Gamer Theory 2.0

I like the way Gamer Theory is set up– the post-it note layout is less intimidating and the narrative doesn’t make me feel like I’m doing a reading for homework.  I also like that there is a commenting element, so I can see how others feel about the piece.  The piece is action based as Galloway argued games are. Each chapter has a story as well as an embedded lesson. Going through the narratives I feel I got a general feeling of each message:

Agony on the Cave discusses how “the game has got you.” It explores how addictive gaming can be and how it effects a gamer’s perception of what is real.  Allegory on The Sims follows the routine life of Benjamin and questions whether this game could be “a parody of everyday life in ‘consumer society’.”  This chapter explores “the fragmenting of the fragmented” through a Sim and a gamer’s relation to the “algorithm. ” American on Civilization III  considers the concept of time, starting over, and the relationship between the topical and topographic.  “The storyline dwells between the autonomy of the topical and the authority of the topographical, always lagging behind.” Which helps the gamer discover the development of Telesthesia.  Analog on Katamari Damacy further explores the relationship between the topical and topographical and brings in the element of the difference between analog and digital.  All of space is determined by “law.” “This is analog — a relation of continuous variation. Only it isn’t really. It is a digital game. The game converts the continuous movement of your thumbs on the sticks into a digital code.”  Atopia on Vice City  gaming becomes all “inclusive” because “the very possibility of utopia is foreclosed.”  In Battle on Rez, “targeting turns time and space from a disconcerting experience of flux into conditions of self awareness, where the world exists so the gamer might come into being, against it. Once an event yields a target, it becomes something subject to control. The analog yields to the digital.”  Boredom on State of Emergency argues “boredom is the meter of history.”  Boredom is the reason for surplus and “arises out of the absence of necessity.”  Complex on Deus Ex plays with the idea of multiple endings, how the gamer is able to “tip this balance” and what this means to a gaming theorist.   Conclusion on SimEarth states that “An ‘unfit’ game like SimEarth fails not because it bumps up against the reality principle of bare life, but quite the reverse. It fails the fantasy principle.”  Arguing that “gamespace is an end in itself.” It is not “history.”  Games are our “contemporaries,” a place where the present can be “felt” and the past “rethought.” In a sense from “this vantage point, the whole of cultural history can be rethought.”

I think the points that were raised through Gamer Theory really made me rethink gaming. Yes, I saw some games as representations of the present, but for the most part as representations of fantasy.  Gaming is a huge part of our society and I should definitely give it more weight as a source of influence on us.  I agree that it is a place to “rethink” aspects of our past and future lives, it is not merely for fun, but I would argue that there are some games that it is pure entertainment (tetris?). Gaming as a medium is a place to explore and divulge questions and understanding.

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