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selectparks: Papers

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Paper: Avatars and the Invisible Omniscience

My Masters research project is officially complete and passed. If you're studying virtual worlds, surveillance, or art as proposition than grab yourselves a copy and go crazy (I know I did). Many thanks to the Selectparks team for their support and encouragement over the past few years - it's been a great trip, and a privilege to be associated with such fine minds. Thanks also to the 500+ gamers who took time to fill out my questionnaire and help focus attention where it was needed. You all rock.

I'll be posting links to the associated artworks soon.

Posted by christo on Monday, February 11 @ 04:08:24 CET ( )

archive: New Paper Submission: The Rendered Arena - Axel Stockburger

Axel Stockburger writes to tell us of his (just completed) PhD Thesis at the University of the Arts, London, that addresses issues of spatiality in video and computer games. One chapter is dedicated to the important role of sound in spatial representation. There is also a chapter about game art and issues of space in games.


Modalities of Space in Video and Computer Games

Axel Stockburger 2006

Download Thesis

Phd-Thesis Abstract

During the last 30 years computer and videogames have grown into a large entertainment industry of economical as well as cultural and social importance.

As a distinctive field of academic inquiry begins to evolve in the form of game studies, the majority of approaches can be identified as emerging either from a background of literary theory which motivates a concentration on narrative structures or from a dedicated focus on the rules in video and computer games. However, one of the most evident properties of those games is their shared participation in a variety of spatial illusions. Although most researchers share the view that issues related to mediated space are among the most significant factors characterising the new medium, as of yet, no coherent conceptual exploration of space and spatial representation in video and computer games has been undertaken.

Read on for more...

Posted by julian on Wednesday, April 25 @ 22:15:31 CEST ( )
permalink... read more | archive

theory: AcmiPark - A Case Study of a Virtual Public Place
AcmiPark - A Case Study of a Virtual Public Place by Helen Stuckey (Curator of Games Lab at ACMI) is available over at firstmonday. The paper outlines "issues surrounding the design and reception of the virtual world acmipark: an innovative artwork commissioned by the Australian Center of the Moving Image. And how they had to keep it 'nice' ".


Posted by rebecca on Wednesday, April 18 @ 00:00:00 CEST ( )
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theory: Psychoanalysing Horror Games
Game Career Guide
has a great piece that follows on from an earlier article that attempted to "illuminate the overlap survival horror games shared with psychoanalytic theorists."

From the article:

"The Resident Evil series conservatively positions a player as a defender of Lacanian "symbolic order," the psychological force constituting subjectivity (discussed further below). On the other hand, Silent Hill subverts our anticipation to occupy this position. If Resident Evil comfortably positions us as analyst, then Silent Hill mischievously collapses the distinction between analyst and analysand-undermining with it the surrounding symbolic order upon which such distinctions rely."

Via /.

Posted by julian on Wednesday, February 07 @ 02:41:39 CET ( )
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theory: The Third Place
While I've never been to South Korea, I've heard that the extremely popular MMO Lineage is often referred to as a 'third place' there, next to those other places of regular occupation, work and home. In the western-world however it is still uncommon to hear of MMOs as referred to as a place as all, in fact they aren't even a considered a location in themselves, despite being common sites of great public interest. Tasty Research (my first time there) posts a link to a paper called Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as “Third Places”, that directly situates MMOs as places in their own right.

The essay looks at the societal value MMOs hold and the wider roles they play in the context of everyday life, particularly in the production of diverse social outlooks otherwise innaccessible to us due to imposed social delimiters in the corporeal world.

While this is certainly true, anyone that's spent time playing any one of the great majority of MMOs will know that Class, in the traditional sense of social power derived from capital status, often manifests in game as a character's 'level', even so much as governing your freedom of movement and right of social access throughout the game world itself. Sure, this status isn't granted or inherited as it is in the corporeal social world, but it does makes the author's use of the term 'Leveler' - to describe third-places as a common plane for social interaction - a little ironic.

Nonetheless the paper offers some valuable research, much of which is derived from study done in the game they're talking about - as opposed to decidedly outside of it, something all too common amongst many videogame theorists today. Alot of the time what's considered videogame theory might actually be a branch of the increasingly popular 'Immaculate Research', a discipline where great insight is instantaneously transferred to the researcher by means of spiritual injection, perhaps from a great bearded academic living on divine tenure just behind the clouds.

For your interest, my take on MMO's as public places is here: Proxy Life and Public Space in the MMORPG.

Posted by julian on Wednesday, September 20 @ 17:28:02 CEST ( )
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theory: Visualising social diffusion patterns in games

Andrew Vande Moere's Information Aesthetics is an inspirational collection of data visualisation techniques (well worth a weekly visit). The image above stems from the 2003 paper Social diffusion patterns in three-dimensional virtual worlds. Beautiful stuff.

Posted by christo on Wednesday, June 21 @ 05:50:37 CEST ( )
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theory: From GunPlay to GunPorn
A techno-visual history of the first-person shooter

"In this paper, I intend to examine how a recent fist person shooter, Criterion's BLACK (2006) articulates these different components. By juxtaposing the game within the broader range of cultural artifacts, the aesthetical and phenomenological implications of the first person shooter will be discussed. Specifically, I will argue that the first-person shooter represents the last step in a long history of mediated gunplay, a history that begins with the emergence of the photographic medium in the 19th century. At the same time, I will try to explain how and why the first-person shooter emerged as a key genre of digital gaming, and why it holds such a prominent place in the menu of leisure activities that we all choose from."

By Matteo Bittanti

Download the full pdf
Download the video presentation

Via Videoludica

Posted by rebecca on Wednesday, June 21 @ 00:00:00 CEST ( )
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theory: Dr. Chris Chesher Papers Online
Dr. Chris Chesher is an Australian researcher whose research interests include
  • medium specificity: what makes computers distinctive as a media form? What are the social and cultural implications of media change?
  • conflicts and synergies in collaborative new media production work practices
  • computer games as an emerging set of cultural conventions, and how they are articulated into wider contexts than traditional games subcultures
Many of his papers are available online including
  • How to tell apart computer games and new media art
  • Console games and the glaze
Links to his work can be found here.

Posted by rebecca on Thursday, May 25 @ 02:26:41 CEST ( )
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theory: Cast-offs From The Golden Age

Cast-offs from the Golden Age is a multimedia artwork by Melanie Swalwell and Erik Loyer which allows you to explore the history of early digital games in New Zealand. It is published in Issue 3 of Vectors Journal, an electronic publication which proposes a thorough rethinking of the dynamic relationship of form to content in academic research, focusing on ways technology shapes , transforms and reconfigures social and cultural relations.

Play it at www.vectorsjournal.org and add your reflections to the database.

Posted by rebecca on Monday, May 22 @ 04:49:09 CEST ( )
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theory: Aminima special on Computer Games
We-make-money-not-art has a good description of Issue 16 of Animina magazine which focuses on computer games. Topics include 'game as critic as art', 'political games' and 'games as construction'. Interesting games and related artworks are also covered.


Aminima have informed us you can purchase single issues from their distributors, like the bookshop Laie.

Posted by rebecca on Tuesday, May 16 @ 03:14:05 CEST ( )
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theory: What is the relationship between games and the movies?
Helen Stuckey, curator of ACMI's Games Lab, has published a short essay introducing the history of machinima. The essay accompanies the exhibition 'Playing The Movies' which opens March 20. ACMI is located in Melbourne, Australia.

The essay, and info about the exhibition are available here.

Posted by rebecca on Sunday, March 19 @ 05:50:24 CET ( )
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theory: New issue of Neural.it out
The new issue of Neural.it looks to be well worthwhile the subscription with articles on Nullpointer (Tom Betts), Dangerous Games and Circuit Bending (amongst others).

Posted by rebecca on Monday, December 19 @ 02:24:02 CET ( )
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theory: Realism vs style

Interesting article on the aesthetics of video games. Should we be aiming for photorealism in graphics or more experimentation in visual styles?
Has a bunch of links to mods/games using different rendering styles.

Videogame Aesthetics : We're all gonna die

Posted by admin on Thursday, October 13 @ 21:29:41 CEST ( )
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theory: The Narrowing Experience of 'Experience' in Video Role-Playing Games
Warns against the long term impact of widespread gaming in countries such as America, which already over-prioritise the competitive values of capitalism.

Brian Cowlishaw

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 09:35:41 CEST ( )
permalink... read more | theory

theory: The Aesthetic Experience, Emotion and Artistic Virtual Environment
Discusses research which indicates a correlation between presence, the aesthetic experience, and emotional response, focussing on findings from a series of studies, two quantitative and two qualitative, that relate to the emotional content of the AVE, the emotional response of the participants, and how both are tied to aesthetic experience.

Dena Eber, Brian Betz, Gregory Little 2005

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 09:26:09 CEST ( )
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theory: Race, Sports Video Games and Becoming the Other
Discusses race in sports video games and argues that these virtual competitions replicate the ideologies and nature of 19th century minstrelsy. The resemblance to minstrelsy transcends the fact that the players competing are mostly white "cyber athletes" and unfolds in ideologies, images and power relations that create a high-tech form of blackface.

David J. Leonard, High Tech Blackface

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 09:21:18 CEST ( )
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theory: SCORE: Development of a Distributed, Object Oriented System
Describes experiences in designing and implementing a distributed system for real-time 3D-visualization by analysing a 3D virtual museum and highlighting the value of a hypermedia design model to this kind of application, as opposed to a model of spatial navigation.

Melster - Diaz - Groth. 2000

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 08:31:08 CEST ( )
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Outlines a case study identifying ways in which games software is particularly successful for 3D presentation of an emerging building design.

Richens - Trinder. 1999

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 08:26:37 CEST ( )
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theory: From First Person Shooter to Multi-User Knowledge Spaces
Identifies ways in which multi-user game engines such as Epic Megagames’ UNREAL engine are extremely useful tools for the design of knowledge spaces.

Mathias Fuchs and Sylvia Eckermann, Austria 2001

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 08:23:39 CEST ( )
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theory: POLYGON DESTINIES: The Production of Place in the Digital Role Playing Game
Illustrates how the production of place is integral to navigation and progression through a Digital Role-Playing Game, reading the work of phenomenologists Bergson, Casey, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Serres into a discussion of how a dematerialised sense of place is produced and operated. Also considers the Digital Role-Playing Game as a foundation for a critique of failings in digital simulation practice, positing it as working example of the ‘worldly transformation’ of mathematical ‘space’.

Julian Oliver, Selectparks, New Zealand/Australia 2000

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 08:06:49 CEST ( )
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theory: THE SIMILAR EYE: Proxy Life and Public Space in the MMORPG
Illustrates how and why we must begin to think of the MMORPG as a public space. More importantly it provides tools for thinking how this rich platform for human interaction is actually produced.

Julian Oliver, Selectparks, 2002 New Zealand/Australia

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 08:03:57 CEST ( )
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theory: Papers by Matt Barton
Matt Barton 2005

Hackers, Slackers, and Shackles: The Future of Free Software Game Development

The Videogame in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Gay Characters in Videogames

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 08:00:35 CEST ( )
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theory: DEVELOPERS IN EXILE: Why Independent Games Developers Need An Island
Takes the term independence to its maxim; re-potentialising the term 'Independent Game' so that it may include game development practices that are independent from the restrictive mass-market rationales of the industry itself.

Julian Oliver, Selectparks, New Zealand/Australia 2003

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 07:55:09 CEST ( )
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theory: The Significance of Character Generation and Customization in MMOGS
Discusses the increasingly significant role character customization plays in the experience of freedom in MMOGs.

Andrea Blundell, Selectparks, Australia, 2002

Posted by rebecca on Saturday, September 24 @ 07:47:26 CEST ( )
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theory: Other Players Conference
A fantastic selection of papers from the Center for Computer Games Research IT University of Copenhagen Other Players Conference, December 2004.


Posted by rebecca on Sunday, September 04 @ 07:36:18 CEST ( )
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theory: Cognition & Learning in Massively Multiplayer Online Games
A very well researched addition to the growing body of writing on this topic, Constance Steinkuehler makes a solid case from a healthy mix of ethnographic study, gameplay and a hell of a lot of reading.

One of the few papers that really captures the MMORPG as a richly conversant platform in which the user actively shapes the culture of their environment.

Posted by julian on Monday, August 08 @ 16:48:02 CEST ( )
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theory: SEX IN GAMES: Representing and Desiring the Virtual
Explores the increasing sophisticated representation of sex in games, exploring the notion that ‘bodies without flesh’ are achieving a representational or aesthetic status capable of evoking bodily intensities comparable to real-world encounters.

DR Gareth Schott, University of Hamilton, England/New Zealand, 2005

Posted by rebecca on Thursday, July 28 @ 11:18:40 CEST ( )
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theory: Gaming In Art
Traces the historical foundation of games in art.

Pippa Stalker, South Africa 2005

Posted by rebecca on Tuesday, June 14 @ 12:56:01 CEST ( )
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theory: I Lose Therefore I Think
A Search for Contemplation amid Wars of Push-Button Glare

Investigates a small group of computer games imbued with socio-political critique, putting forward perspectives and readings on design conventions and poetical observations in the game field.

Shuen-shing Lee, Chung Hsing University, Taiwan 2003

Posted by rebecca on Friday, June 03 @ 11:54:46 CEST ( )
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theory: A TOUCH OF MEDIEVAL: Narrative, Magic and Computer Technology in MMORPGs
Provides an in depth examination of the narrative structure of Massively Multiplayer Online Computer Role-Playing Games.

Eddo Stern, Isreal/United States 2000, 2002

Posted by rebecca on Friday, June 03 @ 11:51:39 CEST ( )
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find stuff

old articles
Friday, June 03
· The Aesthetics of Virtual Worlds
· Arcade Classics Spawn Art?
· Art Games and Breakout: New Media Meets the American Arcade
Thursday, June 02
· GAME STUDIES: The International Journal of Computer Game Studies
Tuesday, May 24
· De-territorializing Nature

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top 10 downloads
· 1: Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight
· 2: Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight
· 3: NES Emulators
· 4: Second Person Shooter (Windows Version)
· 5: 911 Survivor
· 6: Max Miptex
· 7: Super Kid Fighter
· 8: Cloud
· 9: Zoo
· 10: AcmiPark

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