[-empyre-] Week 4: Playsthetics of Experimental Digital Games: game design praxis

Sandra Danilovic s.danilovic at mail.utoronto.ca
Wed Mar 26 02:01:59 EST 2014

Dear All,

I just thought I would post my questions for this week's subtopic, even though Christine and Kara have already started the conversation and have addressed my questions, way to go! I have so much to say as well, and respond to Christine and Kara's amazing posts...

Again, feel free to address this topic of game design praxis on your own terms. My third question was formulated before we were introduced to Emma's "game sketches" metaphor, so feel free to expand on this particular point using your own experiences and perspectives.

Also, since we do privilege theory sometimes as academics, I am hoping that as artist-designer-curator practitioners outside and inside academia, we can intervene, just a bit? (Kara, research-creation is a great point you bring up! I really want to discuss this more...research-creation is our ticket to legitimizing artistic, design and curatorial practice as academic work that 'counts' inside academia, no? ) I think we already have been intervening... I would single out Peter's great point about the steep learning curves artists face when confronted with computational platforms...especially the idea of ambiguity that Peter raises and how experimental art outside computing is conducive to the expression of ambiguity (as opposed to math and engineering that are inherent in computational processes). I am wondering though how artists-game designers-curators are finding really creative inroads of expressing these ambiguities in computing and games? And what those creative inroads are? Strategic inroads, cheeky inroads? We haven't really talked about humour, cheekiness, theatricality, but I digress...

I should mention a book I have been reading lately -that of Noah Wardrip-Fruin's Expressive Processing, this is in a line of books on procedural and processual theories of game design, including Bogost's Persuasive Games... and the ideas in these works of expressing a story or making a convincing argument through the rule-based system of a game... Again, using mathematical related concepts (ex: declaring variables, something i have been learning.. and all that goes into programming!) as a way to tell a story in a game or experiment with games... We can't avoid talking about the nitty gritty technical, but I wonder how as artists-designers we can overcome some of these 'obstacles' that Peter raises so well in his post. I think the social relations inherent in technology greatly impact how designers-artists or those who feel they don't fit in, envision their own abilities and imaginations through existing cultural logics... Yes, Dames Making Games made a huge difference to me as well, Kara! ;-)




Week 4 (March 24-31): Kara Stone, Christine Kim, Chris Young, Mark Chen. Game design praxis.

1.     How can we debate experimental games through a combination of theoretical and praxis-based frameworks? How can praxis intervene into theory?
2.     How are experimental games vehicles for creative self-expression, storytelling?
3.     What does it mean to design 'unplayable' games, difficult-to-play games, etc in relation to creative experimentation?

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