January 14, 2008 Archives
Last week I first introduced you to an early paper by Jesper Juul in which the author challenged the centrality of fiction in the study of games. I then asked you to read a book in which Juul said games are both fiction and rules. Last week, I introduced you to Espen Aarseth's term "ergodic." Now I'm asking you to look at this article, which challenges a central tenet of game studies -- that what matters is games is the playing. Newman seems to have a good concept of how games can be significant to a group of people, even when only one is playing at a time. He makes a clear argument -- and this is why I've chosen this article, so that you can see how scholars in any developing field advance the boundaries of their understanding by disagreeing with each other -- by saying, "Sure, your idea works for the examples you chose, but what about *this* case?" http://www.gamestudies.org/0102/newman/
The pleasures of videogames are frequently enjoyed by those that commonsense might encourage us to consider as non-players - "onlookers" that exert no direct control via the game controls. In this article, I want to suggest that videogame players need not actually touch a joypad, mouse or keyboard and that our definition needs to accommodate these non-controlling roles. The pleasure of videogame play does not simply flow through the lead of a joystick.