Paratextual Studies and Video Games
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Paratextual Studies and Video Games

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This lecture looks at gamings wider cultures and games within culture. Video Games permiate our wider culture and do not stand alone. Video Games create a space of/for play but influence and are......

This lecture looks at gamings wider cultures and games within culture. Video Games permiate our wider culture and do not stand alone. Video Games create a space of/for play but influence and are influenced by a wider culture. This lecture takes 3 case examples and examines the paratexts of Video Games. Games are not an island

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  • 1.  
  • 2. Literary Theory Recap - Key Terms
    • Poetics – The study of literary conventions and rules
    • Hermeneutics – The study of literature’s meaning, what signifiers mean within the text
    • Aesthetics – The study of literature’s effects
  • 3. Poetics
    • Silicon Knights founder and president Denis Dyack states “In short, we need to develop a Poetics for the games industry, a universal theory of game development, a theory that can provide a blueprint or foundation from which we can build our craft.”
    • Dyack D, http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/features/poetics-for-the-games-industry/?biz
  • 4. Hermeneutics
    • Hermeneutics (of the game)
    • A game (as we have established) is a text, to be read and examined to extract meaning. As a “cultural object” it does not stand alone but sits within a wider culture (or cultures) . A game is designed for a demographic but may be played by users outside that demographic.
    • “ American Army” will mean something different to an American Teen to an Iraqi.
  • 5. Hermeneutics
    • Hermeneutics – Intertexts
    • Games can be but within a context, they may reference Film, Art, Musical Styles and Fashions, Historical Texts etc. these additional texts that are used to give the studied text (in our case the game) context and these references are called intertexts. Games may reference many texts and other media and genres to create an intertextuality.
  • 6. Aesthetics of the Game
    • Aesthetics looks at how a text elicits an emotional response from the reader / user / player, with a game this is usually visual but also auditory and can be the twists and turns of a narrative, or character development etc.
  • 7. Games as Text
    • Text – (used to refer to) a sequence of coherent sentences
    • Text – A cultural object that can be “read” and meaning extracted
  • 8. Jones, S.E., 2008. The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Strategies 1st ed., Routledge.  
  • 9.
    • “ the burgeoning field has relied on formalist approaches to its object of study”
    • Bogost, I. 2008. Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism , The MIT Press.
    •  
    • “ ...[it] reaps what they sowed – functionalist separatism”
    • Bogost, I., 2006. Comparative Video Game Criticism. Games and Culture , 1(1), 41-46.
    • Klevjer calls for... “a typical textual practice, at once configurative and interpretive, both unique and intertextual”
    • Klevjer, R., 2002. In Defense of Cutscenes . http://folk.uib.no/smkrk/docs/klevjerpaper.htm [accessed 08/02/09]
  • 10.
    • “ Seeing games as ‘intertextual’ reminds us that no game or instance of gameplay is an island; like literary texts, every game extends outward from itself in many directions. The relationship of text to context and intertext has after all been at the center of modern literary theory for decades”
    Jones, S.E., 2008. The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Strategies 1st ed., Routledge.   Jones’ book works as a series of case studies, using specific instances or examples of video games intertextuality. It traces video games permeation into culture and cultures symbiotic relationship with video games.
  • 11.
    • “ [video games are] ...hybrid, extra-linguistic, open-ended, configurative and procedural systems”
    Jones, S.E., 2008. The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Strategies 1st ed., Routledge.   Jones’ draws on Gerard Genette’s theories of paratexts to examine video games and their place within the divergent systems of culture. (Genette is known for is work in the field of narratology) The theory of paratext works with ideas of the “threshold of the text”. It looks at what constructs the text, and when working with literature would encompass the preface, epigraph, cover, advertising, distribution, intertexts... Paratextual studies expands what is included in the term text. The text grows is ever increasing spirals into society.
  • 12. Peritext/Epitext
    • Peritext – refers to all the text encompassed in the volume, for example the game itself, the disc art, the manual and its layout and the cover art
    • Epitext – refers to all the related texts, interviews with the various members of the design team, the console, the publicity
    • “ Paratext = Peritext + Epitext”
    • Paratexts create a area of “ transition ” or “ transaction ” in the texts reception. It is closley linked to areas of “ social texts ”
    • Genette, G., 1997. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation , Cambridge University Press.  
  • 13. THE FOLLOWING LISTS ARE NOT COMPLETE OR EXHAUSTIVE THEY ARE MERELY FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES THEY ADDRESS AN EVER EXPANDING FIELD OF STUDY SO AIM TO SKETCH AN AREA OF STUDY OR PRACTICE NOT TO BE ALL ENCOMPASSING THESE SLIDES ARE HEAVILY SUBSIDISED WITH ILLUSTATIVE VIDEOS
  • 14.  
  • 15. Core Games
  • 16. Pokemon Evolution Capsule Novels Graphic Novels
  • 17. Films and TV Program
  • 18. Trading Cards and Characters
  • 19. Trading Cards
  • 20.  
  • 21. The Core Games (and mods)
  • 22. Iconic Characters
  • 23. The Promotion Models
  • 24. The Movie
  • 25. The Comics The Interactive DVD The Animated Series Pre-Teen Raider
  • 26. User and Commercial erotica and pornography
  • 27. Fanfic (Fan Fiction)
  • 28.  
  • 29. Spore To The Power of Ten
  • 30.  
  • 31. The Box Art and Packaging (including limited edition releases) The Core Games
  • 32. The Additional Games
  • 33. The Game Soundtracks
  • 34. Flash Halo CTF 16-bit Halo Halo 2 arcade The Unofficial Flash Games
  • 35. http://www.invalidmob.com/Flash_Games/Halo.html The Unofficial Flash Games
  • 36. The Novels
  • 37. The Graphic Novels and Comics
  • 38. The Art of Books The Guide Books Mod Books
  • 39.  
  • 40. The Movie Short Films Adverts and TV Spots
  • 41. Alternative Reality Games
  • 42. LARP (Live Action Role play) Forum Based Roleplay/Fanfic
  • 43. Table Top Role Playing Games
  • 44. Machinima Red Vs. Blue This Spartain Life Warthog Jump
  • 45. User produced Pornography and Erotica (Porn Stars play strip Halo 3)
  • 46.  
  • 47.  
  • 48.  
  • 49. Wark, M., 2007. Gamer Theory , Harvard University Press.   http://www.futureofthebook.org/gamertheory/ http://www.thisspartanlife.com/episodes/1004_mod3.php