Video Games: The Playful Medium

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A lengthy presentation on video game semiotics that presents mostly a mashup of existing slideshare presentations :-) ...

Video Games: The Playful Medium

  1. 1. VIDEO GAMES: THE PLAYFUL MEDIUM Recapitulation of the Genre & Semiotic Aspects Presentation for the class: Semiotic Aspects of Media Lecturer: Frieder Naake Place & Time: HfK Bremen, 18. Nov. 2008 Presenter: Jan Smeddinck http://www.globalgraphica.com/main/archives/spaceinvader_paris_sgdp_3.jpg
  2. 2. CONTENT 05.02.2009  Video Games  History Video Games - The Playful Medium  Trends & Myths  Key Research  Semiotic Aspects  How are games semiotic?  What are semiotic domains?  What is so special about video games?  Are video games art?  Are there semiotic games? 2 http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/HPM/BM1178~Video-Games-Posters.jpg
  3. 3. WHAT ARE VIDEO GAMES? 05.02.2009  The media that SUCKS most!?! Video Games - The Playful Medium 3 http://media.kansan.com/img/photos/2008/05/05/Video_game_addiction_play.jpg
  4. 4. HISTORY OF VIDEO GAMES 05.02.2009  Device / Technology perspective  Software specific Video Games - The Playful Medium http://video.google.com/videoplay?doci d=3637639460474263178 4 http://www.smart-kit.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/sleep-learning.jpg
  5. 5. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 5 http://www.slideshare.net/guest003dda/megatrends-in-video-gaming, 3
  6. 6. OR AWFULLY STEREOTYPICAL 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 6 thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2007/06/did-you-know-20.html
  7. 7. TREND: OLDER GAMERS 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 7 ESA, 2008 + IGN‟s “Are You Game” from November 2008 7 | 57 http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/video-gaming-trends-presentation
  8. 8. TREND: MORE FEMALES 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 8  more female gamers over 18 than boys under 17 ESA “Essential Facts”, 2008 | Image: Nintendo DS Lite “Woman” 9 | 57 http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/video-gaming-trends-presentation
  9. 9. MYTH: LONELY & LOST SOULS 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 9 http://www.dasgib.de/wp-content/wow_world_of_warcraft_2030_reality.jpg
  10. 10. TREND: SHORTER PLAY & NEW USERS 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 10 http://www.enregistrersous.com/images/134178657420070918114858.jpg
  11. 11. TREND: SHORTER PLAY & NEW USERS 05.02.2009  Even in reality! Video Games - The Playful Medium 11 http://lh4.ggpht.com/_0DTgWoL_s0o/R1y6kZF2l7I/AAAAAAAAAHs/RBfiYqCYV9U/2007-04-17_0145.jpg
  12. 12. TREND: GAMING UBIQUITY 05.02.2009  Bedroom to Living-room  Stationary to Mobile Video Games - The Playful Medium 12 http://www.freewebs.com/sonypsfree/nintendo_ds_lite.jpg
  13. 13. TREND: PLAYING TOGETHER 05.02.2009  59% gamers play with other people in person ESA “Essential Facts”, 2008 Video Games - The Playful Medium 13 http://kendlesworld.com/wp-content/gallery/general/lanparty4bg.jpg
  14. 14. TREND: PLAYING TOGETHER ONLINE 05.02.2009  > 70% of next-gen console gamers play online NPD Study, October 2007 (http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/video-gaming-trends-presentation )  10 million WoW subscriptions in 2008 Video Games - The Playful Medium 14 http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/5115/wowscrnshot010607225314uc6.jpg
  15. 15. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 15 http://www.ibiblio.org/GameBytes/issue20/misc/stunts1.gif
  16. 16. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 16 http://www.pc-universe.de/img/articles/3821/Trackmania-Nations-5.jpg
  17. 17. TREND: USER GENERATED CONTENT 05.02.2009  Users contribute:  Maps, Models, Levels, Items, Stories Video Games - The Playful Medium http://cache.kotaku.com/assets/resources/2007/04/garrys_mod_mario.jpg http://www.alwaysbeta.com/wp-content/uploads/smcbride/tmaina_secrettechtrack.jpg 17
  18. 18. TREND: USER GENERATED GAMES 05.02.2009  Classic: Mods  Now commercialized: Spore, Little Big Planet Video Games - The Playful Medium 18 http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/video-gaming-trends-presentation
  19. 19. TREND: MAINSTREAM MARKET 05.02.2009  Consoles as entertainment hubs Video Games - The Playful Medium  Myth: Gaming for kids / not a big deal:  Gaming bigger than DVD / movies / books / music  A $34 billion industry Wired, 2008 | GamesIndustry, 2008  Video game ad-revenue aiming to become billion dollar market in 2010 eMarketer, April 2007 / Advertising Age Fact Pack, 2008 45 | 57  Online distribution (steam)  Pay-Per-X http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/video-gaming-trends-presentation 19
  20. 20. TREND: MOVIES & GAMES 05.02.2009  Tightly intervened  Exchange franchises & techniques Video Games - The Playful Medium  Creative drive towards games 20 http://content.mahalo.com/images/9/9e/Piano.2.jpg http://www.sessiocontinua.com/uploaded_images/nosferatu-797699.gif
  21. 21. GAMES THE NEW LIVELY ART 05.02.2009  “Games represent a new lively art, one as appropriate for the digital age as those earlier media were for the machine age. They open up new aesthetic experiences Video Games - The Playful Medium and transform the computer screen into a realm of experimentation and innovation that is broadly accessible. And games have been embraced by a public that has otherwise been unimpressed by much of what passes for digital art. Much as the salon arts of the 1920s seemed sterile alongside the vitality and inventiveness of popular culture, contemporary efforts to create interactive narrative through modernist hypertext or avant-garde installation art seem lifeless and pretentious alongside the creativity and exploration, the sense of fun and wonder, that game designers bring to their craft.” Jeffrey Goldstein 2005 21
  22. 22. GENERATION GAME 05.02.2009  is generation game next? Video Games - The Playful Medium 22
  23. 23. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 23 http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/video-gaming-trends-presentation, slide 4
  24. 24. DIGITAL NATIVES 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 24 http://www.slideshare.net/guest003dda/megatrends-in-video-gaming, 3
  25. 25. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 25 http://www.slideshare.net/guest003dda/megatrends-in-video-gaming
  26. 26. DIGITAL DIVIDE 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 26 http://www.slideshare.net/guest003dda/megatrends-in-video-gaming
  27. 27. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 27 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/32/Tic_tac_toe.svg/522px-Tic_tac_toe.svg.png
  28. 28. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 28 http://onemansblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/Space_Invaders.jpg
  29. 29. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 29 http://www.atributosurbanos.es/images/fotos/sim-city1_large.jpg
  30. 30. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 30 http://img265.imageshack.us/img265/1969/gw209xc4.jpg
  31. 31. PLAYFUL LEARNING 05.02.2009  Games grew more complex Video Games - The Playful Medium  Why?: Because the BRAIN demands it… Glenn Wiebe 2008 31 http://blog.craftzine.com/BrainBunny.jpg
  32. 32. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 32 http://www.slideshare.net/glennw98/video-games-for-ties-2008-presentation
  33. 33. BRAIN: PATTERN RECOGNIZER 05.02.2009  More complex in games (rules, behaviors, social) Video Games - The Playful Medium 33 http://www.slideshare.net/glennw98/video-games-for-ties-2008-presentation
  34. 34. THE BRAIN & THE WORLD 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium Can I eat it? Can it eat me? Can I have sex with it? 34
  35. 35. SIGN INTERPRETATION 05.02.2009  Brain loves to find patterns…  …works best, when emotional chemicals increase Video Games - The Playful Medium  …wants to collaborate http://www.slideshare.net/glennw98/video-games-for-ties-2008-presentation  Games serve all this!  Patterns / Game Mechanics  Emotions / Story, Immersion, motivation  Collaboration / Multiplayer  They are good for learning…  AND highly semiotic! 35
  36. 36. SEMIOTIC? 05.02.2009  Chess is the man-made counterpart of the natural processes of language. Ferdinand de Saussure 1916 (CGL)  both dynamic, rule-based (conventional), positional strategies Video Games - The Playful Medium  „Thinking always proceeds in the form of a dialogue - a dialogue between different phases of the ego - so that, being dialogical, it is essentially composed of signs, as its Matter, in the sense in which a game of chess has the chessmen for its matter.“ Peirce 1967, MS 298, 1905, Phaneroscopy  Language Games: Games are conceptually prior to symbolic codes  “[Y]ou can learn that the word has meaning by the particular use we make of it. We are like people who think that pieces of wood shaped more or less like chessmen or draughtstones standing on a chessboard constitute a game even if nothing has been said as to how they are to be used.” Wittgenstein, 2000–, 147, 39v 36 All via Pietarinen 2007
  37. 37. WHAT„S UP WITH ALL THE CHESS? 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium  Video games can do more than that… 37 http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f162/queenofsimtopia/Harper%20Week%201/h12.jpg
  38. 38. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 38
  39. 39. SEMIOTIC DOMAIN 05.02.2009  …the entire vat of knowledge that we must have to read a particular piece of literature… Video Games - The Playful Medium  almost all literature is multimodal  requires bigger semiotic domain than we think  "When people learn to play video games, they are learning a new literacy.“  Learning to think of semiotic domains as design spaces that manipulate us in certain ways and that we can manipulate in certain ways.  Think UGC! Paul James Gee 2007 39
  40. 40. VIDEO GAMES: ALL SIGNS & SYMBOLS 05.02.2009  Computer games function as human sign and symbol systems Video Games - The Playful Medium  share a finite set of semiotic patterns and processes with literature  All signs and symbols within computer games are ultimately interpreted as icons  valued and given meaning only within the system of the game itself David Myers 2004 literature language play 40
  41. 41. VIDEO GAMES: ALL SIGNS & SYMBOLS 05.02.2009  „Whatever might be strange or mysterious concerning a sign or symbol is systematically Video Games - The Playful Medium removed and replaced with the immediate sensation of the sign itself and the accompanying ability to value and understand that sign during play.“  more intense than literature  „This immersive experience of the semiotic self is no doubt part of the addictive-like appeal of computer games.“ David Myers 2004 41
  42. 42. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 42
  43. 43. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 43 www.robbiecooper.org
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  46. 46. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 46 http://www.robbiecooper.org/
  47. 47. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 47 http://www.robbiecooper.org/
  48. 48. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 48 http://www.robbiecooper.org/
  49. 49. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 49 http://www.robbiecooper.org/
  50. 50. VIDEO GAMES: THE MEDIUM 05.02.2009  Games allow to escape reality  only possible with signs & media Video Games - The Playful Medium  Draws us in on many channels  redirecting our senses  If any medium is an extension of ourselves (cf. Mc Luhan) then games are our extensions to next reality worlds. 50
  51. 51. GAMES ARE SEMIOTIC IN THAT… 05.02.2009  … they are played with consensual rules  … they create semiotic domains Video Games - The Playful Medium  … they contain signs & symbols / icons  … and sign users (programmer / player / AI / other players)  … gamers use (game) specific language  … players can CHEAT (Umberto Eco: Lie)  … they build models of reality  … they are at the core of communication 51
  52. 52. SEMIOTIC GAMES 05.02.2009  lifeSigns Video Games - The Playful Medium 52 http://iconica.org/lifesigns
  53. 53. SEMIOTIC GAMES 05.02.2009  Eco-System of signs & symbols (iconic) Video Games - The Playful Medium  Manipulated by multiplayer & evolving http://iconica.org/lifesigns 53
  54. 54. 05.02.2009 Video Games - The Playful Medium 54 QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
  55. 55. SOURCES 05.02.2009  http://www.robbiecooper.org/  http://iconica.org/lifesigns/  http://icrontic.com/forum/blog.php?b=66 Video Games - The Playful Medium  http://nm4209.wikispaces.com/Do+you+think+video+games+are+a+waste+of+time  http://www.slideshare.net/HeyWayne/the-generation-game-presentation  http://www.slideshare.net/AdvertisingPawn/video-gaming-trends-presentation  http://www.slideshare.net/glennw98/video-games-online-simulations-having-fun-is- a-good-thing  http://www.slideshare.net/glennw98/video-games-for-ties-2008-presentation  http://www.slideshare.net/Alan_Hook/sequential-images-presentation  Jenkins, Henry (2005): "Games, the New Lively Art," in Jeffrey Goldstein (ed.) Handbook for Video Game Studies (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005) http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/GamesNewLively.html  Myers, David, (2004): The Anti-Poetic: Interactivity, Immersion, and Other Semiotic Functions of Digital Play, Loyola University New Orleans. http://www.cosignconference.org/downloads/papers/proceedings_cosign_2004.pdf  Pietarinen, Ahti-Veikko J. (2008): "An Invitation to Language and Games", in A.-V. Pietarinen (ed.), Game Theory and Linguistic Meaning, Oxford: Elsevier Science, 1-15. http://www.helsinki.fi/~pietarin/publications/publications.html 55

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