The Human Machine Art Interface: Arcade Port Aesthetics and Production Practices

Nolan Kieran
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This research focuses on the aesthetic properties and production processes of arcade to home computer game ports during the 1980s and 1990s, in particular arcade titles originating in Japan that were licensed by UK based software houses for the 8-bit and 16-bit microcomputer market. The conversion teams worked within the unique constraints of 6 main platforms, namely the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad / Schneider CPC, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, and MS-DOS PC. In all the examples discussed, the original arcade cabinet was used as the core audiovisual and gameplay reference. As a human mediated process, the conversion of the digital material of arcade game to home computers not only bore the audiovisual constraints of the target platforms, but also the creative signatures of the conversion teams. The most successful home ports succeeded in capturing the essence of the arcade originals, while positively augmenting the gameplay, narrative, and overall aesthetic.


Testing the Power of Game Lessons: The Effects of Art and Narrative on Reducing Cognitive Biases

Martey Rosa Shaw Adrienne Stromer-Galley Jennifer Kenski Kate Clegg Benjamin Folkestad James Saulnier Emilie Strzalkowski Tomek
2014 DiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the 2014 DiGRA International Conference

Educational games have proliferated, but questions remain about the effectiveness at teaching both in the short- and long-term. Also unclear is whether particular game features have positive effects on learning. To examine these issues, this paper describes a controlled experiment using an educational game that was professionally developed to teach about cognitive biases in decision making (Fundamental Attribution Error, Confirmation Bias, and Bias Blind Spot). This experiment examined the effects of game art and narrative on learning and compared the game conditions to a training video. Effects were measured immediately after the stimuli were given and then again eight weeks later. Results indicate that the educational game outperforms the training video immediately after exposure and that there are significant retention effects. Art and narrative were not significantly related to learning with the exception that minimal art game had a significant positive relationship with mitigating Bias Blind Spot at immediate post-test.


Playability and its Absence – A post-ludological critique

Leino Olli
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

This essay concerns with the overlap of interactive art and computer games. In order to arrive at a critique of the feasibility of using playability’s absence as a strategy in the design of ‘art games’, the essay contextualizes contemporary non-playable ‘art games’ in the discourses of both interactive art and computer games. For this purpose, a notion of ‘playability’ is derived from notions of freedom and responsibility. In the ‘cross-exposure’ of traditions, questions arise about authorship, and, the aesthetics and ethics of the relationship between the artworks and its audience.


Playful Play with Games: Linking Level Editing to Learning in Art and Design

Engeli Maia
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

The title ‘Playful Play with Games’ refers to the possibility of creative involvement with games by altering their structure in a playful way. The focus of this paper is on modifying the first person shooter game Unreal Tournament as a learning process. Modifying the game means to become a creator or writer in addition to a reader and player, but nonetheless with a playful attitude and a good understanding of the game at hand. Understanding the game involves an understanding of the different levels of meaning of the game. Three levels of meaning produced in and around games can be distinguished: Meaningful play, meaning beyond play, and creatively added meaning. Five examples from courses to media management, architecture, and media art students as well as a group of activists illustrate the design of courses that are based on level editing.


Videogame art: remixing, reworking and other interventions

Mitchell Grethe Clarke Andy
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This paper explores some of the areas of intersection between videogames and both digital and non-digital art practice. By looking at examples of art practice drawn from videogames, it outlines some categories and so provides an overview of this area, placing it within the wider context of contemporary and historical art practice. The paper explores the tendency for much of this work to have elements of subversion or “détournement”, whilst also identifying areas of tension in the appropriation of videogames as material for art practice


Where have all the videogame console artists gone?

Catanese Paul
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This paper offers insight into the brief history of those artists whose work utilizes, incorporates or subverts the aesthetics and/or technology of video games. It questions why artwork that subverts consoles is seen less frequently than other emerging forms such as sampling, modifications (mods) and machine cinema (machinima). The paper concludes by offering an examination of obstacles which face artists creating console based subversion and points to these as the reasons why this emerging form is seen with less frequency than the others.


Video Games, Walking the Fine Line between Art and Entertainment

Folkerts Jef
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

This paper is partly a response to the ongoing debate in the game world about whether games can be art, and partly an excerpt from my Ph.D. research. I aim to offer some insights in the cognitive experiences gamers have while playing - hopefully useful to both designers and scholars. I will argue that an art experience is a particular kind of cognitive experience, namely a distinctive type of imagination. The essence of an art experience is the mental representation of a signification process, a sort of mirrored representation that is also known as mimesis. I hope to demonstrate that it is a universal feature of art to mirror life, or more accurately, a deliberate view on it. And that what constitutes art is not defined by the properties of an artefact, but by our experience of it, by our mental actions. Along the same line I maintain that the boundaries between what we usually label entertainment and what art can not be as sharply defined as we generally assume. The main arguments in the aforementioned debate concern affective features, perceivable aesthetic qualities (as opposed to artistic properties), and the uniqueness of a game. I will set out explaining why most expert assumptions seem not discriminating enough to distinguish an art experience from an entertainment experience. Next I present some theoretical perspectives on both kinds of experiences, after which I will explain how they are being mixed and intertwined in everyday practice. Some gameplay examples should finally illustrate this inevitably condensed theoretical framework, drawn from my more detailed and elaborated dissertation on signification, imagination and mimesis in games.


Visiting the Floating World: Tracing a Cultural History of Games Through Japan and America

Consalvo Mia
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

The goal of this paper is to establish a framework for better understanding the relationships between Japanese and American games in relation to that industry, visual styles, and cultural influence. To do that, this paper draws on a larger cultural history of Japan and America, and critiques and questions current and potential uses the concept of Orientalism in relation to digital games. In doing so, my hope is that we can arrive at a more sophisticated, nuanced understanding of that relationship, and use this framework for subsequent critical analysis.