Video Gaming (EL 250)

6 January 2006

What is Fun?

I've put together this 4 1/2 minute audio lecturette on Koster and fun. I hope it will help focus the discussion.

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Daily Update

I'm continuing to enjoy the portfolios as they come together. Next week, I home we'll have more activity on your blogs, rather than here.

I thought Evan's answer to my question about photorealism in videogames was worth bringing to the attention of the class, so I blogged it as today's discussion prompt.

When you answer a discussion question via a posting on your own blog, please leave a link on the course page so that your peers can find and respond to what you wrote (and so I'll notice you completed that work on time).

There are two ways you can leave a link.

Continue reading...

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Koster, Aarseth, Hayward & Wong

If I were to ask all of to read the biography of an important psychologist, a journalism major, a creative writing major, and a literature major would each approach the book differently and evaluate it on different criteria. A psych major might not have the experience interpreting stories, but would bring a set of criteria from the world of psychology, and would thus focus on the accuracy and insight of the content.

Let's see what we can come up with as we consider the points raised by a game developer and writer (Koster), a level designer and art geek * (Hayward), a scholar of cybetext (Aarseth), and a journalist who knows the indistry well (Wong). All come to consider games from a different perspective.

Evan's response to one of the Hayward discussion questions did an excellent job crystalizing an issue I hope we can discuss here.

Hayward notes that video game rendering engines have approached closer and closer to achieving photorealistic images. But in the real world, cubism and abstract art grew very popular just as photography matured as a medium. When Madden Football touts realistic player arm hair as a selling point, we have to ask ourselves -- as Hayward does -- just how important is photorealism in video games?

Hayward offers several alternatives, but ends up concluding that greater realism will achive the "lucid dream" quality that gamers seem to want.

The prompt was:

What's your take on the importance of photorealistic graphics in games? You all know that I'm a textual person, and I know some of you have those tendencies. Refer to specific points Hayward makes (quoting directly from his article) in order to support a point you want to make about the visual aesthetics of video games. (Aesthetics = that which makes something beautiful and/or good, as well as a branch of philosophy that explores the relationship between that which is beautiful and that which is good.)

Evan's response was:

Continue reading...

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Portfolio 1 (Final) 80pts

Include an essay that reflects on your accomplishments so far, and incorporates links to online material.

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J-Web: Misc Readings

Comprehension questions for recent readings.

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Wong, ''Life after the Video Game Crash''

Update (4 Jan, 3:20pm): At the moment, there seems to be a problem with, but here ar links to Google's caches of page 1 and page 2. (Images may not come up on those pages, but I blogged one of those images.)

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J-Web: A Theory of Fun 3

Administered through J-Web.

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