As we get serious about studying new forms of art and new sorts of games, the question of how to draw categories for consideration arises. Defining categories isn’t just some tedious Scandanavian pastime; it’s also a way of figuring out why exactly we are more interested in some stuff than in some other stuff. Do we like certain types of literary works because they are presented on a computer, for instance, or because they require effort from the reader, who participates in determining what is read? (This is the implicit question asked in Cybertext and in some of Espen Aarseth’s earlier writing.)
Espen, Stephen Granade, and some others have been discussing the virtues of the category “Games in Virtual Environments,” as an alternative to “computer games,” here on Grand Text Auto. The “virtual environment” is a feature of interest to me (it’s part of my definition of interactive fiction, while “game” is not) and also, I think, of interest to Stuart. In fact, I do think there is something more interesting about richly world-simulating computer games than one sees in computerized versions of card and board games. But this idea for a category also raises some questions.
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