Massively Multiplayer Online Games as Utopian Spaces

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Guest Lecture, International Media Studies, University of Ulster, Coleraine, March 8, 2007

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Massively Multiplayer Online Games as Utopian Spaces

  1. 1. Massively Multiplayer Online Games as Utopian Spaces Julian Kücklich International Media Studies, University of Ulster March 8, 2007
  2. 2. Utopia and Virtuality
  3. 3. From Utopia to Dystopia
  4. 4. MMOGs: Utopia ...
  5. 5. ... Dystopia ...
  6. 6. ... oder Sign of the Times?
  7. 7. The Novel as a Model Textuality Narrativity Realism Dialogism
  8. 8. The Novel as a Model Textuality
  9. 9. The Novel as a Model Textuality Narrativity
  10. 10. The Death of the Author? „ For the traditional reader electronic writing offers little comfort; it will in fact confirm much of what the deconstructionists […] have been saying about the instability of the text and decreasing authority of the author“ Jay D. Bolter
  11. 11. The Novel as a Model „ [A]ccording to our definition Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is com-plete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude; [...] A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Aristotle Narrativity
  12. 12. The Novel as a Model Narrativity Aristotle „ [A]ccording to our definition Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is com-plete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude; [...] A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  13. 13. The Novel as a Model „ Narrative has something to do with timebounded-ness, and plot is the internal logic of the discourse of mortality“ Peter Brooks Narrativity
  14. 14. The Novel as a Model Espen Aarseth „ A cybertext is a machine for the production of a variety of expressions“ Espen Aarseth Narrativity Dialogism
  15. 15. The Novel as a Model Scutter, he cried thickly She has it, she got it, Wherever she put it The leg of the duck. Vidi aquam egre-dientem de templo a latere dextro. Alleluia Dialogism
  16. 16. The Novel as a Model Dialogism lol ME ME ME! it saves ur !@# we lived to fight another day!
  17. 17. The Novel as a Model „ When heteroglossia enters the novel it becomes subject to an artistic reworking. The social and historical voices populating language, all its words and all its forms, which provide language with its particular concrete conceptualizations, are organized in the novel into a structured stylistic system that expresses the differentiated socio-ideological position of the author amid the heteroglossia of his epoch.“ M. Bakhtin
  18. 18. The Novel as a Model it saves ur !@# we lived to fight another day! Dialogism Realism
  19. 19. The Novel as a Model „ Realistic-ness and realism are most certainly not the same thing“ A. Galloway Realism
  20. 20. The Novel as a Model Realism Lionel Trilling „ [The realist novel‘s] greatness and practical usefulness lay in its unremitting work of involving the reader himself in the moral life, inviting him to put his own motives under examination, suggest-ing that reality is not as his conventional edu-cation has led him to see it.“
  21. 21. The Novel as a Model Dystopie? Utopie? Textuality Narrativity Dialogism Realism
  22. 22. Utopia or Dystopia? we lived to fight another day! lol ME ME ME! Dialogism it saves ur !@# By pressing the ‚I accept‘ button, you accept the terms and con-ditions below
  23. 23. Utopia or Dystopia? „ But one new and interesting thing in this EULA [...] is the fact that you will be giving up your rights of ownership over anything that you build and leave in the world. Moreover if something goes wrong with the world, or if the powers that be decide to change some part of the code, and as a result you lose something important to you, you have no right to expect compensation. [...]“ E. Castronova
  24. 24. Utopia or Dystopia? 39,99
  25. 25. Utopia or Dystopia? 39,99 „ Player activity is productive in a number of ways. The basic ergodic nature of the game text requires player input in order to advance the game. In emergent games like EverQuest this can be a creative process which leads to unexpected or unpredictable results [...]. Players are also a source of feedback and suggestions; act as quasi bug-testers; are active on game bulletin boards. […] Finally there are the social and community investment of players that build important structural features such as the social networks found in guilds, and the long-term friendships and team-like relationships that lead to player retention in the game “ (Sal Humphries)
  26. 26. Utopia or Dystopia? „ There‘s no way to measure the reasonableness of virtual world design decisions [...]. Artists do what artists do.“ Richard Bartle „ The nature of virtual spaces is such that there must [...] be a higher power or administrator. [...] By declaring that avatars have rights, we‘re abrogating that administrator‘s right to personal property.“ Raph Koster
  27. 27. Utopia or Dystopia? I don‘t want to surrender control. I hate the notion of rights for players.
  28. 28. Utopia or Dystopia? „ Game fictions are all about testing of ‚hypotheses‘, ‚options‘, and ‚imaginative alternatives, all about offering the ‚contents‘ and not the authored and fixed meaning of a single imaginative possibility“ (Barry Atkins)
  29. 29. [email_address]

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