Notgames Forum

General => Wanted! => : davide April 13, 2011, 11:15:26 AM

: if notgame, culture?
: davide April 13, 2011, 11:15:26 AM
help wanted.
not sure if i'm in on the right board.
used to think of fiction as central and fundamental to human culture.
having played "dear esther"-ish "games" recently, am starting to suspect "gaming" and fiction might be very closely related, or/and interlinked, without one being necessarily vital to the other(?). also, obscure french author chloe delaume doesn't stop referring in obscure ways to the power of narration, when ludic concepts hump language.
gaming protocols seem to exist in fiction in certain texts, be it in ludic interpretation or reading method (reader side), or poetic and language games (writer side).
a lot of games rely on a narrative, even most summary.
how similar are games and fiction?
how culturally significant are games and particularly (but not solely?) computer games?
what potential would they have for readers as opposed to gamers?
the very concrete point here is to "sell" the idea of adding computer games to our public library catalogue as literary documents rather than "just games" to management.
(there are specialised lending points for "just games" called ludotheques).
thanks to anyone who can help, provide insights or point me to an adequate information source.
bonjour et merci.

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: Michaël Samyn April 15, 2011, 12:37:07 AM
Hm. I have always had a problem with the concept of "fiction". It seems to assume an opposition with "fact". But in my experience, there is more truth in so-called fiction than anywhere else. Fiction opens windows that show us reality the way facts simply cannot.

This is how I feel fiction and video games may be related. As devices to explore concepts, to discover truths, to touch parts of reality that are not accessible through any other means. I don't think video games are necessarily narrative. But I also don't think that narration is the essential part of fiction. Narration, much like games, is just form, a way to structure/communicate content.

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: davide April 15, 2011, 10:59:07 AM
'kay (thanks for the answer).
so, being a bit simple and very un-l33t, i need to ask:
what would be the means to explore concepts etc. specific and exclusive to video games?
i'm thinking their interactiveness? the way they can blend text, image and sound with a great margin of freedom for their creators? The competitive incentive for the user?
(the thing is other media have these too to a certain extent)
How about their limitations? (price of development, acquisition and rights, difficulty of access and use?) and can/will they be surpassed in any way?

also: when you think of it, fact can hardly be opposed to fiction. in fact (ah-hah!), most facts have and need a little (or a lot of) fiction to them, be it solely in their interpretation.
not to mention some seriously messed up facts that need to be put into fiction to be tolerated.
this would be where narration kicks in, as a sort of protocol to get author/emitter and reader/receiver in synch...
would games have a similar function?

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: davide May 07, 2011, 11:20:41 AM
found answers in huizinga's homo ludens. recommending it.

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: ghostwheel May 07, 2011, 12:41:19 PM
Do you play any games? It's one thing to discuss it, it's another to experience it. Maybe you should play some games and come you your own conclusions on the matter. I have to admit, the academic lingo you you're flinging around sounds like gibberish to me. Are you trying to spur conversation?

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: davide May 07, 2011, 02:16:45 PM
i play computer games, mostly simple fps’ or tps’ and adventure/platform with the occasional point and click for relaxation (i have no shame in admitting i am a devconsole slut).
caught notgame syndrome pretty recently and since the whole function of fiction question has been plaguing me for a number of years, discovering a potentially new line of thought to explore about it was “a bit of” a revelation.
i suppose i should mention that practically no one i have (loosely) physical contact with has any interest in any of these domains, so this forum was a godsend, as I was genuinely (and possibly overenthusiastically) interested in exchanging points of view on the matter of games which are more than just games.
the huizinga, which i just finished, happens to have truly amazing notions on gaming, even if a little dated. i though i would share the reference.
also, the lingo is a happy mix of ocd and trying to brake down concepts to their fundamentals.

so i guess i am spurring. sorry. won’t happen again.

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: ghostwheel May 07, 2011, 06:01:44 PM
Gotcha. Sorry, I was rude. I spent 6 years in art school and consequently have developed an allergic reaction to academia and over-intellectualization. Michaël seems to be less interested in storytelling (though I can't speak for him, that is simply my impression). I might be a minority here in that I like computer games, but believe there is so much more that can be done with the technology involved. I also feel that over-analysing things accomplishes very little. I think discussion can be constructive but there's a point where you need to stop talking and start doing. Again, this is just me. Sorry If I came across badly.

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: Michaël Samyn May 09, 2011, 10:59:25 PM
Michaël seems to be less interested in storytelling (though I can't speak for him, that is simply my impression).

I feel very ambiguous about stories. In general, not only pertaining to games. I was recently very influenced in this thinking by Cécile Alduy's blog posts "Against Narrative" (, in which she identifies a growing trend of only accepting an event as real if it can be shared as a story. I have seen such attitudes influences lives (the obsessions with tweeting, blogging and Facebook are a good example). In her blog posts she advocates a re-appreciation of the sort of events and experiences that are not narrative, things that just happen or that just exist. I felt a lot of affinity between her words and our own desire at Tale of Tales of trying to create situations without forcing a story onto the player.

Ironically, perhaps, we're extremely interested in stories, especially ancient stories such as fairy tales and myths, and have used several in our work. We even named our company "Tale of Tales". But we're more interested in investigating an existing story, and playing with it, than actually telling it -or inventing a new one.

But this is by no means a recommendation for "proper use" of this medium. It's just our own preference, our own focus (which is continuously evolving anyway).

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: God at play August 04, 2011, 07:49:02 PM
what would be the means to explore concepts etc. specific and exclusive to video games?

This seems to be a question about the form. I've blogged about my take on what makes videogames distinct (, you might be interested in checking that out.

My conclusion was that formal distinctions in media are based on technology. And that if you want to explore a concept exclusive to videogames, you should explore something that you can't through other media.

So I think that could involve a number of things. Interactivity, as you mentioned, would be one. But that doesn't have to be the only one. The other could be procedurality - the calculating of some sort of simulation. In fact, in some ways, that is a more primal characteristic of computers, since the first one was used for calculating projectile trajectories. The most timely concept to explore would probably be interaction between people on the Internet.

In terms of content, I really like how Michaël describes the medium of videogames as a medium of being. If oral tradition gives you telling, and cinema gives you showing, videogames give you being. So content-wise, you could try to create an experience that gives you a sense of being.

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: Michaël Samyn August 05, 2011, 10:44:43 PM
If oral tradition gives you telling, and cinema gives you showing, videogames give you being.

Nice! :)

: Re: if notgame, culture?
: God at play August 10, 2011, 08:38:29 AM
I've been meaning to submit a tumblr image post of that. It will be up soon :)

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