Spatial Experientiality in Journey

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In constructing an immersive experience for its players, Journey gives its in-game space a starring role. In the absence of text, voice acting, and general lack of traditional narrative exposition, players wishing to draw out the game’s story are to depend solely on the game’s spatial design. Journey starts with an unidentified protagonist in an unidentified land. A cut-scene brings a distant mountain into the players’ focus, marking the mountain as an end destination. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 15

Get Decked

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This month’s podcast is all about card games. We discuss everything from collectible card games (CCGs) like Magic the Gathering, to living card games (LCGs) like Android: Netrunner, to deckbuilding games like Ascension, and digital card games like Hearthstone. Why has this genre of game endured? What are the differences between the different business models? Which games have we been currently playing and which are the ones we had more time (and money) to play? Continue Reading

More Than Affordances

Limitations and the Systems They Create: A Review of Ian Bogost's Play Anything

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Throughout my time in Grad School, I have been intensely curious about the word play and increasingly disenchanted by the idea of game studies. If play and culture are inexorably intertwined then it seems to me that studying games does little, whereas studying play in things that are not games can give unique insight into culture itself. However, in order to really get at this concept one would have to embrace the work of Johan Huizinga in a way that is often overlooked, discarded, avoided, or reduced to absurdity – the magic circle. When I found out that Ian Bogost was writing a book specifically about this concept of play, I was excited to see what he had to say on the subject. To that end, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, & The Secret of Games may be one of the important books on the study of play I have found. Unfortunately, the book will most likely remain largely ignored because it is nearly impossible to pin down what the book exactly is. Continue Reading

Sonic Meditation

How sound design in Inside creates a mindful experience

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When I was younger, and I found myself feeling dizzy from too many thoughts swirling in my head, I’d sit on the stairs of our house and listen to the outside world bounce off the curved walls of our foyer – birds chirping, cars driving by, the stiff bones of our house settling – until inevitably, the noise fell to silence. I’d be sitting there alone again, until I’d hear something else and focus solely on that sound. It became a ritual. Continue Reading

A Union for Videogame Developers?

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The videogame industry is often criticised about its working conditions and has been accused of treating its developers poorly. According to the 2014 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), 32% believed that there is a negative perception of the game industry. When asked why, working conditions was the top response. Continue Reading

Virtual Bodies in Virtual Worlds

A phenomenology of play in video games

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s project in Phenomenology of Perception is to overcome what he calls the classical prejudices (1–93)—mostly, the belief in an objective world—by calling for a return to a proper description of phenomena. This can only be done by putting our unquestioned belief in an objective world aside. This leads to the discovery that the body, as an ambiguous and undetermined being, is our fundamental way of being in the world, and that all consciousness is perceptual. I will use this methodology to undergo a phenomenology of play, and describe the experience of playing a video game. Hopefully this will shed light on experiences of play considered marginal today. Continue Reading

An Announcement from the Editor-in-Chief

On Putting the Money where our Mouth is

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2016 marked another year of milestones, new directions, and growth for First Person Scholar. We published our 200th piece, celebrated our 4 year anniversary and our former EiC Emma Vossen made waves on the Canadian research front with her award winning work on FPS– not to mention all the wonderful authors we got to work with! We here at FPS are starting things off right in 2017 with the announcement of something the team has been working on for over a year. Continue Reading