[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on -empyre: GAMES AND REPRESENTATION

Aubrey Anable aubrey.anable at utoronto.ca
Sun Apr 12 08:03:03 AEST 2015

I’m really enjoying all of the contributions to this discussion.
Brenda’s astute point about the mutually constitutive relationship between characters, the affordances created by the game as system, and the players is right on: “Empathy or identification with the notion of the player-character as defined by the affordances and environment of the game is fundamental to the enjoyment of playing. So in my view, representation of identity matters, not only in terms of NPCs but also in terms of the players themselves.”
In my previous post, I didn’t mean to suggest that I think computation and representation are actually separate—quite the opposite. I’m just struck by how some very prominent figures in game studies seem to want to keep them separate. TreaAndrea brought our attention to an example of this in Ian Bogost’s recent article in The Atlantic. In Bogost’s formulation, it is in systems—not representation of identities through characters—where the true expressive potential of games resides. One of the problems I have with this formulation is that it presumes that players (and their identities) and game creators (and their identities) are not really part of the system—they only interact with it. I guess I would like to see a broader conceptualization of “systems” that incorporates things like identity and representation into how systems have expressive power.

Aubrey Anable
Cinema Studies Institute
University of Toronto
2 Sussex Ave.
Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

(647) 997-0570
aubrey.anable at utoronto.ca

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