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!

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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!!

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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