Category: Uncategorized

Oh goody…

Watching the Jane Pauly show on “videogame addiction” and, oh joy, they have David Walsh on. Guess what, he says that playing online is a new thing! I guess I was halucinating back in 1992 when Doom came out and I thought I was playing online… (and before anyone says it, I know Doom wasn’t the first game to have online multiplayer, but it was the first game I played online)

you say liminal, i say liminoid

So this is a post that I’m imagining only the smallest portion of the smallest portion will know what I’m talking about but here goes.
So I’m thinking about liminality and liminal vs. liminoid in videogames, specifically in Counter-Strike. So Turner would certainly say that playing videogames at a lan party was a liminoid phenomenon. However, what about the world of the game itself? Again, specifically in Counter-Strike, which is basically war, would that be a liminal space or a liminoid space? I am thinking that the world of the game is liminal, especially if we look at it from the perspective of the characters. If so, then playing Counter-Strike is a liminoid enactment of a liminal performance. Of course there is all that Turner’s social drama stuff as well. I wonder how that fits in?

Of possible interest

I ran across a paper that might be of interest to anyone out there talking about gamers and the kind of gamers taht attend LAN parties. Jeroen Jansz and Lonneke Martens have written a paper called Gaming at a LAN event: the social context of playing digital interactive games” (pdf file, google also has a cache of an html version)
It is a pretty basic paper where they gave a survey to some gamers, but it might come in handy some day, so I thought I would post an entry about it.

narratology vs. ludology

Once again the narratology has returned. Both those links have some interesting points. However, this whole debate, imho, like the violence debate, is misguided.

Why does it matter if videogames have narrative or not? What is the end goal of that? It seems to me that the end goal is to study the relationship between the player and the game and how that relationship comes about. If that is the end goal, then why does it matter if it is narrative or not? If taken in the larger context of ultimately finding out how we interact with these games, then it doesn’t really matter all that much what theories we use to get there, does it? As long as we get there, the road doesn’t matter all that much — within reason of course. I’m not saying the ends justify the means here, just that in academia we sometimes get so worked up about who people put on their works cited list that we froget to actually read the paper, so to speak.

I always say that I don’t study videogames, I study the players and their relationship to the games. I suppose there are those that do study just the game, but even then, we do all this bluster about “interactive” and “ergodic” and whatnot, so is it even possible to theorize about videogames without talking about the role of the player at all??

I am probably a ludologist but, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. What I’m calling for is a refocusing on what we are really studying. If we study videogames, we have to study the people playing them, don’t we? So then, if I think, Narratology is for losers (that is an April Fool’s joke in case you haven’t seen it), and you don’t, it doesn’t really matter because my opinion doesn’t stop you from doing your work.

I’m studying people. How about you?


I’m sitting here in a Starbucks (gag!) in San Antonio. The videogame panels down here at the PCA have all been uniformly excellent. Each of them have also featured a great sharing of ideas and chatting afterwards. It is great to see so much energy and excitement in the field.

Of course, the glamourous life of an academic requires that I stop reveling in the glory of my presentation and start grading my student’s work….

EA University!

Something odd has happened here at Indiana University. IU has been taken over by EA Sports. Yesterday while going to the library, I ran across the following:
a flier on a ploe
Then later, while going to class I saw tons more stickers. So today, I brought my camera and in the four blocks between my office and the library I found:

There were more stickers elsewhere on campus (including a staircase that had a sticker on nearly every step) which I had planned on photographing but it started to rain. Regardless, someone has been busy with their “viral marketing.”

After some research, I found a couple articles about EA’s presence here on campus. It turns out that there is a student here on campus who is getting paid to put on the events that the fliers are advertizing. Of course in neither article is the fact that either directly or indirectly due to this guys efforts the campus is being covered with stickers.

Sloppy journalism and environmental issues aside, it is is pretty interesting that EA sees college universities such a big market that they would have campus reps that were charged with organizing glorified product demos for them. It is important to note that not only is the campus covered with these stickers and fliers, but that these gaming events are taking place inside university buildings. I wonder if I wanted to have a Tupperware party in a dorm if I would be allowed. The way I see it, there are two possibilities, that the university knows that these EA sponsored events are occurring and don’t care, in which case we have yet another case of advertising invading the university setting, or the university just doesn’t know. I’m not sure which is worse.

Of course, this isn’t to imply that I want to shut the guy down. I find it incredibly facinating. I wish I could get paid to put on some LAN parties or something. This whole thing is just another sign of how big videogames really are. And more importantly, how big EA is.

Is this kind of thing going on at other schools as blatantly as it is here?