On the border: pleasure of exploration and colonial mastery in Civilization III play the world

Lammes Sybille
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

Games like Myst, Civilisation and Anno 1602 are centred around the virtual travelling of the gamer through unknown worlds. The voyage s/he undertakes often hinges on notions of colonialist exploration, turning the gamer into a traveller who surveys and masters unknown domains and learns to control techno-scientific principles along the way. Since such games are related to a mentality of colonialism, questions should be asked about how such games can be located in its discursive formation. This paper will shed light on these questions by analysing Civilization III and my experiences of playing this game.


The map as playground: Locationbased games as cartographical practices

Lammes Sybille
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

In this paper I will examine how maps in location-based mobile games are used as surfaces on which players can inscribe their whereabouts and other local information while being on the move. I will look at three different location-based games to which maps are central as a playing surface: RunZombieRun, Paranormal Activity Sanctuary and Own This World. My main argument will be that such cartographical location-based games foreground the fluidity of mapping and emphasise the performative aspects of playing with maps. As such they are not representations used by players for consultation, but as Latourian mediators (Latour 1990, 1993, 2004) they produce new social spaces (Lefebvre 1991). It therefore does not suffice to conceive maps in such games as “mimetic interfaces” (Juul 2009). Instead they should be approached as what I will call navigational interfaces. To understand them as such I will combine perspectives from game-studies with understandings of maps as technological and spatial practices as developed in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Human Geography.


Approaching game-studies: towards a reflexive methodology of games as situated cultures

Lammes Sybille
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

This paper will address why and how a reflexive and situated methodology could be employed to study cultural functions of play. Starting from the supposition that playing is pivotal to all game-research, I will follow Aarseth's claim that any (cultural) approach of games asks for an inclusion of the position of the player/researcher in its methodology. Being particularly interested in games as a cultural practice, I will add to his claim that for such kind of research a methodology is needed that enables us to see games as culture. My hypotheses will be that reflexivity and situatedness lie at the heart of any approach that wants to include both issues. I will show that reflexivity and situatedness may be needed as complementary tools to come to a cultural study of games that takes Aarseth's call for reflectivity serious. I will claim that the researcher needs the combined tools of reflexivity and situatedness because both situatedness (intertwining agent and environment) and reflexivity (distance/proximity) take into account the involvement of the researcher/player with its material and view this as a cultural praxis. Situatedness allows for game-research that shows the physical locality of playing whilst still relating play to a more global or national context. Reflexivity permits us to show how the researcher is culturally and locally involved in her quasi-object of study through play.