December 18, 2003

Close Readings

by Andrew Stern · , 11:57 pm

Word Circuits (now added to our resource links list) has published a collection of seven short papers that “eschew general musings on the nature of electronic literature and instead dive right into a detailed close reading, filled with examples and quotations, perhaps even screen shots, of the text at hand.” The readings are polished versions of student papers from Matthew Kirschenbaum’s Digital Studies graduate course at the University of Maryland. The works dissected include ones by mez, geniwate, Diane Greco and GTxA’s own Scott Rettberg (who has his own blog by the way, with extra goodies he doesn’t post on this group blog).

From the growing field of game studies we’re beginning to see close readings of games as well. For example, at the LevelUp conference we heard a 90-minute tagteam dissection of Super Monkey Ball. But most impressive is Ludologica, a new series of books in which “distinguished game critics, scholars, and novelists explore the production and reception of their chosen video games in the context of an argument about the games social, cultural, and aesthetic importance. Each book presents the author’s insights into a game and its creator selected from a list of the most enduring and influential titles of the last 40 years. These innovative readings are not conventional game reviews or game guides. Rather, they situate the games in terms of the broader cultural debate that they informed.” The close readings include The Sims, Final Fantasy, Ultima, Metal Gear Solid 2, GTA, Doom, Ico, Sim City and more. The series is organized by Matteo Bittanti.