Wednesday, June 29, 2005

There is a subject, I have wanted to adress for some time now. It's about how to use my computer (video) game analysis method. The problem is, I see a lot of students using it from layer one to layer seven without reflecting on how these layers are of interest to their essays/projects or not.

In Espens Aarseth's article Playing Research he points to this problem when saying: "Konzack’s method is probably best used as an open framework, where the analyst can choose any 2-4 of the seven layers to work with, and ignore the rest. Furthermore, layers should not be seen in isolation, but probably analysed together for best effect." (p. 2)

I could not agree more. In fact, rereading the paper Computer Game Criticism once again, I would like to amphasize the end part of the paper in which I'm saying: "Each of these layers may be analysed individually, and we might only analyse one or a few of these layers. However, the other layers still exist and influence the true nature of the computer game." (p. 99)

It is important for the game analyst to discuss which layers s/he would like to include and what layers are more or less excluded from the analysis. The question of why some layers are included while others are excluded is of course crucial to discuss openly. Otherwise the reader might become puzzled.

Keep in mind, it's ok for the analyst to admit s/he can't adress all issues and every angles of computer game analyses in one essay or project. By focusing on only a few layers s/he will be able to work in one direction towards the conclusion as the final outcome of the essay or project.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jesper Juul is referring to the N&L (narratologists vs. ludologists) debate or non-discussion, when saying: can’t take it anymore, and it may have been a lot of shadow boxing, but there are also really serious issues that we have had to take on, head on.

What we need to understand is that neither the narratologist nor the ludologist perspective is actually focusing on fiction. They are in fact discussing which structure comnputer games essentially are based upon, arguing whether or not it is a narrative structure or a ludic structure.

Being a moderate ludologist, I think the answer is very simple. Games are based on a ludic structure, but may couple this with a narrative structure as we see in quest-based interactive narratives like adventure games or action-adventure games.

We ought to first analyse the structure of any game as a ludic structure and if there is narrative, we ought to analyse the narrative structure as well. These two kinds of structures or not opposites and any attempt at trying to think of them as an essential dichotomy is a failiure.

We must as mentioned keep in mind that narrative is not the same as fiction. Fiction is often based upon a narrative structure. But fiction might likewise be based on a ludic structure as we find in many strategy games and lots of war games.

In conclusion: Any game has a ludic structure and some game has a narrative structure as well. Fiction may be based upon a narrative and/or ludic structure.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Being at the DIGRA conference in Vancouver, Canada (the one with the ice rhino). There has been a various of different speakers each with different and exciting views upon video games.

The somewhat old discussion of ludology vs. narratology, ludologists vs. narratologists came once again to attention. The question was however no longer who was right or wrong. But who should be commisioned to engrave the tombstone. Most of the talks on this issue were as unfruitful as they were polemic.

The best part up until now has been from where I'm standing, was Simon Niedenthal and his thoughts on lighting and shadow in videogames. Right so he won for best paper.

There are however lots and lots of interesting papers and I dont have the time to go into each and everyone.

Simple conclusion: Great conference!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yesterday, I went to see the new ofspring of our new education in videogames aka Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment. It looks really promising. Screenshots can be seen at