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AnthropologyCon

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"Why Games" introduction

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AnthropologyCon

  1. 1. Why Games? AnthropologyCon 2017 Anastasia Salter Assistant Professor of Digital Media @anasalter anastasiasalter.net
  2. 2. I study narrative games & platforms…
  3. 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
  4. 4. 10 Best Reviewed Games of 2016, GameSkinny.com …but I am exhausted by AAA games.
  5. 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 prejudice. Andy Phelps, January 31st, 2017
  6. 6. AAA games reinforce and magnify social norms
  7. 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 processes. “The Rhetoric of Video Games” Ian Bogost, 2008
  8. 8. In many genres, violence remains the default choice And thus: violence goes unquestioned and unchallenged
  9. 9. games represent
  10. 10. games share
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. Dream Daddy Game Grumps
  13. 13. games argue
  14. 14. We Become What We Behold Nicky Case
  15. 15. Thank you! Anastasia Salter @anasalter
  16. 16. games teach
  17. 17. “Secret Societies of the Avant-garde” w/ Keri Watson, 2014
  18. 18. Russia to English Cultural Exchange Game w/ Alla Kourova, Rudy McDaniel, and the UCF Russian Club, 2015
  19. 19. …so let’s make some games! Anastasia Salter @anasalter anastasiasalter.net

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