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MDSB61H3 Chapter Notes -Game Players, Metonymy, Sound Bite


Department
Media Studies
Course Code
MDSB61H3
Professor
Gray Graffam

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Ch 6: ethnographic criticism and video games
Introduction
o A video game is a cultural object, bound by history and materiality, consisting of an electronic
computational device and a game simulated in software
o Video games may be a pc, arcade machine, portable device or any electronic machines
o Computer games are so hard to study bc they are so socially complex
Video games: textual approaches
o Use of control-shock controller
o Mixture of psychological and physical apparatus makes possible the processes of ‘becoming’ the
virtual figure
o A computer game works in 5 integral areas of power
1) Agents (who have the power to catalyze transformative effects)
2) Functions (the purported and actual purposes of those effects)
3) Influences (external forces that impinge upon agents and inevitably change the transformative
effects of historically situated artifacts)
4) Manifestations (ways in which transformative efforts are realized in particular contexts)
5) transformative locales (the spatiotemporal instances in which ideologies individual,
communal or societal have specific transformative effects)
o “gaming as drama”, “gaming as grammar”, “gaming as narrative”
o video game players are immersed in playing the game (experiencing specific cognitive effects)
An autoethnography of the game counter-strike
o first, understand the narrative premise game is based on a conflict btwn two groups of
“terrorists” and “counter-terrorists”
o second, figure out the mise-en-scene game is played in a variety of settings over several rounds
o third, choose your props weapons, equipment, missions and levels
o fourth, become the narrative coming to terms with the controller
o fifth, use the force
Conclusion: the construct of terrorism on video game: lessons learnt from counter-strike
o the “text” of terrorism in counter-strike is performative
o the “text” of terrorism lacks narrative complexity
o there is little in the game that creates immersive experience or even approximate the idea of
presence, where the player forgets the mediated nature of the experience
o the “text” is determined by the “discourse of modulated action” as compared to the news, which
focuses on “discourse of annihilation” (p. 127)
o the “text” is overdetermined in its “visual metonymy”, leading to a “closed” rather than an “open”
one
o the “text” works contextually
o counter-strike has achieved an iconic status resonates in a range of institutional, cultural and
discursive contexts illustrating how gaming is mainstreaming into mass medium
play and consequences
- a simple assertion: gaming functions as a discourse without “real” consequences
- since it is “play”, it doesn’t count as having discursive energy
- gaming presents an intertwined set of discursive possibilities around “play” – games are
simultaneously unreal and real the virtual and the physical become forces for the
mobilization of self, which can take actions without consequences, killings without agency
the “act-on” narrative
- much like TV news reporters, who listen and conduct interviews with an ear out for the “right:
sound bite, the game player watches, listens and acts with just one goal in mind to maximize
his or her goal and take away the goal of others
- through choosing weapons, making a turn, killing or saving other ppl that require action of
need to be acted on hence the term “act-on”
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