Ludic Topology

Serres, Linear Time, and the Ethics of Game Design

Essay - Topological Time

Recently my research has taken a turn towards Michel Serres and his complex, topological conceptions of space and time. In “Topologies: Michel Serres and the Shapes of Thought,” Steven Connor lucidly describes Serres’ work across a range of subjects and texts. In a subsection entitled “Ethics and Topology” Connor offers the following summary: “The reason for preferring a vision of topological time to a system of linear time is because the latter is founded on and sustained by violence. Linear time is formed out of the monotonous rhythm of argument, contradiction and murder.” What follows is an extension of this criticism to linearity in video games, especially those titles that seek to criticize the very mechanics of linear gameplay, such as Far Cry 3. The overarching claim here is that video games are not violent for their content but for their very structure, for their portrayal of time as successive, and inherently progressive… Continue Reading