3. Driven by its suspicion of other media studies, the central
question of game studies has, to this point, been: “How are
videogames different?” That they are different from other
forms is without question -- but, again, neither is there any
doubt that novels are different from films. Amidst
understandable concern for the things that made
videogames unique, game studies tends to lump other
media together as “representational” or, more often,
“narrative” media such that the prospect of studying
narrative in games has seemed to threaten the loss of
medium specificity as well.
“A Too-Coherent World:
Game Studies and the Myth of Narrative Media”
Edward Wesp, Game Studies 14.2
5. It says something darkly profound that at this
moment in our nation, this time of strife, of
disagreement, of disparagement, of conflict, of
insanity and chaos, that the best-selling
interactive digital media product of the last
year was Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Just let
the words ‘infinite warfare’ roll around in your
head in this Trump filled era of hate and
Andy Phelps, January 31st, 2017
7. Procedural rhetoric affords a new and promising
way to make claims about how things work…video
games do not simply distract or entertain with
empty, meaningless content. Rather, video games
can make claims about the world.
But when they do so, they do it not with oral
speech, nor in writing, nor even with images.
Rather, video games make argument with
“The Rhetoric of Video Games”
Ian Bogost, 2008
8. In many genres, violence remains the default choice
And thus: violence goes unquestioned and unchallenged
16. Green’s idea to make a videogame about Joel came to him in
church, as he reflected on a harrowing evening a couple of
years earlier when Joel was dehydrated and diarrheal, unable
to drink anything without vomiting it back up, feverish,
howling, and inconsolable, no matter how Green tried to
soothe him. He had made a few games since then and had
been thinking about mechanics, the rules that govern how a
player interacts with and influences the action on the screen.
“There’s a process you develop as a parent to keep your child
from crying, and that night I couldn’t calm Joel,” Green says. “It
made me think, ‘This is like a game where the mechanics are
subverted and don’t work.’”
Jason Tanz, Playing for Time, Wired 2016
30. Russia to English Cultural Exchange Game
w/ Alla Kourova, Rudy McDaniel, and the
UCF Russian Club, 2015
31. …so let’s make some games!
Verbs are what distinguish games as a form of digital storytelling: they are a conversation, a narrative media that receives input and talks back.
Thus: who controls these conversations, and whose representations are forefronted, is important to the place games play in our narrative media ecosystem.
These games tend to advance hypermasculine norms, literally encouraging players to view the world down the barrel of a gun.
We in game studies have dismissed and critiqued the claim that playing video games leads to violence: this same moral panic accompanies the introduction of any new media.
HOWEVER we cannot simply dismiss the questions that accompany the rhetorical impact of these games: as Bogost observes, “video games can (and do) make claims about the world.”