Spec Ops: The Line’s Conventional Subversion of the Military Shooter

Keogh Brendan
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The contemporary videogame genre of the military shooter, exemplified by blockbuster franchises like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, is often criticised for its romantic and jingoistic depictions of the modern, high-tech battlefield. This entanglement of military shooters and the rhetoric of technologically advanced warfare in a “militaryentertainment complex” is scrutinised by Yager’s Spec Ops: The Line. The game’s critique of military shooters is as complex and messy as the battlefields the genre typically works to obscure. Initially presented to the player as a generic military shooter, The Line gradually subverts the genre’s mechanics, aesthetics, and conventions to devalue claims of the West’s technological and ethical superiority that the genre typically perpetuates. This paper brings together close, textual analysis; comments made by the game’s developers; and the analytical work of videogame critics to examine how The Line relies on the conventions of its own genre to ask its player to think critically about the cultural function of military shooters.


Computer Games / Cinema / Interfaces

King Geoff Krzywinska Tanya
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

What is the relationship between computer games and cinema? Spin-off games based on major film franchises are common, especially in genres such as science fiction, action-adventure and horror. Some games have also made the transition to the big screen, none more prominently than the Tomb Raider series in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). The potential benefits of such tieins are apparent at the industrial level, in a global media economy in which games and cinema often exist in the orbit of the same corporate giants. To what extent, though, is it useful to look at games more closely in the light of cinema? The aim of this paper is to explore points of contact between computer games and aspects of cinema, but also to highlight important differences and distinctions. The main focus is on the formal/textual qualities of games in relation to cinema, although reference is also made to aspects of industrial and broader cultural context. The paper also considers some more general questions raised by the use of paradigms from one media form in relation to another.


Textuality in video games

Carr Diane Burn Andrew Schott Gareth Buckingham David
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

In this article the participants report on a two year research project titled Textuality and Videogames; Interactivity, Narrative Space and Role Play that ran from September 2001, until late 2003 at the Institute of Education, University of London. After presenting an overview of the project, including the methodologies we have adopted, and the questions we have sought to address, we outline two sample case studies, one that relates to player agency, the other that considers role-play, social semiotics and sign making in an MMORPG.


MMOGs and the Future of Literature

Kücklich Julian
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

Massively multi-player role-playing have created shadow societies that are simultaneously a mirror and a caricature of our own societies. In this respect, they are comparable to the social commentary traditionally provided by literature and film. Over the last 100 years, however, our world has been transformed by new technologies and the myriad ways we have found to use them. Despite these new developments, media generally still rely on linear narrative, a form that seems increasingly inadequate to represent contemporary life. Could it be possible, then, that the MMOG, with its many intertwined and discontinuous narrative strands, is more appropriate to map the changes in global society? This paper tries to answer this question by building on the concept of realism, which plays such an important part both in the discourse of modernism and the popular discourse around digital games, and which will serve as a leitmotif in this media-historical analysis.


Textual Analysis, Digital Games, Zombies

Carr Diane
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

This paper is a contribution to ongoing debates about the value and limitations of textual analysis in digital games research. It is argued that due to the particular nature of digital games, both structural analysis and textual analysis are relevant to game studies. Unfortunately they tend to be conflated. Neither structural nor textual factors will fully determine meaning, but they are aspects of the cycle through which meaning is produced during play. Meaning in games is emergent, and play is a situated practice. Undertaking the textual analysis of a game does not necessarily involve ignoring these points. Textual analysis, like any methodology, does have limitations. The specifics of these limitations, however, will depend on the particular model of textuality employed. These issues are explored through an analysis of the survival horror game, Resident Evil 4.