Claus Pias: A Media Archaeology of Computer Games

Uploaded on

Presented as part of of J. Stenros, O. Sotamaa, B. Perron, S. Deterding & S. P. Walz: The Game Studies Language Exchange Program: Uncovering Hidden Gems of European Game and Play Research. …

Presented as part of of J. Stenros, O. Sotamaa, B. Perron, S. Deterding & S. P. Walz: The Game Studies Language Exchange Program: Uncovering Hidden Gems of European Game and Play Research. Peer-reviewed panel, DiGRA 2013, August 28, 2013, Atlanta, GA, USA.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. claus Piasa media archaeology of computer games Sebastian Deterding MAGIC Lab, Rochester Institute of Technology DiGRA 2013, Atlanta, August 28, 2013 c b
  • 2. 2 claus pias * 1967 Professor, media theory and history; director, Center for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University Lüneburg Dissertation at Bauhaus University Weimar under Joseph Vogl
  • 3. 3 michel foucault Archaeology of Knowledge marshall mcluhan Medium Theory friedrich kittler (War) media technologies as conditions of possibility for historical forms of knowing media history,made in germany
  • 4. an archaeology of cybernetics • Cybernetics/simulation/computation is the episteme of our age, computers are its media-technical condition of possibility • Information processing is the main object, output, boundary, starting point of knowing today • Information processing = cosm0s = thinking = meaning: a soul-less, body-less machine • As cybernetics waned as a philosophy in the 1970s, it became naturalised as CS • Cybernetics must ignore the analog and materiality 4
  • 5. an archaeology of cybernetics • McLuhan understood media as extensions of man • Cybernetics understands computers as »human- extended machines« (Licklider): flattens thinking/ acting, man/machine, mind/matter • Computer games exemplify the cybernetic conditions of possibility of knowing 5
  • 6. 6 2002 2011
  • 7. computer spiel welten • Why are computer games (the way they are)? • What are the historical (discursive, technical) conditions of possibility for computer games to emerge? • How do they in turn condition the forms of knowing possible in and with computer games? • 3 discursive fields and cases show the homology of computer games and cybernetics: action/SAGE, adventure/Internet, simulation/war games 7
  • 8. action Attentive time-critical selection of optimal actions 8
  • 9. action • Time-critical choice of predefined actions: Taylorist scientific management • Machine-tracking of human action in numbers: experimental psychology, WWI Army Mental Tests • Training and control of users: behaviorism • Real-time interaction with GUI invisibilizing rules: Computerisation of flight simulation training 9
  • 10. adventure Reasoned decision-critical choice of optimal routes 10 arpanet colossal cave
  • 11. adventure • World as mapping of node relations: relational databases • History as routing through and changing of nodes: graph theory as used in telephone routing algorithms • Decision-making as memory-less result of current node state 11
  • 12. simulation Patient configuration-critical choice of optimal possible set 12
  • 13. simulation • Numerical modelling of decision-making: mathematic game theory • Translation of reality into probability distributions: WWII operations research • Model-based exploration of possible futures: war games • Object-oriented programming: SIMULA 13
  • 14. why care?
  • 15. »You are all just replicating the cybernetic episteme of our age. What are your blind spots and limits of knowing?« historicizing proceduralism 15
  • 16. @dingstweets Cheers!