Core and Shell of Games

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These slides accompany a lecture in Performance in Film and Videogames class at University of Calgary.

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  • on page 13, Mayra mentions 2 interesting points that help to situate games as a study and reasons or studying Game Culture
    Games are not only cluttering kids rooms and arcade parlours, they are conquering the living rooms. Wii is changing interior design, Why? Need room – becomes social.
    Field of science has also undergone change – even in science more acceptance is being given to the view that our perceptions of reality are socially and culturally produced, rather than independent and objective facts. Social construction theory says that our social existence affects what kind of meanings we are able to associate with phenomena. This attitude continues to gain popularity.
    THIS IS WHERE YOUR WALKTHROUGH INTRO OF ASSIGNMENT ONE IS SUPER VALUABLE BECAUSE IT HELPS ME GET THE PERFORMATIVE FEEL OF YOUR GAME.
    RITUAL – have added link to my dissertation – Potlatch of the West Coast First Nations.
  • on page 13, Mayra mentions 2 interesting points that help to situate games as a study and reasons or studying Game Culture
    Games are not only cluttering kids rooms and arcade parlours, they are conquering the living rooms. Wii is changing interior design, Why? Need room – becomes social.
    Field of science has also undergone change – even in science more acceptance is being given to the view that our perceptions of reality are socially and culturally produced, rather than independent and objective facts. Social construction theory says that our social existence affects what kind of meanings we are able to associate with phenomena. This attitude continues to gain popularity.
    THIS IS WHERE YOUR WALKTHROUGH INTRO OF ASSIGNMENT ONE IS SUPER VALUABLE BECAUSE IT HELPS ME GET THE PERFORMATIVE FEEL OF YOUR GAME.
    RITUAL – have added link to my dissertation – Potlatch of the West Coast First Nations.
  • Core and Shell of Games

    1. 1. Core and Shell Meanings in Games
    2. 2. Analysing Games Games and play carry meaning - even in their pre-cultural form (e.g. puppies and kittens playing). In this sense, culture means ‘system of beliefs, values, customs, behaviours and artefacts’ that are shared by certain people and transmitted through learning. “DIALECTIC” in philosophy is “a method of examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find the truth.”
    3. 3. Huizinga and the Magic Circle Philosopher Johan Huizinga has argued that key cultural characteristics of games include that games are:  free and voluntary  separate from everyday reality  created and maintained by communities of players. This separation (known as the ‘magic circle’ of games) situates game activities within a world of their own. Chapter 2
    4. 4. The Core and the Shell There is a dual structure of games: the ‘core’ (gameplay) and ‘shell’ (symbolic representation) both need to be taken into account while analysing and understanding games. Gameplay can be understood as non-linguistic performance (eg. dance, music). The PHENOMENOLOGICAL ‘PERFORMANCE” of gameplay. (ie a Walkthrough). Focuses on “narrative” of the experience. The CORE. Yet, there are also signs and symbols in games, constructing meaning through semiotics and representation systems. The SHELL.
    5. 5. “PHENOMENOLOGICAL ‘PERFORMANCE” Phenomenology is primarily concerned with the systematic reflection on and study of the structures of consciousness and the phenomena that appear in acts of consciousness. This ontology (study of reality) can be clearly differentiated from the Cartesian method of analysis which sees the world as objects, sets of objects, and objects acting and reacting upon one another.
    6. 6. What is “Gameplay”? It is not the interface, not the graphics, it is what you do, focusing on narrative (or what your “character” does). Good gameplay arises when choices are non-obvious and play must explore different tactics. Gameplay embodies the rules of the game – easiest described as a first-person walkthrough.
    7. 7. The Dialectic of Core and Shell (A magic circle) Image credits: Frans Mäyrä Walkthrough as a “Phenomenological Performance”
    8. 8. Understanding the Core A Walkthrough as Phenomenological Performance Core gameplay is something that is born directly from the rule set of game. A walkthrough is your first-person account of how to complete a game or a level of a game  The phenomenon of what you see, hear, feel – Multimodality of: the words (literary text); sounds (aural text); actions and challenges/conflicts (physical text); environment (visual text).
    9. 9. Understanding the Shell Representation/ideology appears secondary to the core of game but emerges through critical thinking. The images, characters, storylines, sounds and music of games all contribute to the shell, or the representational layer of games. The shell is where games can be interpreted to “carry a message”, and many players love or hate, agree or disagree, with games on the basis of this shell. We can apply our Pressure Cooker of Semiotic Codes!
    10. 10. Understanding the Shell Representation/ideology appears secondary to the core of game but emerges through critical thinking. The images, characters, storylines, sounds and music of games all contribute to the shell, or the representational layer of games. The shell is where games can be interpreted to “carry a message”, and many players love or hate, agree or disagree, with games on the basis of this shell. We can apply our Pressure Cooker of Semiotic Codes!

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