So, the inaugural post. This blog has been a long time coming, whether I knew it or not. So now that I’ve spent hours fiddling around with settings, creating a beautiful header, and organising links to some of my favourite places on the internet, I actually don’t have too much to say. I’m not going to plan too much how I approach this, but I do know that I primarily want to use it as a place for my thoughts that I can’t put elsewhere – my own voice of sorts.
Most importantly, I just handed in a thesis on videogames, and I’m eagerly awaiting the result. It was titled From above, from below: navigating the videogame, and I hope to make it available online to all who misguidedly wish to view it at a later date. As it is, I feel slightly indebted to Ben Abraham, who also recently finished a videogaming thesis and posted his abstract to whet our appetites for the full thing. It’s only fair, then, that I retaliate: below is the abstract of my thesis, for better, or for worse. I’m not sure when I get the result, but I do know that I have to make up my mind in the next two weeks as to whether I want to do Masters by Research or a PhD next year, which of course, requires a proposal to be worked on…
The study of videogames is still evolving. While many theorists have accurately described aspects of the medium, this thesis seeks to move the study of videogames away from previously formal approaches and towards a holistic method of engagement with the experience of playing videogames. Therefore, I propose that videogames are best conceptualised as navigable, spatial texts. This approach, based on Michel de Certeau’s concept of strategies and tactics, illuminates both the textual structure of videogames and the immediate experience of playing them. I also regard videogame space as paramount. My close analysis of Portal (Valve Corporation, 2007) demonstrates that a designer can choose to communicate rules and fiction, and attempt to influence the behaviour of players through strategies of space. Therefore, I aim to plot the relationship between designer and player through the power structures of the videogame, as conceived through this new lens.
Hopefully that hasn’t scared you off, and that one day I’ll post something here worth commenting on. If that miracle does come to pass, then please feel free to leave your thoughts. In other words: I like commenters. Do you like commenting?