Category: Game studies (Page 1 of 5)

Convergence in Digital Games: A Case Study of League of Legends

ABSTRACT: The study deals with content media convergence, i.e. the fragmentation of media into different forms and formats in order to reach new audiences. The main thesis is that this form of convergence, which has been observable in the media segment over the last decades, has in recent years started to be deliberately and purposefully implemented in the digital games segment as well, and game studios are trying to reach audiences that are not players of the original game from which the media content converged through the creation of media content. However, not in order to attract them to play the game, which could be considered a classic marketing strategy, but in order to create a narrative and intermedia universe from which each converged part can have a separate audience, for which it is not necessary to know the whole universe. The study proves this through a case study of the game League of Legends by the game studio Riot Games and on the contents that converged from the game, through a discursive content analysis in the categories of gaming segment, audio-visual contents, music, social networks and other contents. The study concludes that the analysis supports the thesis that League of Legends converges and is able to fully reach non-gamer audiences.

KEY WORDS: audience, convergence of digital games, cross-media, digital games, League of Legends, media convergence.

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Spatiality, Focalization and Temporality in Horror Games

ABSTRACT: The horror genre can be found both in books and movies to shock and scare the audience. In digital games, players have to survive, they try to progress while they have to overcome frightening obstacles, otherwise they cannot be successful. The paper analyses three main topics: spatiality (where closed, open and looping spaces are in the centre), focalization (based on G. Genette’s term., We shows how the different angles could contribute to the narrative and what unique methods exist), and temporality (where traumatic experience and looping time is at the focal point, and E. Husserl’s protentions and retention terms will be important as well). We also argue that these games are unusual if we take a look at M. Csíkszentmihályi’s skills-challenges diagram and see if they fit in the flow zone. The paper aims to extend our understanding of horror games.

KEY WORDS: flow, focalization, horror, protention, retention, spatiality, temporality.

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Nulltopia: Of Disjunct Space

ABSTRACT: Nulltopia is disjunction in space, the non-space between one space and another. Such disjunction becomes important in the ontology of imaginary worlds, whose thresholds are not fully traversable. Some knowledge and some exigencies transfer across the boundaries of an image, but some do not, remaining asymmetrically bound, extant only on one side – potentiating scenarios like starving while eating Minecraft cookies. This theoretical study presents an exercise in the metaphysics of digital games, defining nulltopia in reference to dreams, the theatrical proscenium, vehicle windows, video screens, loudspeakers, and interactive consoles; and contextualizing nulltopia relative to immersion. Developing from a syncretic combination of movement and depiction, the video screen extends a technology of imagination that already existed in component forms. Partially separating slow reality from fast imaginary, nulltopia affords both discourse and addiction to the ‘etiolated actual’, in contrast to an imagined, perfectly immersive, ‘society without screens’,the bounds of whose world become imperceptible.

KEY WORDS: digital game, imagination, immersion, nulltopia, ontology, perception of motion, space, virtual reality.

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Why Do We Play Digital Games? Anthropological-philosophical-pedagogical Aspects

ABSTRACT: This study focuses on aspects of media pedagogy and philosophical anthropology in digital games and seeks to answer the question as to why we play digital games. Digital play is viewed as an aesthetic and cultural phenomenon according to I. Kant’s Analytic of the Beautiful and is interpreted, analysed, and compared with the anthropological dimension of play. According to I. Kant, the main element of beauty is disinterested liking. Digital games have been observed in such a judgment of taste. We will observe the phenomenon of play based on I. Kant’s understanding of the aesthetic concept of play and C. Lévi-Strauss’s structural anthropology. The paper presents the phenomenon of play from the aspect of aesthetic pedagogy, but also asks why we like games and what is aesthetic in them that causes pleasure. The aim of this study is to analyse the phenomenon of games from the context of digital games and to show how different anthropological, philosophical, and pedagogical aspects mutually complement and intertwine. The research question of why we play digital games opens the possibility for new reflections and understandings of the world of games, the concept of beauty and the meaning of games for humans. The complexity and multidimensionality of the game phenomenon is also observed according to E. Morin’s aesthetics in which the artistic and aesthetic dimension of digital play is discussed. The concept of play is philosophically relevant, and through the study we approach J. Huizinga’s aspect of the seriousness of culture and E. Fink’s play of the world. In the aspects of social life such as metaphors and imagination, play imposes itself as communication. The true character of the game is manifested in the self-pleasure of relieving the individual, but also in the imagination and beauty that the game provides. The game, as such, represents an aesthetic attitude towards life and it is at its core an imitation in the space of the imaginary.

KEY WORDS: digital game, game aesthetics, game structure, game world, media pedagogy.

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The Creative Remediation and Promotional Use of Photographic Modes in Digital Games

ABSTRACT: From photoblogs to mobile phone cameras, digital technology is rapidly and fundamentally changing the cultural practice of photographic representation. Across games and gaming communities, the aesthetics of screenshots and the aesthetics of photographs are increasingly intertwined. The latest photographic modes in digital games mimic real photographs by incorporating controls that are found in physical cameras and allow for great creativity, yet yield some limits and potential issues. The aim of this explorative study is to describe the creative potential of the specific functionality of photo modes in digital games, the intent and development of the tool, promotional uses, and the limits of the emerging art form of virtual photography.

KEY WORDS: digital game, photographic mode, remediation, screenshot, virtual photography.

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The Rise of the Cottagecore Game: The Modernity of Digital Gaming and Content Consumption

ABSTRACT: The main aim of this article is to demonstrate that contemporary gamers commit to a political nature of consuming digital game contents to facilitate cultural renewal. In illuminating how the rise of the cottagecore game at the turn of the 2020s has not only been driven by this cultural renewal but also intensified its major trajectories, the study contradicts critical assertions about the inimical relationship between gaming and real life which still remains in mainstream culture. This study aims to continue advancing the practice of game theorists who have shifted academic interest to the relevance of the digital game as a medium by conceptualizing the practice of enjoying a digital game as ‘consumption’ in the fashion defined by K. Marx. Building upon what might be termed an open-world game suggested a contradicting concept of playing a digital game, this study takes Harvest Moon as one of the early examples which inspires the swarming number of cottagecore games in the late 2010s and Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing as representatives of the rise of the cottagecore game, the study will illustrate how the rise of the cottagecore game reveals modernity of contemporary gamers who share a vision of digital game as a uniquely positioned medium for imagining a better world and themselves and, subsequently, facilitating a shift in cultural attitudes in a politically progressive manner.nre by the gaming community was therefore fast. The bottom line of the text is that using rigid categories for discussions about digital games cannot focus only on rigid criteria, but also on context.

KEY WORDS: consumption, cottagecore, digital games, game studies, Marxism, modernity.

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Pen & Paper & Xerox: Early History of Tabletop RPGs in Czechoslovakia

ABSTRACT: The study presents preliminary research focused on the history of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) in the former Czechoslovakia, especially Dungeons & Dragons (1974) and its local clone Dračí doupě (transl. Dragon’s Lair, 1990). Based on theoretical literature, period sources and semi-structured interviews with first-generation players, it gives an overview of the first contacts with RPG in the specific post-communist cultural and economic context, focusing on the distribution and reception of Dragon’s Lair, mainly in the Slovak part of the former common state. As a partial outcome of an ongoing research into the local gaming experience, the focus is not on the game itself or its commercial success, but rather on its players, their characteristics and initial experiences with tabletop RPGs in the early 1990s.

KEY WORDS: Dragon’s Lair, Dungeons & Dragons, fantasy, participatory culture, post-communist transformation, tabletop role-playing games.

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Fortnite as Bildungsspiel? Battle Royale Games and Sacrificial Rites

ABSTRACT: This article examines the online multi-player game Fortnite: Battle Royale as a modernday representation of sacrificial rites. It is argued that Fortnite: Battle Royale constitutes a simulation of a sacrificial rite due to its gameplay mechanics. In the game, the players need to kill each other off and come out victorious. As such, the players need to recognise themselves in opposition to others, exterminate those others, and sacrifice their innocence in the process. As conceptualised by R. Girard, this experience of a sacrificial rite constitutes a form of social education and conditioning. Such experiences are predominantly represented in the genre of Bildungsroman: coming-of-age stories that concern a literal or metaphorical rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. In Fortnite: Battle Royale, the psychological effect of this conditioning is amplified due to the medium-specific affordance of having the player as both the spectator and the spectacle of the sacrifice; namely, the player watches themselves being offered as a sacrifice while trying to overcome the trial. In this regard, Fortnite: Battle Royale follows and expands on the tradition of the Bildungsroman establishing a new take on the genre that is thereby termed Bildungsspiel – a coming-of-age game.

KEY WORDS: battle royale games, Bildungsroman, Fortnite, mimetic desire, René Girard, sacrificial rites, spectacle.

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The Gamification of Conspiracy: QAnon as Alternate Reality Game

ABSTRACT: This article takes a ludological approach to QAnon and investigates the conspiracy phenomenon as an Alternate Reality Game. Drawing extensively on media reportage of QAnon and reviewing its discussion in the domains of digital culture, media scholarship and game studies, connections between the QAnon conspiracy movement and digital game rhetorics in far-right online spaces are highlighted, with attention to the notions of Gamification and Dark Play. Exploring the intersection of digital game cultures, online conspiracy movements and political extremism, this paper invites scholarly attention to various aspects of QAnon from the fields of games studies and play studies. With the QAnon phenomenon highlighting the significant political impact and import of games culture, this paper shows that the field of ludology has much to offer a range of researchers in interpreting the motivations and meanings of the online communities from which QAnon emerged.

KEY WORDS: alt-right, alternate reality games, conspiracy, dark play, game studies, post truth, QAnon.

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Gender, Stress, Satisfaction, and Persistence: The Complex State of Digital Games as Leisure

ABSTRACT: Digital games have long been investigated for links to negative influences, but they exert a range of impacts on players. A variety of factors can contribute to stressful experiences in play, including game content, player interactions, and gender. This project uses qualitative methods to better understand how players experience and perceive these stressors and why they persist despite them. There are a surprising number of ways that players’ experiences align in spite of gender. Players encounter stress with both design and social experiences, are inclined to “rage quit” if stressors are substantial enough, and are increasingly averse to toxic communities. However, there are also gender-specific experiences. Men are much more concerned with the skillsets of other players, while women worry about their own performance. Further, these experiences of stress complicate our understandings of distress and eustress, with players less motivated by stressors than they are by the anticipated future relief from distress.

KEY WORDS: digital games, gender, persistence, qualitative, stress.

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