Author has Re-entered the Game

Against the Mutability of Videogames

Essay - Author has re-entered the Game

When writing about videogame aesthetics, there is no more contentious issue than the medium’s status as an artform. The arguments in favor are many, stressing commonalities between videogames and recognized artforms. Many arguments against games as art mirror objections that have always plagued mass art, from film and comics to novels—that their structure is too simple; that their subject matter is too base and populist; that they are produced for money and not for art’s sake Continue Reading

Allegorithmic Art

The Art of Making Games and the Game of Making Art

Essay - Allegorithmic Art

Are videogames art? The question has sparked heated debate in recent years, perhaps most notoriously in 2010, when film critic Roger Ebert published a piece in the Chicago Sun-Times stating quite brashly that “Video games can never be art.” Although Ebert later issued an apology, it seems that the gaming community has been fighting to prove him wrong ever since. Continue Reading

Procedural Diegesis

Treating the Game Engine as Co-Author

Essay - Procedural Diegesis

Let’s talk about narration and videogames. In this case, narration refers to a game’s story, as told by the writers and the game engine. When there is discord between narrators, the story suffers, and when there is harmony, the narrative is more persuasive. Let’s call this element of storytelling ‘procedural diegesis,’ knowing that it involves treating algorithmic and authorial processes as co-authors of a narrative. The procedural portion here highlights that we are interested in processes, systems of representation that unfold over time that are dictated by rules and/or conventions. By diegesis we mean to indicate the internal consistency of the narrative. Together, they represent a form of narrative criticism that cares very little for content but quite a lot about delivery. Like Ian Bogost’s procedural rhetoric, which has informed much of this article, this perspective enables one to critique representational processes, only this time we are looking for coherence between narrative processes. In that respect it is beneficial to think of each narrator (writer, physics engine, texture mapping, audio system, etc.) as a system… Continue Reading