August 4, 2009

Agency Reconsidered, Again

How do we understand moments of “agency” with games and other forms of digital media — what Janet Murray characterizes as players’ “satisfying power to take meaningful action and see the results of our decisions and choices”? Last month our DiGRA 2009 abstract on this topic sparked a thoughtful discussion. It pushed the co-authors (Michael Mateas, Steven Dow, Serdar Sali, and yours truly) to take a closer look at what our definition of agency might be — not just what might encourage or diminish it — and how our thinking breaks from the past. As we worked to complete the full version of the paper we decided that our paper would focus on agency as a “phenomenon involving both player and game, one that occurs when the actions players desire are among those they can take (and vice versa) as supported by an underlying computational model.” Anyone interested in reading the version we submitted to DiGRA can do so after the break.

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