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  • The study of play pre-dates games, whose humanist theorists (notably Huizinga (1955) and Caillois (1961) offer ways of understanding the relationships between play and culture.


  • 1. Games Culture
    Emma Westecott
    Assistant Professor: Game Design, OCAD
  • 2. What is culture?
    There are many definitions of culture. Most of them directly or indirectly involve what people think, what they do, and the material products they produce. Games culture refers to the surrounding context of game-play itself.
  • 3. The broader picture
    Considering games as culture entails moving beyond the borders of the magic circle to consider how games interact with the contexts that lie outside the game itself.
    When we consider a game as a cultural representation, we are considering game as a cultural text, allowing for an interpretative reading of a game.
  • 4. Reflections and transformations
    All games reflect culture, reproducing aspects of a cultural context.
    Some games also transform culture, affecting genuine change.
    In addition to understanding that games can representand that they are representationswe can frame them as cultural representationsreflecting the meanings of the contexts of where they are produced and played.
  • 5. Conceptual debates
    Media Studies
    The effects of technology are socially determined
    Active audiences
    Centralised media
    New Media Studies
    The nature of society is technologically determined
    Interactive users
    Ubiquitous media
  • 6. Play Culture
    “Social life is endowed with supra-biological forms, in the shape of play, which enhance its value. It is through this playing that society expresses its interpretation of life and of the world. By this we do not mean that play turns into culture, rather that in its earliest phases culture has the play character, that it proceeds in the shape and the mood of play.”
    (Huizinga 1955: 46)
  • 7. Brian Sutton Smith’s 7 Rhetorics of Play
  • 8. Co-creative media & critical play
    The old rhetoric of opposition and cooptation assumed a world where consumers had little direct power to shape media content and where there were enormous barriers to entry into the marketplace, whereas the new digital environment expands their power to archive, annotate, appropriate, and re-circulate media products.
    Jenkins, H. 2003
  • 9. The Art Of The Game
    Where The Art Is Located?
    Not what games look like but what game flow offers, the art of the game is about the player, and provides a kinesthetic poetry of performance.
    What Type Of Art Are Games?
  • 10. The Art Of The Game
    The game experience results from the collision of game world; game rules and game play in a given moment in time. The palette that the game artist holds consists a toolbox that creates these multiple media moments that have the potential to emotionally resonate with a future player. The intent of this form of choreography is to create a synthesized player experience where the visuals, sound and interaction converge to immerse the player within the flow of an emotional moment.
  • 11. The Art Of The Game
    Tiffany Holmes has used the term “art game” to define an interactive work that ‘challenges cultural stereotypes, offers meaningful social or historical critique, or tells a story in a novel manner’ (Holmes, 2003).
  • 12. The Art Of The Game
    the lively arts
    digital games are coming out of the entertainment closet e.g. political, educational, social applications of form. the dance between technology and art spawns multitudes of new form e.g. locative experiences, convergent media, etc.
    applying the lens of art history e.g. effect of photography to liberate older forms from realism, what might drive digital game form to escape current aesthetic?
  • 13. modding - subverting the rules
    Waco Resurrection (2003) http://waco.c-level.cc/
  • 14. The Art Of The Game
    MODDING - subverting the rule
    Waco Resurrection (2003) http://waco.c-level.cc/
  • 15. The Art Of The Game
    MACHINIMA - recording the engine
    Dance Voldo Dance (2002) Chris Brandt http://www.bainst.com/madness/voldo.html
  • 16. The Art Of The Game
    with other intentions
  • 17. The Art Of The Game
    with other intentions
  • 18. The Player Character
    Engagement in games is manifest through the player’s representation of agency. Our main mechanism for engagement in game is through direct control of our player character, or representation of action in game. A player character acts out the movements of the player and marks her progression in game.
  • 19. The Player Character
  • 20. The Player Character
  • 21. The Player Character
  • 22. The Player Character
    World of Warcraft Horde
    GAME ACTOR : Lara Croft
    ICON :
  • 23. The Player Character1st Person Camera
    Mirror’s Edge
  • 24. The Player Character 3rd Person Camera
    Prince of Persia
  • 25. The Player Character
    “We tried not to give him [Snake] too much character because we want players to be able to take on his role. Snake isn’t like a movie star. He’s not someone you watch, he’s someone you can step into the shoes of. Playing Snake gives gamers the chance to be a hero.”
    (Kojima, 1998: 43)
  • 26. The Player Character as Puppet
    '... The fascination with puppets… reaches so far back into human history that it must be regarded as a response to a fundamental need or needs. It is, clearly, a projection of the obsession of human beings with their own image… More profoundly, it reveals a yearning to play god, to master life.' (Segel, 1995: 4)