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The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Strategies by Steven E. Jones

By Steven E. Jones

The which means of Video Games takes a textual experiences method of an more and more vital type of expression in today’s tradition. It starts off via assuming that games are meaningful–not simply as sociological or fiscal or cultural proof, yet of their personal correct, as cultural expressions invaluable of scholarly realization. during this approach, this publication makes a contribution to the examine of games, however it additionally goals to counterpoint textual studies.

Early game reports students have been speedy to indicate video game shouldn't ever be decreased to simply its "story" or narrative content material they usually rightly insist at the significance of learning video games as video games. yet the following Steven E. Jones demonstrates that textual studies–which grows traditionally out of historic questions of textual recension, a number of models, construction, copy, and reception–can fruitfully be utilized to the examine of games. mentioning particular examples reminiscent of Myst and Lost, Katamari Damacy, Halo, Façade, Nintendo’s Wii, and may Wright’s Spore, the ebook explores the ways that textual stories concepts–authorial goal, textual variability and function, the paratext, publishing background and the social text–can make clear games as greater than formal platforms. It treats games as cultural kinds of expression which are bought as they're performed, out on this planet, the place their meanings get made.

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Extra resources for The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Strategies

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This shift toward studying the material conditions of the social text is most often associated with the work of D. F. McKenzie and Jerome McGann, theorists who focus not on imagined static verbal constructs, the isolated text, but on dynamic discourse fields composed of interacting forces: verbal, graphical (or bibliographical), cultural, ideological, and social. The social text is like the crossroads of these forces, the place where meanings get generated. Before McGann’s Critique of Modern Textual Criticism in 1983, McKenzie was the first to argue for a broader definition of the social text, as any recorded form of “verbal, visual, oral, numeric data, in the form of maps, prints, and music, of archives or recorded sound, of films, videos, and any computer-stored information .

The writers of Lost have from the beginning played with intertextual allusions and clues to interpretation by way of books planted within its storyworld. One strand of the second season’s finale focused on Desmond Hume’s alwayspostponed reading of Dickens’s last major novel, Our Mutual Friend; the strange instructional movie in the Hatch is hidden behind a copy of The Turn of the Screw; glimpses of an obscure 1967 (completed 1940) experimental detective novel, The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien, fueled sales of the book—and months of speculation about parallels with the show, especially the idea that the castaways, like the characters in the surreal novel, might be already dead and in some kind of purgatory.

Part of the fun of such intermediation is the viewers’ or players’ pleasure in following the official “hacks” or media repurposing, crossing the threshold between text and outside world, seeing different media crossed and re-crossed in order to use the media network as the “platform” for a larger, unstable structure, even if we know that structure is at bottom (at the bottom line) a marketing device for an entertainment product. The whole point is that the marketing is simultaneously entertainment, that an ARG such as The Lost Experience earns the attention it gets by telling complex stories and engaging players in a real game, a series of sometimes shared, pleasurable acts of puzzlesolving and meaning-making.

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