Lecture by Seth Giddings on Digital and Gaming

Lecture by Seth Giddings on Digital and Gaming, which was actually a part of the evening series for the previous module, but fits in very well with this module.
25/11/2008 Lecture - Seth Giddings. Dept. of Culture, Media and Drama, UWE
sethgiggings@uwe.ac.uk www.badnewthings.co.uk

New addition of New Media out on 8th December

Play research group

Paly and Culture
Computer and Media play
Play across virtual and actual space

Johann Huizinga (1872 - 45) Homo Ludens: a study of the paly element in culture, London: Beacon Press

“Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act, but with a special function of its own in human experience.”

Play - separate in time and space - like holidays or festival days - spaces for play, like the tennis court, football field, draughts board. And time-scale - we know the rules, football starts and ends at the whistle, we know the rules - tightly defined.

All those childhood games were we spent more time arguing about the rules that we did playing the game - You’re Dead! - No I’m Not - Yes You Are, I shot you right behind the garage - Charlie Brown...

Play is a universal human expereince, simulating adult life through play and imaginagion

play - it’s free, voluntary (not forced) not ordinary, secluded and limited, allows for ‘different times’
child imagines - but is aware that it is not ‘real’

a duality of the real and the virtual - find these quotes, very similar to the suspension of belief when watching plays - the mimetic space - the quote from A Midsummer Nights Dream, and other Shakespeare plays -

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream... Puck

I don’t want to play games - I want to create, as ever, sello-tape and card.

Games pushed the limits of computer technology

Hacks playing games with computers - like flash games and physics engines, playing with the technology initially in a very playful way, to see what it will do - to push the boundaries. Often the first games that are created are very little played, but much cited. Think now of the huge explosion in very silly games for the iPhone, like iPint and iFart, and the musical instruments - silly but none the less pushing the boundaries.

Games were the beginning of real time interaction with computers

‘Edutainment’ Kids probably uncomfortable with this. When do we stop leaning? at 3.45? or because the toy is not ‘educational?’

xbox 360 - now music, downloading films, email, sms, facebook etc.


Monkeyball - gravity type game like pinball
Online fantasy games - everyday but separate from everyday, like soap opera, virtual, imaginative.

Snakes and Ladders - the Edwardian ‘moral’ board with soldier/bride/ladder drunk/prostitute/snake

Children just playing and enjoying.

Ethnographic research - children enjoying floor sized game - think of the projected labyrinth game at Zeum in SF

through this research Seth was showing that video game conventions were working their way into ordinary play.

Nintendo Wii - embodiment of play

Players learning from and adapting to the system (wii bowling example - which is nothing like real bowling physically)

Virtual gravity - thinking about film and CGI - the plane in the Bond film, climbing vertically, we still see Bond at the control, and then we see the plane, as if we were outside, to give context, going into a stall - same with shots of das boot - submarines through the gloom, with underwatery sort of sounds, or the boat in The Perfect Storm, seen from the minds eye - the imagination - but recreated by the computer.

Play linked to creativity - the sofa and the wheely chairs in the artroom. even the adults - transforming the chairs into go carts - playing racing games. Set up a stop frame animation.

IGL - interesting games lab - ‘Design and the Elastic Mind” Exhibition at the MOMA

I'm trying to tell you something about my life
maybe give me insight between black and white
and the best thing you've ever done for me
is to help me take my life less seriously
it's only life after all - Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine