
Time: 6 PM PST, 9PM EST, 2 AM GMT

There’s a link on how to get on the IRC (which I honestly don’t even know what is yet).

Doubtful that I’ll be awake – but you might! Great minds talking about an interesting subject!

Ludic Spray and Adult cultural preferances

Jeez! The folks over at Guardian Games Blog are back full swing after the summer and with impeccable style!!! I just have to cut’n’paste their stuff here!
Good pondering reliable Aleks has discussed with her friends and come up with a brilliant new word: Ludic Spray!

“At a meeting last month, a group of us decided to term this sort of thing “ludic spray,” inspired by Zimmerman and Salen’s definition of a “game,” from their book Rules of Play, and further extrapolated by Zimmerman here:

Game Play is the formal play of a game that occurs when players follow rules…

Ludic Activities are other kinds of activities that we would recognize as play (two dogs chasing each other, two kids rough-housing, someone casually tossing and catching a ball)…

The “spray,” therefore, is the stuff that is inspired by a formal game but doesn’t adhere to its rules. This can be anything from fan fiction to independent spin-offs to formal business ventures (as in the case of the previously-mentioned economies).”

I shout yay! for effort! But…I honestly have a hard time believing it’s not more complicated than that! Seems a bit too simple! Not that I mind simple, it just encompasses too much – and it becomes more like the dust bunnies I shove under the sofa, you know?
Anyways…she had a great link in there to a Zimmerman interview, where he discusses definitions of game, play, narrative and well…the usual yoo ha – Klabbers’ people and Young’un Stavelin should find it interesting!
Also!!! Greg comments

“And yes, I know games mags are aimed at a much younger audience – Edge aside – but seeing the sci-fi/fantasy hegemony splattered across 90 odd pages made you realise that the industry has a long way to go if it wants to gain or retain the interest of adults whose cultural interests extend beyond Lord of the Rings and Star Trek.”

Too right!

Sigh! Too many interesting reads!!! Too little time in the day!!! Need to get back to work!

Brain vacation

So, my blogging isn’t what it used to be, I think my brain’s gone on a little vacation without me (easily distracted by such events as Sting being in town and well…work). So I STILL haven’t gotten around to concluding my thoughts on narratology vs ludology!!!! It’s at the tip of my tongue (or fingertips) and I’m hoping that I’ll get most of it done at uni today after work! I am soooooooo looking forward to concluding my thoughts on the subject, which I’m sure will never ever ever be completely substantial and confident – but I need to draw the line somewhere at sometime, right?!!! But first lots of interesting tidbits to blog about – so excuse the rushed thoughts and cut’n’paste mentality! A lot I need to get off my chest and I feel like I’m about to explode!

Frasca

This whole narratology vs ludology discussion is quite…well…ARGH! Just frustrating, I guess – and ofcourse this comes from the fact that we’re still trying to figure out the language of games.
So I had a glance at my huge ‘to read’ pile the other day, upset because I keep maneuvering myself into tight suffocating corners that I can’t spread my wings and fly away from. But I guess that’s what writing a thesis is all about ey? Narrowing things down to the bare essentials and constantly contradicting oneself?
Anyways! I pulled out some Gonzalo Frasca, which I had put aside because I naively thought I could escape the whole narratology vs ludology debate! He uses a Markku Eskelinen quote which I LOVE!

“As Markku Eskelinen argues, “outside academic theory people are usually
excellent at making distinctions between narrative, drama, and games. If I
throw a ball at you I don’t expect you to drop it and wait until it starts
telling stories””

Don’t you just love that?! What a great way to mock the debate! Anyways…the article (or is it an introduction chapter?) can pretty much be summed up by:

  • representation vs. simulation
  • Aarseth’s cybernetic systems
  • simulation semiotics or “simitiocs” (what a lovely new word!)
  • “Simulations can express messages in ways that narrative simply cannot” (how bold!!!)
  • A discussion on Caillois’ definitions of ‘play’ and ‘game’; piadia and ludus
  • 3 act rule (which I’ll write more about in next post)
  • 3 different ideological levels in simulations
  • A typology of simulation rules

You’ll be reading a bit more about this later on today or tomorrow! I’m at work right now and I don’t have my Jesper Juul or Espen Aarseth notes available!

Hmmm….so why did I even bother writing this post? Well first off…you have to admit that quote is amusing, but probably because I’m in the middle of writing a job application to a really cool job, and didn’t want the first post they saw to be my emotional worship of the Sultan’s Elephant! He he! The dilemma’s of linking to your blog everywhere and at the same time trying to sell yourself as a sane desirable person!!

Daily Show On Violent Video Games

So…there’s a lot of yoo ha in the states about violent video games and whether retailers should be forced by law to follow the ESRB’s recomendations. So pretty much what we have here in Europe – if the game’s rated 15 retailers should make sure not to sell to under 15 year olds. Now…if a grandma decides to buy an 18 rated game for her 14 year old grandson – that’s her problem. I’m so tempted to become a ludologist here – because sometimes I really do feel that the fiction of a game just provides the rules for gameplay, it’s meaning isn’t that essential when playing games. But – then I realize that I’m just saying that because I enjoy violent gameplay (although it’s been a while now!). Anyways!!!! I found this video hysterical! His new rating of “Child trapped in man’s body” is funny and the politicians are just soooo amusing as well!!!

"Girl things" in games

Granted, I really don’t have time to focus on blogging at the moment, so excuse me if I’ve misunderstood this completely! I just….I just couldn’t let this pass by without adding some comments. I’m confused, terrified and well…just a tad insulted, to be honest.

Edward Castronova’s latest Terra Nova post examines one of the ‘theories’ introduced at Ludium 1. Uhm…from what I can gather The Koithuo team proposed a way of looking at ‘the evolutionary theory of human gender differences’ and implementing this as a test into games, using Steen’s ‘girl game modes’ which say “that women will be interested in a) games about rating men’s prowess (The Yenta Game”), choosing men to connect with (“The Marriage Game”), and getting men to stay committed to them (“The Newlywed Game”).”

Now…it seems the crew at A Tale in the Desert have implemented a game in their world to test these theories. Which I completely concur with Castronova when he writes that:

“Regardless of whether you agree with Steen’s theories or not, the exciting thing here is that we get to see them tested, at the level of an entire society. It’s not just a theoretical/political debate any more. We’re getting some information.”

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Games are the democratization of fiction!


Awwww…aren’t those words just vigorating? They’re not my own, ofcourse, it’s Tappan King who’s uttered them to Greg Costikyan. It’s so revolutionary, isn’t it?! Games are setting fiction free to the people!

“the Artist creates, the audience consumes. Games, contrariwise, allow individual players to participate in the creation of their fictional experience. The developers still shape and constrain that experience, to be sure, but there is no experience without the active engagement of the player; the player may well do something with the construct that the developers had not anticipated; and the ultimate experience is a collaboration in which both sides participate, not something handed down from On High by the Great Artiste. It is, in other words, the antithesis of aristocratic; games are a way for everyman to participate in creating his or her own narrative experience. Games are a democratic artform for a democratic age.”

But alas, I’m not ready to say that ‘play’ is fiction or that playing fiction is democratic and nonlinear. It’s just a nice and powerful notion. I suppose I fell for this completely because it is right at the core of my arguments on MMORPGs. There is a sense and a feeling of democracy, but come right down to it, it’s all an illusion. One could maybe compare it to the illusion of democracy in Iraq! Or the freedom to say whatever you want in your e-mails!

But, then again, this is not really what he’s saying either, is it? Democratization of fiction! We’re creating fictions that people can interact with. But we’re not exactly creating a collaborative art form are we? Or are we?

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