Playful interaction occurs not only in games, but in literary texts as well. One cannot describe what takes place between author, text, and reader more accurately than by calling it a game. Games, on the other hand, cannot be reduced to playthings, but must be considered as cultural objects that are being read and interpreted. One does not, however, read solely for the plot. This is why a purely narratological analysis of both digital and analog games is bound to fail. Many games create a fictional world to be inhabited and explored by the players. In this respect, games are similar to literary texts, and a philological approach to games is therefore primarily justified because of their fictionality, rather than their narrative qualities. This is my starting point in an exploration of different models of ‘playability’, and how they can be used to understand the ‘readability’ of games.
GAMESCAPES: EXPLORATION AND VIRTUAL PRESENCE IN GAME-WORLDS
An analysis of the scope for exploration and the extent to which impressions of presence are created in domestic videogames. This paper argues that exploration is an important dimension of play in many games, whether employed in relation to other objectives or as a source of pleasure in its own right. The first part of the paper examines the relationship between freedom to explore and spatial constraint, arguing that many games offer a balance between the two, the precise nature of which varies from one type of game to another. The second part of the paper considers the extent to which different types of game offer illusions of presence in the game-world, from the distanced perspective of management and strategy games to the greater impression of sensory immersion created in games rendered in the first person.
COMPUTER GAMES AND THE COMPLEXITY OF EXPERIENCE
Computer games are usually studied on the basis of a sensory- motor model related to classical cinema, a model which is almost exclusively oriented towards the actuality and causality of action. This assumption of an actiondriven, Aristotelean dramaturgy does not only concern the possible world which is represented in the game, but also the playing of the game itself. We argue that such an approach does not sufficiently recognize the complexity of the experience represented in the game and gone through by the game player. In order to determine the complexity of experience, two other –this time modern-cinema related – models are used, based on Peirce’s phenomenological categories of firstness, secondness and thirdness, and on Deleuze’s cinematographical categories of the movementimage, the time-image, and the thought-image. According to these triadic theories the actuality and causality of action is broken through by the predominance of the intensity of experience and/or the reflexivity of thought. We develop a conceptual framework which provides us the tools in order to understand the three dimensions of the experience of the game and of the playing of the game in their triadic relations.
epic and dramatic; time-image, Firstness, movement-image and thought-image; deconstruction; device paradigm, secondness and thirdness; lyric
WOMEN JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN – A STUDY OF ADULT FEMALE PLAYERS OF DIGITAL GAMES
In the past twenty-five years, the production of digital games has become a global media industry stretching from Japan, to the UK, France and the US. Despite this growth playing digital games, particularly computer games, is still seen by many as a boy’s pastime and part of boy’s bedroom culture. While these perceptions may serve to exclude, this paper set out to explore the experiences of women who game despite these perceptions. This paper addresses the topic of gender and games from two perspectives: the producer’s and the consumer’s. The first part of the paper explores how Sony represented the PS2 in advertisements in Ireland and how adult female game players interpreted these representations. The second part goes on to chart the gaming biographies of these women and how this leisure activity is incorporated into their adult everyday life. It also discuses their views about the gendered nature of game culture, public game spaces and game content; and how these influence their enjoyment of game playing and their views of themselves as women. These research findings are based on semi-structured interviews with two marketing professionals and ten female game players aged 18 and over. The paper concludes that the construction of both gender and digital games are highly contested and even when access is difficult, and representations in the media, in console design and in games are strongly masculine these interviewees were able to contest and appropriate the technology for their own means. Indeed ‘social networks’ were important in relation to their recruitment into, and sustained playing of, digital games. At the same time, the paper found that these interviewees were largely ‘invisible’ to the wider gaming community and producers, an issue raised by Bryce and Rutter (2002:244) in an earlier paper, which has important implications for the development of the games industry.