The Open and the Closed: Games of Emergence and Games of Progression

Juul Jesper
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

This paper proposes a conceptual framework for examining computer game structure and applies it to the massive multiplayer game EverQuest.


The game, the player, the world: looking for a heart of gameness

Juul Jesper
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This paper attempts a definition of games. I describe the classic game model, a list of six features that are necessary and sufficient for something to be a game. The definition shows games to be transmedial: There is no single game medium, but rather a number of game media, each with their own strengths. The computer is simply the latest game medium to emerge. While computer games are therefore part of the broader area of games, they have in many cases evolved beyond the classic game model.


A Certain Level of Abstraction

Juul Jesper
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

This paper explores levels of abstraction: Representational games present a fictional world, but within that world, players are only allowed to perform certain actions; the fictional world of the game is only implemented to a certain detail. The paper distinguishes between abstraction as a core element of video game design, abstraction as something that the player decodes while playing a game, and abstraction as a type of optimization that the player builds over time. Finally, the paper argues that abstraction is a related to the magic circle of games and to rules as such.


Bad Games Panel [Abstracts]

Juul Jesper Weise Matthew Begy Jason
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

A video game can be such an utter failure, in terms of basic craft and artistic value, that it is not possible to gain any enjoyment from playing it. Or is it? This panel discusses the possibility of appreciating video games that are otherwise considered "flawed" or "bad". The concepts of paracinema (Sconce) and camp (Sontag) describe ways of appreciating cinema and culture that is otherwise derided as low quality by dominant standard of taste. Using these as starting points, we can begin to understand how also games can be enjoyed or valued precisely because they fail to meet established quality criteria. Paragaming can be seen as the practice of valuing games because they fail to meet game-specific quality criteria like usability, stability, flow, etc. This panel will explore three different aspects of paragaming, touching on the relationship between difficulty and user experience, the way paracinematic language and culture is often appropriated into not only the practice of paragaming, but into game development, and the role of group dynamics in enjoying "bad games". The question of bad games is important to the mission of game studies. By better understanding counter-readings and/or counter-playings of games - the deliberate appropriation of games in ways that are presumed to go against the intentions of the developers - we can better understand the taste cultures that we are already (and perhaps not consciously) immersed in.