Bodies, rhythms and digital games
by Dan Dixon
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This talk will cover Henri Lefebrve's rhythmanalysis technique and discuss how it may be applied to digital, non-digital and pervasive games. As well as his methodology, his work on bodies, gestures, ...
This talk will cover Henri Lefebrve's rhythmanalysis technique and discuss how it may be applied to digital, non-digital and pervasive games. As well as his methodology, his work on bodies, gestures, traffic, exchanges and daily rhythms all bring insights to the practice of game playing.
Rhythmanalysis, in its original formulation, can be used to describe the way games fit into society and the larger patterns of how play fits into everyday life. It is also well suited to explore the lower level detail of gameplay itself in a physical and embodied manner. Because of this it gives a tool that can describe gaming from the second to second button-mashing dance of gameplay, though game structures, to play sessions and ultimately how games fit into the wider, cultural and societal cycles of our lives.
Many discussions of gaming describe it as a break in the everyday or an escape into an alternate world of fantasy and the virtual spaces of digital games make this separation appear more stark. However the fundamentally physical, repetitive and rhythmic characteristics of games are intrinsically a reflection of their quotidian nature. Exploring the interactive eurhythmia that games create through the specific linear and cyclic rhythms of gameplay opens up these cybernetic texts to a physical and embodied analysis. It provides a way to understand certain game patterns in ways that narrative and ludological approaches cannot.