Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Intermezzo: ON GAMES AND CUPCAKES

My lack of posting during the last two weeks was due to being busy finishing an article on media change for my Prague university. Thinking about what it is that transforms a technology into a medium, I discarded the idea of having a clear-cut categorial definition of any medium and media in general, because each medium gets to the point of being treated as medium following a different trajectory. Is there any abstraction abstract enough to cover all kinds of media we know, including videogames, theme parks and culinary media*?

Then I remembered that, at a party I'd gone to a couple of weeks ago, I had jokingly proposed studying cupcake as a medium. Surely, we could do that, if we projected the particular cupcake against the general cupcake-ness and found a meaning in the way it differs from other cupcakes - if we consumed it for or took from it more than just nutrition. It might be an "I-love-you" cupcake or an "I-love-strawberries" cupcake. It is a thought deeply rooted in the good old structuralism, but hey, I come from the university of Jakobson (pre-MIT) and Trubetzkoy, a place where de Saussure is the primer.
Is it then not the social acknowledgment of meaningfulness of difference, that establishes the medium? It works like that with language, which is a medium, too.
And that is what annoys many gamers about the "content-blind" criticism of videogames - the inability of treating games as individual works rather than the lump of medium as a whole. This en-masse criticism of "suspicious" media crippled the development of comics in the 1950's and is indicative of all power-based media criticism. It might be ridiculous to look for meanings in cupcakes, but in order to criticize them, I must get to the point where the nuances of taste and cupcake design are more than random patterns hitting the interface**.

I know this is far from gaming discourse. Next time I will be focusing on the dead (or hibernating?) genre of point and click adventures and the communities that keep it alive. Or at the reasons why interactive fiction failed to remain a major force. Or the origins of the discourse on game "addictiveness".

*Sadly, this term probably does not exist.
**Here, I am without any doubt influenced by Matt Weise's thesis on meaningfulness in videogames.

1 comment:

  1. WoW shares many wow gold of its features with previously launched games. Essentially, you battle with Cheapest wow gold monsters and traverse the countryside, by yourself or as a buy cheap wow gold team, find challenging tasks, and go on to higher Cheap Wow Gold levels as you gain skill and experience. In the course of your journey, you will be gaining new powers that are increased as your skill rating goes up. All the same, in terms of its features and quality, that is a ture stroy for this.WoW is far ahead of all other games of the genre the wow power leveling game undoubtedly is in a league of its own and cheapest wow gold playing it is another experience altogether.
    Even though WoW is a wow gold cheap rather complicated game, the controls and interface are done in buy warhammer gold such a way that you don't feel the complexity. A good feature of the game is that it buy wow items does not put off people with lengthy manuals. The instructions cannot be simpler and the pop up tips can help you start playing the game World Of Warcraft Gold immediately. If on the other hand, you need a detailed manual, the instructions are there for you to access. Buy wow gold in this site,good for you ,WoW Gold, BUY WOW GOLD.

    ReplyDelete