Defining Games Pt. 3: What Can Be Learned From Game Definitions?

In my previous two blog posts on defining games, I wrote first on the topic of why people define games, and then on the topic of why people (academics in particular) trying to define games is ultimately very problematic. While I would argue that we should abandon the hopeless task of trying to create game definitions to be used in academic discourse, I feel that it would be morally irresponsible of me to leave the problem of how to study games unaddressed having now refuted its most commonplace solution. In this third and final blog post, I hope to address … Continue reading Defining Games Pt. 3: What Can Be Learned From Game Definitions?

Defining Games Pt. 2: What’s Wrong With Defining Games?

Previously, I brought up the topic of why people try to define what a game is, concluding that this urge arises in order to address the very real problem of being unable to have productive discourse pertaining to games without a shared definition in place. While this logic does seem it make sense, I believe it is ultimately deeply flawed. Thus, the question for this blog post is as follows: What’s wrong with defining games? The answer to this question lies predominantly in the fact that I do not believe it is possible, as many hope to accomplish through creating … Continue reading Defining Games Pt. 2: What’s Wrong With Defining Games?

Defining Games Pt. 1: Why Do We Try to Define Games?

There have been many times during our class discussion where our conversations have boiled down to two people having conflicting ideas of what constitutes a game. At these points, constructive conversation tends to reach a standstill, and is replaced with a cycle of disagreeing opinions until someone suggests trying to find a middle ground definition. Interestingly, this isn’t unique to our class. Just about every non-design based class on games I’ve been in has, at one point, attempted to come up with a definition for what a game is. In fact, this phenomena can be seen in the works of … Continue reading Defining Games Pt. 1: Why Do We Try to Define Games?

CYOA, Stanley Parable and Branching Narration.

Question: Everyone in class had the opportunity to work on developing a twine game, and also to evaluate one. This means you’ve had time to think about branching mechanics, choice, and reader participation. Now we are going to go retro. Taking your Choose Your Own Adventure Novel, do the following: Paragraph 1: Describe your novel. Why did you choose it? This does not have to be the most serious paragraph you have ever written.   Paragraph 2: Now, describe your experience of following at least two adventures in your CYOA. What happened? What was it like? Paragraph 3:  Talk about … Continue reading CYOA, Stanley Parable and Branching Narration.

Phillips and Stauffer

In the article Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Videogames, Amanda Phillips introduces the key conceptual structure of mechropolotics. Phillips initially frames the concept of mechropolotics with that of necropolotics, which highlights the power of death and dying as a mechanism of representation. Building off of this, Phillips argues that the way in which video games incorporate death and dying into goals and technological processes shows how death and dying is used to structure gaming itself. Phillips then writes that, “This entwining of the technological and the cultural is what launches death from mechanism to mechanism … Continue reading Phillips and Stauffer

A Response to Anable

“The extent to which casual games are perceived as in need of being rescued from feminized mass culture or preserved as a site where women are actually playing video games is less important than the fact that game studies tends to dismiss the entire category because these seemingly simple games do not fit neatly into an emerging field that privileges procedural complexity, expensive hardware, and graphic realism. A feminist engagement with video games, then, must be in part an engagement with how the field of game studies shapes inquiry according to the implicit genre binaries of hardcore/casual, mechanics/narrative, and computation/representation.” … Continue reading A Response to Anable