The Implied Designer and the Experience of Gameworlds


Van de Mosselaer Nele Gualeni Stefano
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

As artefacts, gameworlds are designed and developed to fulfil certain functional and creative objectives. Players infer these purposes and aspirations from various aspects of their engagement with games. Based on their socio-cultural background, their sensitivities, gameplay preferences, and game literacy, they construct a subjective interpretation of the intentions of the creators of the game. In analogy to Wayne C. Booth’s notion of the implied author, we will call the figure to which players ascribe those intentions ‘the implied designer’. In this paper, we introduce the notion of the implied (game) designer and present an initial account of the way players ascribe meaning to gameworlds and act within them based on what they perceive to be the intentions of the designer of the game.

 

The Emancipated Player


Farca Gerald
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Elevating video games to the same aesthetic level as other forms of representational art, this paper explores humankind’s inherent drive towards aesthetic beauty and the creation of meaning. To analyse this specific type of player, slumbering in all of us, I propose the emancipated player. The emancipated player represents an open-minded and critical player type who willingly engages in the act of play and who primarily wants to experience play’s aesthetic effect. As a refinement of player involvement in video games, the emancipated player’s experience in the gameworld can be regarded as a specific phenomenology of play and becomes particularly fruitful for the analysis of virtualized storyworlds or video game narratives.

 

The Journey to Nature: The Last of Us as Critical Dystopia


Farca Gerald Ladevèze Charlotte
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

As an instance of the critical dystopia, The Last of Us lets the player enact a post-apocalyptic story in which human society has been severely decimated by the Cordyceps infection and where nature has made an astonishing return. This paper examines the ecological rhetoric of The Last of Us by laying emphasis on the empirical player’s emancipated involvement in the gameworld (virtualized storyworld) and how s/he engages in a creative dialectic with the implied player. In suggesting the utopian enclave of a life in balance with nature, The Last of Us scrutinises the ills of our empirical present and lays a negative image on the latter. As such, The Last of Us is a magnificent example of the video game dystopia and succeeds in triggering a powerful aesthetic response in the empirical player, which might result in a call to action in the real world.

 

I Fought the Law: Transgressive Play and The Implied Player


Aarseth Espen
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

This paper is an attempt to understand Game Studies through the contested notion of the “player” both inside and outside “the game object” – that is the object that game users perceive and respond to when they play. Building on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s notion of games as a subject that “masters the players”, the paper will go beyond the traditional split between the social sciences’ real players and the aesthetics/humanities critical author-as-player, and present a theory of the player and player studies that incorporates the complex tensions between the real, historical player and the game’s human components. Since games are both aesthetic and social phenomena, a theory of the player must combine both social and aesthetic perspectives to be successful. The tension between the humanities and the social sciences over who controls the idea of the player can be found mirrored also in the struggle between the player as individual and the “player function” of the game. Transgressive play, the struggle against the game’s ideal player, far from being a marginal, romanticized phenomenon, is the core expression of this struggle.