July 6, 2004
Critical Simulation @ ebr
A new installment of First Person — Critical Simulation — is live at electronic book review. It includes essays by Simon Penny, Gonzalo Frasca, and Phoebe Sengers — as well as responses by folks like N. Katherine Hayles, Mizuko Ito, and GTxA’s own Michael Mateas. This section takes up questions of simulation which have also been of concern in essays posted earlier (such as Espen Aarseth’s) but these essays foreground ethical and political concerns. Gonzalo Frasca’s contribution, for example, is his well-known “Videogames of the Oppressed” which (as the title suggests) engages with the work of Augusto Boal.
I’m also happy to report that the ebr-specific elements of First Person are gaining momentum. There are new responses to the Cyberdrama section from Jane McGonigal (asking, “What would cyberdrama look like off the computer screen?”) and Mark Barrett (with the challenging words, “If academics are going to be helpful in solving the interactive storytelling problem, they need to be explicit about their intent, exhaustive in their historical analysis and rigorous with their language.”). Finally, the Critical Simulation section has ebr-specific responses as well — from Ian Bogost (including discussion of The Howard Dean for Iowa Game) and Jan Van Looy (focusing on Simon Penny’s discussion of game violence, and eliciting an additional response from Penny).
July 6th, 2004 at 11:02 pm
Back in March, MIT Press published Grand Theft Auto friend Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan's edited volume First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Noah just announced that the Critical Simulation section of First Person is onl…
July 9th, 2004 at 9:57 pm
A man walks into a bar, where he meets a stereotypical ecclesiastical figure, a recuperated post-orientalist discursive reconstruction, and an ideological abject of a once largely unfamiliar region of another continent.
“A funny thing happened on my way to the forums,” he begins, “which has left me rather unnerved, or perhaps enervated is the more appropriate term, and as terminology, which is to say taxonomy, has been the subaltern of the matter that has vexxed me so, it were best that there were no confusion.”
“As is my wont, I was out for my morning constitutional, strolling through the interstices in my subjectivity, when I heard from the agora a pedant advertising what he calumniated as a revolutionary new mental tonic. As the Wif has often complained of my flabby medulla, I thought it best to investigate, and not having a committee handy, undertook with some trepanation to beat the bushes myself, which is to say that I sent one of my graduate acolytes into the fray to discern the risk.”
“It seems this oratologist had worked himself into quite a state with his declensions upon the topic of new interactive media and the simulational logics of political engagement. It was with nothing short of wonderment that I witnessed his speech (safely from behind an ivory pediment, I assure you), for his astounding range of neological imperatives was nothing short of breathtaking, and when he did pause to restore his store of expressive media, the plethora of inanities that he spun upon the wind only settled more impressively upon the blank and programmable slate of my memento mori.”
“At length, my unpaid lackey reported that this most inestimable pedadogue was hawking a discourse on the virtual luger and its place within the fractalized matrix of experiential relativity. Amidst the wondrous formations of epiphactual logic was a terribly composting catalogue of the shapes and ships of dynamic methodological aesthetics (and I quote):
Games that are played with the exclusion of optical inputs
Games belonging to the ordo novus terrarium
The performative works of Arthenice Bellastrium
Self-reflexive word-plays (with and without characters)
Many others too myriad to detail without risk of running into a potential contradiction that may some day endanger the possibility of intenurement”
“Astonished, I was, at the eruditionitiousness of this monocle, and immediately ordered that the unwashed proletariat should sally forth in all of her raiments of orthodoxy and challenge the interlocutor on the premises that as all designers, critiques, and players of entertainments through computational platformization are known to be of the feminine caste, and ergo propter hoc, this man could not possibly know the Gordian paths of which he had bespaken himself. At first, she resisted, interposing a counter-subjectivity eerily phenomenated through doubled speech events as though the stereoscopic rendering of vocalized linguistics could not fail to persevere, but under the relentless pressure of my repetitive recounting of the learned institution’s motto (Obscuratum *hic* Pedagogum), I firmly believed that her recalcitrance to fault in the line of conformity was waivering.”
“It was at this unfortunately imprecise moment that she broke from my side (thank the Gods that it was not my forehead), and thus it is that I have arrived at this entirely disreputable establishment to inquire if you have in fact seen my chowhound. I would gladly give this fin, and begin again, for any leads as to her or what she wears about.”
“That shaggy dog has left the building,” was the barkeep’s only reply.