Limited time? Limited blog post.
Bricolant/bricolage — Bogost uses Derrida here (sort of?) to riff on the idea of the bricolage, or the piece of art created by synthesizing multiple bits of knowledge, information, or art. Obviously, such a term has a lot of potential in video game studies. The creation and dissection of video games both utilize “bricolage” as a central concept. No game is an island. Bogost uses the phrase for both. He most often, however, uses the phrase as a point of criticism against the strict compartmentalization of video game studies.
Aarseth — Espen Aarseth’s Cybertext once again gets a few hits. Bogost isn’t a fan of how Aarseth has essentially “separated” cybertext from literature, as he (Aarseth) sees video games as a “new art” that can’t be described in “literary” terms. Aarseth even takes a shot at “interactive fiction.” Bogost’s criticism of Aarseth (and Mayra, and DiGRA) is short and quick: all of the previously mentioned games criticism characters are basically in a race to compartmentalize game theory into its own little self-sufficient box in which the “ludic is privileged over the literary.”
“Instead of focusing on how games work, I suggest that we turn to what they do — how they inform, change, or otherwise participate in human activity, to borrow the ACLA’s words. Such a comparative videogame criticsm would focus principally on the expressive capacity of games and, true to its grounding in the humanities, would seek to understand how videogames reveal what it means to be human.”
Site note: I’m totally on-board. While I’m only *just now* reading Bogost, his approach seems similar to mine. Back when I wrote about Portal 2, linearity, and feminism, I discussed linearity as a mechanic of storytelling — that was my prime interest in it. I wasn’t interested in saying “hey, the game used linearity! This is how it did it,” I was interested in showing how that linearity advanced a narrative of a lack of female agency.
In my current project, admittedly, I’m swinging away from this a little — I’m talking mostly about mechanical things. But still! Those mechanical things are nothing without the stories inherent within them.
(To be continued tomorrow — running out of time…)