Posts Tagged ‘game studies’


Aesthetics and Mechanics

January 31, 2013

The more I follow this little spur of the digital humanities railroad called game studies, the more I find myself sympathizing–and even collaborating–with art historians. Chris Solarski helps me understand why.

Video games rely on the very same design principles — perspective, form, value, etc. — which classical artists employed to create the illusion that the television (or canvas) is a window into an imagined world. These design techniques also serve a second purpose equally applicable to game design, which is their aesthetic value, and application in visual narratives.

I’ve a bone to pick with Solarski’s notion that games’ interactivity is unique, but I’m increasingly aware that games do configure their interactivity uniquely–even my beloved parallel to homeric epic relies on an analogy of configuration that applies centrally to the bard and much less to his audience, who could never sing the tales the bard sings. The barrier of entry to game-performances is much, much lower, and Solarski’s piece may help us describe the available performances more thickly.


At “Digital Humanities Now”: the New Aesthetic, with reference to game studies

April 19, 2012

I have a cordial dislike of philosophy since Plato, with the possible exception of Nietzsche, but the doyens of game studies are (with mixed results, I think) headed thither. Ian Bogost‘s recent Alien Phenomenology seems destined for some privileged status, claiming as it does to launch a “bold new metaphysics.” This post by David Berry is very helpful in putting these efforts in the perspective of the broader groping towards something called “The New Aesthetic” by digital humanists. Berry writes, for example:

In order to pursue the New Aesthetic further I want to move away from these existential questions and look in more detail at some of the claims advanced by spokespeople for object-oriented ontology (OOO), or what is sometimes called speculative realism (Bogost 2008, 2012; Borenstein 2012; Jackson 2012). More specifically, I want to explore the attempt to critique the New Aesthetic in terms of what they call a misplaced focus on the merely computational. Instead, I want to question the way in which they propose an extension of method (or movement) that takes in, well, everything in the universe.

This makes me heave a sigh, wedded as I still am to Plato’s critique of mimesis as vitiating both metaphysics and aesthetics as practiced since Aristotle, but one should know what the enemy is up to, I suppose.