Hoorcollege 5 Games en/als Participatie

René Glas r.glas@uu.nl

Thema’s vandaag:
Games en participatie Games als participatie Participatiecultuur

Games als participatory media (Raessens, 2005) 1. Interpretatie 2. Reconfiguratie 3. Constructie

Cultural Studies perspectief breekt met: • • Hoge versus lage kunst/cultuur. Passief publiek, publiek als slachtoffer (Horkheimer & Adorno, “culture industry”)

Cultural texts (films, boeken, games, etc.) staan open voor interpretatie door verschillende groepen “lezers”, en vanuit verschillende sociale/culturele contexten. Hall (1980) – “Encoding/decoding”

Dominant/Preferred reading (“harmless dream woman”) Negotiated reading (“postfeminist icon”) Oppositional reading (“female enemy number one”)

Revealing Political Ideologies

“Computer programs, like all texts, will always be ideological constructions [...] Learning and winning *…+ a computer game is a process of demystification. The player molds his or her strategy through trial-and-error experimentation to see ‘what works’ – which actions are rewarded and which are punished” (Friedman, 1995)

Simulation resignation • Overgave aan de verleiding Simulation denial • Weigering Simulation understanding • Achterliggende regels en structuren begrijpen en deconstrueren -> macht! (Turkle, 1996)

“Understanding the assumptions that underlie simulation is a key element of political power” (Turkle, 1996) “To play [a] game means to play the code of the game. To win means to know the system. And thus to interpret a game means to interpret its algorithm” (Galloway, 2006)

Representation vs. Simulation

(Frasca, 2001)

Serious Games

Interactivity? “industrial rhetoric” “ideological term, projecting an unfocused fantasy” (Aarseth, 1997)

“Procedural rhetoric” (Bogost, 2007) Overtuiging/boodschap zit niet (alleen) in de representatie- maar ook in de simulatiekant van een spel, en komt naar voren door spel.

“In fact, these games often force players to reconfigure a particular set of actions in the way a designer has thought them, explicitly abolishing many possible instances of player creation and appropriation. The designer, in this case, plays the player.”

Against procedurality an army of players stand and play, breaking the rules, misunderstanding the processes, appropriating the spaces of play and taking them somewhere else, where not even the designer can reach. Against proceduralism is a player who wants to play. (Against Procedurality, Sicart, 2011)

Games als participatory media (Raessens, 2005) 1. Interpretatie 2. Reconfiguratie 3. Constructie

Games als participatory media (Raessens, 2005) 1. Interpretatie 2. Reconfiguratie 3. Constructie

Reconfiguratie - Exploratie - Configuratie

Constructie - Modificatie - Creatie Participatiecultuur


Context: Fan Culture (Jenkins, 1992)
Mixture of “emotional proximity and critical distance”. Sharing critical and interpretative practices. Consumer activism. Particular forms of cultural production, aesthetic traditions and practices. - Alternative social community (subculture)

Context: Participatory Culture
- New tools and technologies enable consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content - A range of subcultures promote Do-It-Yourself (DIY) media production, a discourse that shapes how consumers have deployed those technologies - Economic trends favoring the horizontally integrated media conglomerates encourage the flow of images, ideas, and narratives across multiple media channels and demand more active modes of spectatorship.
(Jenkins, Interactive Audiences, 2003).

Vormen van participatiecultuur

Nieuwe gebruikspatronen - (vb. sociale etiquette, taal, etc.) Subculturele verschijnselen - (vb. blogs, walkthroughs, fan fiction, etc.) Creatieve productie via games - (vb. machinima, item creators, etc.) Creatie nieuwe games/game-toepassingen - (vb. mods, editors, hardware modding, etc.)

Context: Convergence Culture (Jenkins, 2006) - Convergence is both a top-down corporate-driven process and a bottom-up consumer driven process. - De wortels van participatiecultuur liggen in “grassroots counterculture”, nu is ze ingebed in/verwoven met “corporately owned control spheres”. (Jenkins, 2006)

Schäfer, 2011

Implicit participation Explicit participation

Veel voorkomende misverstanden (Schäfer, 2011):
• Thinking social progress is inherent to user participation; • Assuming that participation is only explicit, community-based and primarily intrinsically motivated; • Neglecting the fact that participating in cultural production does not mean participating in power structures or benefiting from generated revenues; • Neglecting how media practices in user participation are implemented into software design.

Games als participatory media (Raessens, 2005) 1. Interpretatie 2. Reconfiguratie 3. Constructie

“MMOGs require every player to be engaged in community. *…+ While we can identify the hardcore, who go and make the websites that surround the game and produce much of the material that is useful to playing, we can also identify that every single member of the MMOG ‘audience’ is productive of material that can be used by other players and the publisher” (Humphreys, 2005)

“It’s not just a bullet point for the back of the box: I really view the Blizzard community for each specific game to be a huge feature that adds value to the product. So it’s important for us to nurture that community and ensure it has a long lifespan” (Frank Pearce, VP Blizzard Entertainment)

Explicit participation   Implicit participation

Een spel als World of Warcraft wordt ontwikkeld met een ‘attempt to embed within it particular forms of use and, by extension, particular users’ (Taylor, 2006).

- Ongelimiteerde goederen (“The American Dream”) - Geen “game-over”, geen eind.

“World of Warcraft is evidence that we humans have finally succeeded in creating something that we can desire endlessly, have entirely, and never consume” (Rettberg, 2008)

Maar niettemin: voortdurende interpretatie, reconfiguratie en constructie van miljoenen spelers.

Games of Stake
“ongoing negotiations about the what, how, and why of a particular media object by its various stakeholders” “During such negotiations, stakeholders employ different tactics on various levels of interaction – technical, fictional, social, managerial, and so forth – in order to gain and/or keep control, agency and ownership.” (Glas, 2010)





“Control, agency and ownership over the game *…+ do not reside with either consumer or producer but, instead, are constantly shifting between various stakeholders” (Glas, 2010).

- It’s about time - Speedrunning - Walkthroughs als vorm van cheaten. - Twinking, or playing another game - Twinking guides - Een spel binnen een spel? Playing the Interface - Mods - Sociale surveillance?

Case study: Playing the Interface


Social Surveillance/Participatory Panopticon
(example: www.worldoflogs.com)

– Playing the interface – Theorycrafting – Agency/control over game mechanics?

Case Study: Machinima


Diary of a Camper
(The Rangers, 1996)


A very corny How-to Machinima Guide


The Beatles - Something


Tales of the Past III
(Martin Falch, 2007)


Exploration: The Movie
(Dopefish, 2005)


“This movie is no longer available due to a Blizzard request”

Hoorcollege 5 Games en/als Participatie
René Glas r.glas@uu.nl

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