Game-playing, from Submission to Creation

I keep returning to this question: When we play a game, are we free –  or are we prisoners of the game rules?

Here is Playing, my contribution to Henry Lowood and Raiford Guins’ wonderful Debugging Game History collection.

In the piece I argue that there are four main conceptions of the act of game-playing, going from playing as submission to playing as creation.

1. Playing as submission, where the player is bound by the limits set forth by the game rules.

2. Playing as constrained freedom, where the game creates a space in which players acquire a certain amount of freedom and the opportunity to perform particular acts.

3. Playing as subversion, where the player works around both the designer’s intentions and the game object’s apparent limitations.

4. Playing as creation, where the game is ultimately irrelevant for (or at least secondary to) the actual playing.

Read the full text here: http://www.jesperjuul.net/text/playing/

 

ToDIGRA special issue, 1st DiGRA and FDG conference

For your theoretical consumption:

Special Issue, 1st Joint International Conference of DIGRA and FDG

Introduction PDF
Ashley Brown, Rafael Bidarra
No-one Plays Alone PDF
Chris Bateman
“Ruinensehnsucht”: Longing for Decay in Computer Games PDF
Mathias Fuchs
Creative Communities: Shaping Process through Performance and Play PDF
Lynn Parker, Dayna Galloway
Playful Fandom: Gaming, Media and the Ludic Dimensions of Textual Poaching PDF
Orion Mavridou
A Review of Social Features in Social Network Games PDF
Janne Paavilainen, Kati Alha, Hannu Korhonen
Focus, Sensitivity, Judgement, Action: Four Lenses for Designing Morally Engaging Games PDF
Malcolm Ryan, Dan Staines, Paul Formosa
Developing Ideation Cards for Mixed Reality Game Design PDF
Richard Wetzel, Tom Rodden, Steve Benford
Source Code and Formal Analysis: A Reading of Passage PDF
Ea Christina Willumsen

ISSN: 2328-9422

Well Played volume 6 number 3

For your theoretical delectation: Well Played: volume 6 number 3

Agency, Identity, Sex, Gender, and Pokémon Go
Allison Bannister

So Close You Can Feel Her
Prostitution, Proximity & Empathy in Grand Theft Auto 5
Elena Bertozzi, Amelia Bertozzi-Villa

Learning at the Farm
Developmental Psychology in Peekaboo Barn
Carly A. Kocurek, Jennifer L. Miller

Taking Over the World, Again?
Examining Procedural Remakes of Adventure Games
Anastasia Salter

Purchase from Lulu.com, or Download for free

Game Studies Vol 17, Issue 1

For your theoretical delight, a new issue of Game Studies.

Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 17, Issue 1, July 2017). All articles are available at www.gamestudies.org/1701

  

Articles

Watching People Is Not a Game: Interactive Online Corporeality, Twitch.tv and Videogame Streams

by Sky LaRell Anderson

This article examines Twitch.tv in order to reveal the design strategies it employs to direct awareness to the presence of players and viewers. Specifically, I describe the elements that direct attention toward humans, persons and personalities outside of games.

 

Glory to Arstotzka: Morality, Rationality, and the Iron Cage of Bureaucracy in Papers, Please

by Jason J. Morrissette

This article examines how ludic and thematic elements coalesce in Papers, Please to replicate the monotony of bureaucratic work, trapping players in Weber’s iron cage of bureaucracy. Moreover, by offering opportunities to deviate from administrative protocols, the game highlights the inherent tension between morality and bureaucratic rationality.

 

Abstracting Evidence: Documentary Process in the Service of Fictional Gameworlds

by Aaron Oldenburg

This paper looks at a strategy for creating content and gameplay using documentary processes such as interviews and on-location evidence collection for games that abstract that content with varying levels of fictionalization.

 

An Enactive Account of the Autonomy of Videogame Gameplay

by Jukka Vahlo

In this paper, the phenomenon of videogame gameplay is analyzed from an enactive view of social cognition. It is asserted that videogame gameplay arises as an autonomous organization in the reciprocal dynamics between at least one social agent and a responsive game. This autonomy is argued as both original and irreducible to its constituents.

Nordic Game Jam – the original 2006 plan

Today is the start of the 12th installment of the Nordic Game Jam.

Going through my old files, here is the draft document describing the first “Nordic Game Jam” (yes, quotes) in 2006, which was organized by Henriette Moos, Gorm Lai and me.

By now, the language is positively quaint, patiently explaining that it’s about “making a game in a weekend”, and framing it as a workshop.

Nordic Game Jam is a weekend workshop in January 27-29th 2006 at the IT University in Copenhagen, Denmark. The workshop is about “making a game in a weekend”, dealing with game design and technical issues, and meeting other people working with game design and development.

This was not the first game jam to be held, but it was possibly the first to be centered around teams, rather than around individual programmers. This was a departure from the single-programmer and engine-oriented style of the Indie Game Jam, which I’d been to in 2005.

During the next few years, the Nordic Game Jam helped the broad acceptance of the game jam format, and it’s in part responsible for the incredible glut of indie and experimental games that we see today.

Compare today’s environment with the fact that my mere participation in the 2005 Indie Game Jam was enough to make my game shown at the Experimental Gameplay workshop at GDC. Doesn’t work like that anymore.

I remain extremely happy to have participated in making the Nordic Game Jam happen.

Game Developers Conference 2017 in tweets: March 3rd #gdc17

Continued from yesterday’s survey of Game Developers Conference 2017 tweets,  here are the most common words on the #gdc17 twitter hashtag for March 3rd 2017, fifth and final day of the conference:

Michael Chu of Blizzard gets the most mentions, quoted for saying that Blizzard embraces diversity in Overwatch.

And last day, of course.

And those were the main themes on Twitter.

Time: The first time I did this, a mere 8 years ago, Twitter wasn’t yet an integral part of the communication strategy of every company on the planet, so it felt more like these word clouds were revealing something fundamental about the conference.

Today, Twitter has to be approached with some skepticism. I have had to remove the endless stream of tweets that concerned the promise of prizes for everyone retweeting a particular tweet. And you never know how many accounts are real, and how many are puppets made for whatever reason.

But still: This GDC had no dominant theme.

Game Developers Conference 2017 in tweets: March 2nd #gdc17

Continued from yesterday’s survey of Game Developers Conference 2017 tweets,  here are the most common words on the #gdc17 twitter hashtag for March 2nd, 2017, the fourth day of the conference:

Still congratulations for the Developer Choice Awards.

“Innovation” comes from a snarky retweeted messages to No Man’s Sky makers Hellogames: “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GAME DEVELOPERS CHOICE AWARD FOR INNOVATION ᵃᵖᵒˡᵒᵍᶦᶻᵉ”.

“Creepiest” refers to a face-scanning technology.

The Final Fantasy XV tech demo video is mentioned.

And “party”.

So still no standout story or theme. Some years have a theme on Twitter, some don’t.

 

Game Developers Conference 2017 in tweets: March 1st

Continued from yesterday’s survey of Game Developers Conference 2017 tweets,  here are the most common words on the #gdc17 twitter hashtag for March 1st, 2017, the third day of the conference:

Today: Game Developer Choice Awards, with lots of congratulations.

Biggest talk was Nintendo on Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, by Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Satoru Takizawa and Takuhiro Dohta, whose names show up.

Windows and Acer are mentioned for mixed reality headsets. (The MR refers to the Nintendo presenters though, not Mixed Reality.)

Noctis from Final Fantasy XI also makes it.