Epistemological Issues in Understanding Games Design, Play-Experience, and Reportage

Howell Peter Stevens Brett
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

This paper presents a philosophically grounded argument for examining how second-order analysis can be approached with regard to epistemologies of game design and play-experience. Games are presented as multiple ‘units of being’ sharing relationships of dependency and transformation, which can be approached differently by different audiences. To demonstrate how such relationships can function between units of being, examples from game analyses are discussed with particular attention to the role of cognition and memory in reporting on the play-experience specifically. Implications for design practice, player studies, game analysis, and games criticism are discussed throughout the argument, working towards a theoretical foundation for enabling more deeply informed interpretation and analyses.


Hackers and Cyborgs: Binary Domain and Two Formative Videogame Technicities

Keogh Brendan
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Through the course of Binary Domain’s action-packed narrative, it becomes increasingly unclear who is human, who is machine, and who is somewhere in between. Ultimately, such a distinction is futile when our everyday experiences are so ubiquitously augmented by technologies—even the act of playing Binary Domain by coupling with a virtual character through a videogame controller challenges any clear distinction between human and machine. While such themes are not new to science fiction, the anxieties expressed by Binary Domain’s characters are relevant to what have emerged over the past twentyfive years as two formative modes of identifying with videogames: the dominant hacker and the integrated cyborg. The hacker, an identity that the dominant and hegemonic ‘gamer’ consumer identity can trace a clear lineage from, comes to represent the masculinist, mastery-focused identity that most blockbuster games celebrate.The cyborg emerges in resistance to the hacker, pointing to a diversity of forms and identities focused less on mastering the machine than participating with it. This paper uses Binary Domain’s complex anxieties towards technology as a lens through which to trace the histories of these constitutive modes of identifying with videogames, and to demonstrate the influence they have on shaping videogame forms and audiences.


Assassin’s Creed III and the Aesthetics of Disappointment

Church Jonathan Klein Michael
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Using a case example of the cycle of prerelease, release, and post-release commentary, criticism and reviews of Assassin’s Creed III from June 2012-January 2013, this paper examines how video game players produce a “culture of history” about the game they play through their commitment to commentary and critique mainly found in user reviews in gaming enthusiast press websites. This paper examines how an aesthetic of disappointment generates a comparative sense of gamers’ cultural present by framing aspects that should have been improved upon from the series’ past as well as in terms of expectations for the future of gaming. This paper concludes by suggesting that part of the pleasure of contemporary gaming for many self-identified “core” gamers is being able to both play games and aesthetically discuss the game being played as part of a culture of history with other gamers, a form of paidiaic play for “gaming capital”.


Computer Game Criticism: A Method for Computer Game Analysis

Konzack Lars
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

In this paper, we describe a method to analyse computer games. The analysis method is based on computer games in particular and not some kind of transfer from other field or studies - even though of course it is inspired from other kinds of analysis methods from varying fields of studies. The method is based on seven different layers of the computer game: hardware, program code, functionality, game play, meaning, referentiality, and socio-culture. Each of these layers may be analysed individually, but an entire analysis of any computer game must be analysed from every angle. Thereby we are analysing both technical, aesthetic and socio-cultural perspectives.


Experiential Metaphors in Abstract Games

Begy Jason
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Despite their age and prevalence, abstract games are often overlooked in contemporary discussions of games and meaning. In this paper I offer experiential metaphors as a critical method applicable to all games, particularly abstract games. To do this I introduce structural metaphors, image schemata and experiential gestalts to explain how experiential metaphors function. I then compare this method with the simulation gap (Bogost 2006, 2007) and show how the two relate. I close with two examples of abstract games that function as experiential metaphors.