The Game of Game of Thrones

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"The Game of Game of Thrones. The Transmedial World of A Song of Ice and Fire and Its Video Game Adaptations". Presentation at the Winter School "Transmedial Worlds in Convergent Media Culture", February 24-28, 2014, University of Tuebingen.

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The Game of Game of Thrones

  1. 1. THE GAME OF
 GAME OF THRONES The Transmedial World of A Song of Ice and Fire
 and its Video Game Adaptations Winter School Transmedial Worlds in Convergent Media Culture University of Tübingen, February 24-28, 2014! ! Felix Schröter, University of Hamburg! felix.schroeter@uni-hamburg.de
  2. 2. Overview • (Almost No) Theory • Looking For Games In All The Wrong Places • Three Case Studies In Five Minutes !2
  3. 3. (ALMOST NO) THEORY
  4. 4. Medium-Specificity Thesis “A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole. In the ideal form of transmedia storytelling, each medium does what it does best [...]” - Jenkins 2006, Convergence Culture, 95-96 !5
  5. 5. Medium-Specificity Thesis “While it is clear that stories can be passed between a novel and a movie and back, it is also clear that not everything passes equally well.” - Juul 2005, Half-Real, 48 !6
  6. 6. Medium-Specificity Thesis “We do not want to claim that some media forms are better at presenting worlds than other, though we believe that each media form has particular advantages.” - Klastrup/Tosca 2004,
 “Transmedial Worlds”, n. pag. !7
  7. 7. Medium-Specificity Thesis* Video games contribute to the representation of transmedial worlds in a medium-specific way, relying on their distinctive combination of narrative, ludic, and social features. !8
  8. 8. Limited Adaptability Thesis “Most often, transmedia stories are based not on individual characters or specific plots but rather complex fictional worlds which can sustain multiple interrelated characters and their stories.” - Jenkins 2007,
 “Transmedia Storytelling 101”, n. pag. !10
  9. 9. Limited Adaptability Thesis Mythos: the establishing conflicts and battles of the world Topos: setting (history and geography) Ethos: explicit and implicit ethics, world laws, characters' moral codex - Klastrup/Tosca 2004, 
 “Transmedial Worlds”, n. pag. !11
  10. 10. Limited Adaptability Thesis “However, the ultimate success of a transmedial cyberworld depends on how the designers are able to implement and expand on the mythos, topos and ethos of the ur-transmedial world.” - Klastrup/Tosca 2004,
 “Transmedial Worlds”, n. pag. !12
  11. 11. Limited Adaptability Thesis* Not every transmedial world lends itself to being instantiated in every medium. !13
  12. 12. (Almost No) Theory • Medium Specificity Thesis • Limited Adaptability Thesis If different media contribute to transmedial worlds in such a medium-specific way, that not every transmedial world is equally adaptable in every medium, then there must be some transmedial worlds that translate easily to video games while others do not. !15
  13. 13. (Almost No) Theory Some fictions lend themselves particularly well to an adaptation as a video game, namely those that feature a distinctive game logic. The novel-based transmedial world
 of George Martin’s
 A Song of Ice and Fire
 is such a world. !16
  14. 14. LOOKING FOR GAMES
 IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
  15. 15. What Is a Game? “A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.” - Salen/Zimmerman 2004, Rules of Play, 83 !18
  16. 16. Narrative and Game Logic “Such narratives reveal the arbitrariness of the particular choices made, and the possibility of making other combinations which would create alternative stories.” - Kinder 2002, "Hot Spots, Avatars,
 and Narrative Fields Forever”, 6 !19
  17. 17. Narrative and Game Logic “Die Figurengruppe eines Mehrfigurenspiels wird nicht […] aus den Merkmalen der Einzelfiguren konstituiert, sondern […] aus dem Spielziel, das unterschiedslos für die gesamte Figurengruppe gilt.” - Venus 2007,“Teamspirit”, 314 !20
  18. 18. Narrative and Game Logic “In contrast to most games, most narratives do not require algorithm-like behavior from their readers. However, narratives and games are similar in that the user, while proceeding through them, must uncover its underlying logic - its algorithm […] which the writer used to create the settings, the characters, and the events.” - Manovich 2001,
 The Language of New Media, 225 !21
  19. 19. !22
  20. 20. The Game of Game of Thrones “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” - Cersei Lannister, A Game of Thrones ! “The wars, the intrigues, the great bloody game, and me in the center of it.” - Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings !23
  21. 21. The Game of Game of Thrones “Too many strange faces, […] too many new players. The game changed while I lay rotting in my bed, and no one will tell me the rules.” - Tyrion Lannister, A Storm of Swords “I might have to remove her from the game sooner than I’d planned. Provided she does not remove herself first. […] In the game of thrones, even the humblest pieces can have wills of their own. Sometimes they refuse to make the moves you’ve planned for them.” - Littlefinger, A Feast For Crows !24
  22. 22. THREE CASE STUDIES
 IN FIVE MINUTES
  23. 23. Game of Thrones
 Cyanide/Atlus 2012 • action role-playing game • set in parallel to A Game of Thrones • gameplay alternating ‚chapter-based‘ between two protagonists • focus on real-time combat, cut-scenes, dialogue, character progression !26
  24. 24. Game of Thrones (Cyanide/Atlus 2012) !27
  25. 25. Game of Thrones (Cyanide/Atlus 2012) !28
  26. 26. Game of Thrones: Ascent
 Disruptor Beam 2013-2014 • online/Facebook game • spans 3 books (yet): A Game of Thrones –
 A Clash of Kings – A Storm of Swords • focus on ‚social features‘, progression, time investment !29
  27. 27. Game of Thrones: Ascent (Disruptor Beam 2013-2014) !30
  28. 28. Game of Thrones: Ascent (Disruptor Beam 2013-2014) !31
  29. 29. Game of Thrones: Ascent (Disruptor Beam 2013-2014) !32
  30. 30. Game of Thrones: Genesis
 Cyanide/Focus Home Entertainment 2011 • real-time strategy game • starts 700 years before A Game of Thrones, but also covers books 1-3 • single- and multiplayer mode • focus on resource management, underhand tactics, real-time combat !33
  31. 31. Game of Thrones: Genesis (Cyanide/Focus Home Entertainment 2011) !34
  32. 32. Game of Thrones: Genesis (Cyanide/Focus Home Entertainment 2011) !35
  33. 33. Game of Thrones: Genesis (Cyanide/Focus Home Entertainment 2011) !36
  34. 34. Three Case Studies in Five Minutes Mythos Topos Ethos Game Logic Game of Thrones *Action RPG Game of Thrones: Ascent *Online/Facebook !37 Game of Thrones: Genesis *RTS
  35. 35. Three Case Studies in Five Minutes Some fictions lend themselves particularly well to an adaptation as a video game, namely those that feature a distinctive game logic. The novel-based transmedial world
 of George Martin’s
 A Song of Ice and Fire
 is such a world. !38
  36. 36. Thank you! Felix Schröter felix.schroter@uni-hamburg.de felixjs www.felixschroeter.de

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