Posts Tagged ‘games’


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 “Play the Past”: Roger on an interesting Disney game

April 19, 2012

Anyone reading me here might be interested in my “rules of the text” series at Play the Past. I added a little to it today with a post about a rather remarkable ARG/LARP/CCG hybrid that’s recently debuted in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Sample:

In this practomime, a huge range of transmedia discourses (films, above all, but also books, games, and the Magic Kingdom itself) are made part of a ruleset that the designers (whom Disney, never more appropriately, of course calls “imagineers”) have literally mapped onto the theme park and coded onto cards that fragment the Disney narratives and let players recompose them in delightful juxtapositions–for example assaulting Yzma of The Emperor’s New Groove with Maurice’s (of Beauty and the Beast) woodchopper.