- Einige Computerspiele (besonders aus der Science-Fiction) sollen durch ihre Eigenschaft der Darstellung einer alternativen Wirklichkeit als Interventionen gegen den Status Quo politischer Möglichkeiten in unserer Welt bezeichnet werden können. (S. 8)
- "The twofold question this book raises is whether videogames can offer means to create contradicting ideational spaces that direct our political imagination of life in common beyond the familiar, and what specific cases from Japan have to offer in this regard." (S. 24)
- Muroi Hisashi: aesthetic philosopher and culturaltheorist
- Adorno: Frankfurter Schule
- Status Quo: Roth macht deutlich, dass wir anscheinend in einer Zeit leben, in der alternative Weltvorstellungen nicht mehr so stark diskutiert werden und es daher schwerfällt, über mögliche Zukunftsvorstellungen auszutauschen. (S. 2)
- Intervention: Die Vorstellung, dass Kunst mediale und politische Netzwerke von innen heraus zu Umbrüchen anregen kann. (S. 5)
- Utopie: "imaginary enclave within real social space." (S. 10, nach Jameson)
- Vergegenständlichung nach Gadamer: Unkontrolliertes Spiel (Paidia) kann nur in seiner Form als Spiel ideal aufrecht erhalten werden.
1. Videogames and Alternative Imagination
- "Without an alternative vision of the world, we are unable to act toward change and improvement. The problem I pose in this book is whether videogames may offer spaces in which such visions are stimulated and can be experimented with. I will look at a series of videogames from Japan in order to verify my theoretical discussion." (S. 3)
- "However, I do believe that any medium or media environment offers distinct spaces of expression and experience, thereby triggering our imagination in a specific way and offering us a certain kind of experience with more likelihood than other media do." (S. 4)
- Inwiefern ist das keine Einzigartigkeit des Mediums?
- "In other words, neither the individual (all-encompassing, totalizing) opinion of the artist, nor the singular, original work with its “unique” materiality, stand out any more under “postmodern”
conditions." (S. 4)
- Dem widerspricht, dass es so etwas gibt wie Computerspielhighlights und -persönlichkeiten.
- "Against such decontextualized and thus depoliticized art, he [Muroi] demands that we rethink art in general by moving outside of its rigid, high-cultural territory. Post-art, he argues, is a kind of practice that shares with the traditional notion of avant-garde the aim of constantly challenging its limits and borders, while at the same time, moving outside of the “artistic” and aiming to create “expressions, that are open and welcoming to the outside” (soto ni hirakareta hyōgen o tsukuridasu). Most importantly, this practice needs to be embedded into the media network and its politics, disturbing it constantly from within, as a practice of “intervention” (“kanshō” no jissen)." (S. 5)
- "In this sense, it is far from self-evident which of the possible paths for art, after the end of the modern paradigm, videogames tread on: the depoliticized “postmodern,” or the more vaguely conceived, blurry “practice of intervention”." (S. 5)
- Ist diese Entscheidung wirklich nur binär?
- "While acknowledging the “disruptive and corrosive potential of play,” Kirkpatrick ultimately insists on the dominance of aesthetic experience and performance over “content” in games: “playing a game involves a kind of distantiation from its narrative components, or conventional interpretations of its symbolic contents. This distance is often open to ironic inflection, although it is rarely (if ever) critical.” (S. 5)
- "In contrast to this skeptical position, I aim to show that popular videogames are not only a “tool to think through” the status quo, but that they can open up spaces for thinking beyond it, although this does not mean that all videogames provide equal opportunities in this respect." (S. 6)
- "Jan-Noël Thon observes that while there may be cases where one person is identified as the
single author of a given film, comic, or video game (even though he or she will still commonly not actually be the only person who has contributed to the work in some way), the situation is usually
not as clear-cut, and some version of collective authorship—which, more often than not, is situated within and determined by complex and powerful institutionalized frameworks of cultural production—appears to be the default case." (S. 7)
- Die Idee, dass Kunst eine gemeinschaftliche Aufgabe ist, scheint etwas inhärentes für Computerspiele, Filme und Comics zu sein, allerdings nur für AAA-Spiele.
- Kurze Erklärung, dass japanische Spiele nicht klar definiert werden können
- Dennoch für Roth interessant, weil sie sein Interessengebiet streifen
Play and Utopia
- "However, even if we do not follow Huizinga in his entirety, the widely-shared definition of play as a space apart from the ordinary is strikingly similar to Jameson’s enclave." (S. 10)
- Utopien und Freies Spiel werden miteinander verglichen
- Galloway: "An argument can be made that all videogames are, at a certain level, utopian projects, simply because all videogames create worlds in which certain laws are simulated and certain other laws are no longer simulated. The freedom to selectively simulate, then, operates in a videogame as the most important scaffolding for utopia." (S. 11)
- Das ist eher die Beschreibung einer virtuellen Welt und nicht einer Utopie.
- "As Galloway remarks, “today, it would be entirely naive to believe that play retains its anti-capitalist or anti-work status.” Moreover, he revises his above-cited statement about the utopian status of videogames, pointing out that, “the very act of creating an immaterial utopian space […] inscribes a whole vocabulary of algorithmic coding into the plane of imagination that thereby undoes the play of utopia in the first place.”" (S. 12)
- Eine Sprache zu nutzen, führt dazu, dass man nicht mehr spielt? Ich bin verwirrt.
- "More drastically, Paul Virilio predicts that the future will be populated by the “the self-sufficient man who, with the help of technology, no longer needs to reach out to others because others come to him. […] The future lies in cosmic solitude.” He criticizes virtual play and videogames for replacing the stimuli of the imagination with mechanical instruments and repetition. In his view, the videogame player is “hurried by the machine.” In games, “travelers are traveled. Dreamers are dreamed. They are no longer free to move about, they are traveled by the program. They are no longer free to dream, they are dreamed by the program.”" (S. 13)
- Computerspiele können als Untersuchungsobjekt der politischen Philosophie aufgefasst werden, weil sich politische Philosophie auch mit den Dingen des Alltags beschäftigen sollte
- Sind Computerspiele dazu in der Lage, uns dabei zu helfen, unser Leben zu hinterfragen?
- Adorno: "Adorno, on the other hand, identifies the target of political art as our imagination that is stimulated by the unsolved conflict the patchwork confronts us with. He is interested not only in the tensions within a work and the otherness (conflict) they give birth to, but in their significance as confrontational moments with an audience used to easily access “mass art” in Carroll’s sense (see above). For the purpose of this book, I propose to adopt his standard. In other words, otherness is understood hereafter as unsettling internal conflicts that are potentially productive due to the challenges they pose to those experiencing them. Because they do not provide easy answers, such conflicts prompt the player to think for herself. As a result, they might be capable of challenging us to reflect on and rethink the foundations of our present life." (S. 19)
- Diese Stelle fand ich sehr stark.
Science Fiction and Other Selection Criteria
- Science-Fiction ist aufgrund seines Themas für utopische Vorstellungen relevant.
- "In addition to these admittedly vague limitations of scope, some important practical matters further determined the initial selection. Firstly, this research suggested playing the games as its central method. In an academic project, this implies documenting the playing experience as comprehensively as possible and, in my case, the method of choice in this regard was capturing the gameplay." (S. 22)
The Structure of This Book
- Kurze Beschreibung der Teile des Buches
2. Negotiating Ideational Videogame Space
- "Two worlds generated by playing the same game may diverge significantly. In terms of narratives, games like Chrono Trigger offer a great variety of endings depending on player choices, which, as I will discuss later, lead to very different situations and conclusions (see Chapter four)." (S. 36)
- "However, videogame space is not just an umbrella term for the sum of all choices the player has in a game. I argue that it is a space that emerges from a negotiation between three abstract actors, namely the “designers” responsible for designing and creating a videogame software,1 the players and the computer." (S. 36)
- "This third actor, the computer, actively contributes to the dynamic, contingent character of a given videogame world. Videogames are more than their program code. This code often does not specify a situation in detail, but provides a framework for it, not unlike a music score. The computer does not just reproduce it (by printing the code on the screen as text). As I will show,
it performs this code or score in a specific way, with a considerable amount of “interpretation,” ranging from “programmed randomness” to more or less intelligent decisions." (S. 36)
- Grundsätzlich problematisch, da ein Computerspiel genau definiert, was die Bandbreite der Möglichkeiten ist.
- "This space emerges from the ways in which videogames combine play, media and computation and, by extension, the various expressive elements and layers, like narrative, rules, video and audio, etc. It also emerges from the dynamic, contingent and repetitive character of the medium." (S. 37)
- Hier scheint eine unklare Auflistung vorzuliegen, die begrifflich geklärt werden müsste.
Rules, Narrative and Representation
- "The absence of any clear sense of hierarchy or order in this list already suggests that videogames are decisively difficult to make sense of in terms of analytic dimensions and layers." (S. 37)
- Ich denke, hier liegt ein Ansatzpunkt für eine Literaturwissenschaft
- "This discourse has been refined productively by many scholars, who have discussed the representational, simulative and narrative qualities of videogames. Ian Bogost, for example, emphasizes their rule-based, algorithmic structure, arguing that computers and videogames are “particularly adept at representing real or imagined systems that […] operate according to a set of processes.” For Bogost, this necessarily includes representations of culture, society and human
behavior. In other words, he is most interested in the simulative quality of the medium, or on its potential to represent “reality.”" (S. 37/38)
- "Narratological approaches have likewise contributed much to the understanding of what is going on in videogames. Since the early days of videogame research, the concept of story has been expanded significantly to
cater to the dynamic and contingent character of videogame narratives, and the plurality of narrative layers, from the story of the game to the story of the player—the latter not being limited to games in its application. In a nuanced discussion of existing approaches to “represented worlds of literary narrative texts,” Thon recently proposed a transmedia approach to “storyworlds,” which he defines as “normative abstractions about ideal mental representations based on narrative representations.” This implies, according to Thon, distinguishing between “the external medial representation of a storyworld, the internal mental representations of that storyworld, and the storyworld itself,” and taking into account “recipients’ collective mental dispositions, (medium- as well as genrespecific) communicative rules or representational conventions, and (hypothetical) authorial intentions” in any reconstruction of narrative meaning making. He draws attention to the difference between storyworld and possible worlds, and between “locally represented situations and the more complex global storyworld as a whole into which they are combined." (S. 38)
- Was ist eine Geschichtswelt?
Reification of Play
- Gadamer: "Human play, he claims, always plays “something,” meaning that it is necessarily structured by rules and orders, or, as he puts it, “the way the field of the game is filled.”" (S. 39)
- Regeln scheinen etwas zu ordnen, aber Regeln sind interpetationsbedürftig und demnach veränderbar, sodass sie nur bedingt dazu geeignet sind, etwas zu ordnen.
- Sind Naturgesetze Regeln?
- "This is another way of saying that in human conduct, ideal play can only exist in its reified form of a game, and must be consciously upheld by the players." (S. 40)
- Warum sollte das auf Spiele beschränkt sein?
- "In its reification, the temporary game world distances the action from the ordinary but never manages to detach it completely. This framing highlights a significant difference between “conventional” games and videogames. In videogames, rules are indispensable. In their space, “there is no ‘ball’ that can be out of bounds,” because the rules are authored by the designers in the program code. To be sure, there are numerous examples of rule changes or reinterpretation in the form of player agreements or norms established in a
player community. In other words, the social dimension of the ontological status of a videogame is not lost. However, with regards to the videogame space in which a broad range of elements conflict, the program code or software appears as the most fundamental, and, at the same time, least common denominator. This sum of rules and the space it affords diverts significantly from those of the game intended by the designers, or those agreed on or invented — in addition to the software — by the players." (S. 40)
- Es gibt keinen Ball, der außerhalb des Spielfelds liegt. Das ist so eine schöne Metapher für meine eigenen Vorstellungen.
- "As such, the ideational videogame space is different from what Thon calls “global storyworld” (see the previous section), because it contains not only the narrative possibilities and the rules of the storyworld, but also all rules related to configuration, like menus and aesthetic representation, like sprites, icons, object shapes and looks, etc. It is also different because, for the purpose if this book, it is limited to the space created by individual videogames and, as in my concluding chapter, across a videogame series. Finally, while I argue that it is accessed and can be experienced only at play, the space itself does not encompass the “mental representation” within the players, let alone the intersubjective constructions of this space by player communities." (S. 40/41)
- Hier liegt für mich ein fundamentaler Unterschied zu meiner Vorstellung von Spiel
- Ich gehe davon aus, dass Computerspiele erst zu Spielen werden, wenn sie als solche anerkannt werden. Vorher bleiben sie Programme, die für alles mögliche benutzt werden können. Little Big Planet, um Kunst zu produzieren.
- "Michael Liebe claims that while in traditional games, restrictive rules differentiate the game space from ordinary life, in a computer game everything is programmed, every possible action, every physical simulation, even the boundaries of the virtual space itself. […] Players do not have to adhere to the code of behavior and the rules, but simply have no other choice than to act within the frame of the possibilities provided by the computer program."
- Zentrale Basis für meine Vorstellung der Trennung von Regeln und Mechaniken.
- "On the other hand, rules may be learned in the process, a point that I will return to later. Within this totality of rules and data inscribed in the software, the player “does not have to artificially limit his action possibilities according to the rules in order to play correctly. Illegal actions cannot be performed or they are automatically penalized. The rule system does not have to be magically upheld by aware players. The rules are upheld by the program code.”" (S. 41)
- Weitere Ausprägungen derselben Idee.
- "Japanese critic Ōtsuka Eiji suggests an even more radical effect of this structure when he writes that “[t]he program is thus sometimes defined as ‘the regime of all thinkable [in the text, literally “can be memorized,” souki shiuru] possibilities within the closed world existing inside the game software’. Each play, on the other hand, corresponds to one of the many individual stories." (S. 42)
- "Overall, this status of the software rules in videogames is central to my interest in conflict and hospitality to otherness, because it implies that videogame rules serve to distance the videogame space from the everyday more decisively than “ordinary” play rules can." (S. 42)
- "However, the ideational space of a videogame cannot be reduced to its code without loss. Why not? The
software defines a videogame on an abstract level, not only with regards to its rules, but also with regards to the objects of the game world, their behavior and, in most cases, their appearance in the shape of included databases. Yet, these abstract definitions are different from the game worlds a player may encounters at play. Even in the unlikely event that we have access to the code of a game and enough knowledge to make sense of it, it would only reveal the structure of the game, and would tell us little about the space a specific player experiences at play. After all, concrete game worlds are dynamically generated by the computer, based on the output of programmed algorithms, the data provided as part of the software and the player’s input. As Bernhard Rieder and Theo Röhle remark, [s]ome of the approaches computer science provides us with are positively experimental, in the sense that the results they produce cannot be easily mapped back to the algorithms and the data they process. Many of the techniques issued, for example, from the field of machine learning show a capacity to produce outputs that are not only unanticipated but also very difficult for a human being to intellectually reconnect to the inputs. Despite being fully explicit, the method becomes opaque."
- Maschinelles Lernen und die Programmierung von Computerspielen sind nicht gleichzusetzen. RNG ist nicht ausreichend, um zu erklären, dass Computerspiele immer unterschiedlich sind.
- "Moreover, not only does software tell us little about the videogame worlds it affords, it usually also inscribes the possibility of multiple, sometimes strikingly different versions, all of which contribute to the same videogame space. While the rules remain the same, the videogame space may play out differently each time a player plays a videogame." (S. 43)
- "Slightly adjusted, then, I propose to capture the contingency of any specific videogame space by referring to its instances, as it appears to the player at play, with the term videogame world. This world is the concrete, physical instance of the game created in the computer memory a player experiences at play through its sensual representation." (S. 44)
Designers and Expression
- "He adds that “[o]n a formal level, games are themable, meaning that a set of rules can be assigned a new fictional world without modifying the rules. […]" (S. 46)
- Das ist meines Erachtens nach ein Merkmal für schlechtes Game Design.
- "What are the boundaries of such expression? Other than the necessity to remain intelligible (and thus winnable), videogame space is not limited to the physical environment in the same sense as conventional games are, because it is fictional, digital and virtual. In conventional games, the player is part of the physical spaces of the game. In videogames, he or she is physically positioned outside of these boundaries, connected to the game space only through remote control." (S. 48)
- Computerspiele haben viele Gemeinsamkeiten mit Pen & Paper
- "What are the boundaries of such expression? Other than the necessity to remain intelligible (and thus winnable), videogame space is not limited to the physical environment in the same sense as conventional games are, because it is fictional, digital and virtual. In conventional games, the player is part of the physical spaces of the game. In videogames, he or she is physically positioned outside of these boundaries, connected to the game space only through remote control." (S. 49)
- "With regards to the expressive features available to the designers, videogame spaces are distanced from “non-game reality” from the start. Whereas, for example, utopian narratives require a distancing mechanism, like an imaginative journey through space or time, whereby the reader is prepared for the otherness of what is to come, the creation of videogames is likely to reverse this process. Instead of offering explanations for the difference between the player’s space and the game world, many games introduce some familiarity based on our non-game empirical reality and on other games and conventions in order to become intelligible and playable." (S. 49)
- Das ist unklar, weil Utopien nicht unbedingt einen Distancing-Mechanismus benötigen oder aber auch Computerspiele das notwendig brauchen.
- "In sum, videogame designers can deploy expressive variety in a materially and semantically flexible way. Unbound by familiar physical and social laws, they determine the rules and dynamics of a game, as well as the range of variations of each element within it (i.e. possible player input, avatar actions, shapes and colors of trees, etc.). As the word “range” already suggests, this determination is often far from fixed. Videogames are not only expressive spaces, we also need to enact their worlds." (S. 50/51)
Computer and Performance
- "In combination with the
contingency of the player actions and the indeterminate character of the software algorithms, the involvement of the computer shifts the designers’ role from an artist of a work of art to an artist of a variable structure. This
distinguishes videogames and other software-based media creations from “linear” media, like printed text or film, on a material level." (S. 51)
- %Kunst wird immer interpretiert und ist damit immer eine variable Struktur. Wie groß die Variabilität ist, das ist die Frage.%%
- "In all cases, the designers do not have to think about the results of a specific calculation, but only need to care about the flawlessness of the algorithm and the range permitted for the parameters—the actual calculations are made by the machine. Many of us have experienced the downside of this: a file that cannot be opened, a button that cannot be pressed, a program that freezes and erases your research paper. These are usually not instances of computer disobedience, but rather results of strict rule application, or total algorithmic bureaucracy.
The reality that even intense testing, debugging and software patches cannot prevent such errors, testifies to the fact that the designers and programmers are not always fully in control of their complex creations." (S. 53)
- Dass man einen Button nicht klicken kann, hat nicht damit zu tun, dass der Computer das macht, was man möchte, sondern das, was man programmiert hat. Das führt dazu, dass der Computer mit einer Situation konfrontiert wird, in der seine vorhandenen Informationen dazu führen, dass er etwas macht, was nicht vom Programmierer intendiert gewesen ist.
Player and Input
- "At the same time, player input helps generate one instance or world from the myriad possible worlds a videogame space hosts. It affords choices about a world’s direction and character, from difficulty and sound volume, to narrative paths or the choice of looks and weapons. Due to the same-but-differentness and saving features in many games, a game space can be visited repeatedly and enacted differently each time, thus allowing for the exploration of multiple instances or worlds—a practice arguably at the heart of gaming."
- "I should point out that exploring multiple videogame worlds and experimenting with the mechanics of videogame space is only possible due to the virtual character of any activity within this space." (S. 56)
- "At play, the player may disregard norms, rules of physics or biology, as well as strategy and goals, purely motivated by the potentials and boundaries of videogame space itself." (S. 57)
- "In sum, player action may factor into the generation of conflicts on various levels. Enacting the “same-but-difference” of videogame space, it helps generate various game worlds or versions of in-game situations, between which conflicts may arise. Exploring and experimenting with videogame space through these
partially represented worlds, the player maps the possibilities and boundaries of this space. This activity may lead to conflicts caused by the difference between designers’ intention and game world affordances or boundaries, or caused by the difference between game world mechanics and everyday experiences." (S. 58)
- "While other tensions should not be ruled out. the vast variety of worlds generated in this negotiation are potential sites of conflict on roughly three levels: (1) conflicts in the experience of one world at playtime, including conflicting elements and conflicts between the three actors involved in the negotiation; (2) conflicts between different world versions (w1, w2, …) within one videogame space, and (3) in-game experiences conflicting with our “common sense” (the status quo), which would mark the respective game world or space as space of otherness —whether this third category is related to our common expectations toward videogames and genre conventions, or, whether it indeed concerns life beyond gaming, is a question for the empirical analysis." (S. 58/59)
- "Once playing becomes a method, it has to be applied with care and, in the face of the size of many videogame spaces, while taking the constraints and limited time of the researcher into consideration. In my research, I have tried to engage with this problem in two ways. First, my analytic play benefited much from principles often subsumed under the term “grounded theory,” which propagates openness, flexibility, object-orientation and context-awareness. [...] Second, where available, I have included additional materials about specific videogames in the analysis, in order to get a better understanding and knowledge of their spaces and the conflicts they might host." (S. 59/60)
- Was sind für dich Mechaniken? Was sind Dynamiken? Was sind Regeln?
- Was haben Computerspiele für dich mit analogen Spielen zu tun? Warum denkst du, dass Computerspiele wie freies Spielen behandelt werden sollen?