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Keynote presentation: Why am I in Vietnam? A computer game case study

Animated game pieces. Avatars as roles, tools and props
Jonas Linderoth - LearnIT/Göteborg University
Since Turkle’s seminal work Life on the screen (1995), avatars have been described as a form of alter egos, being means for exploring and playing with identity. Following this line of reasoning, computer gaming is seen as an activity where we become immersed in a fictitious world, pretending to be the character we play. Drawing upon empirical observations of children’s game-play I argue that the relation between the avatar and the player is a more multifaceted affair...READ MORE

King of the Hill : Investigation and Re-appropriation of Space in the Video Game
The defining element in video games is spatiality. That short sentence that feels like a quote (and in fact is: Aarseth, 2001, p.154) is all this paper is about. Grounding our proposition on a few different approaches that place space and space regulation as prerequisites for the possibility of play, we will examine how the video game player can get (the feeling of having) control over the gameworld’s space...READ MORE

The Aesthetic Experience of Sound - staging of Auditory Spaces in 3D computer games
Morten Breinbjerg - University of Aarhus
The use of sound in (3D) computer games basically falls in two. Sound is used as an element in the design of the set and as a narrative. As set design sound stages the nature of the environment, it brings it to life. As a narrative it brings us information that we can choose to or perhaps need to react on...READ MORE

Elune be Praised": The functions and meanings of myth in the World of Warcraft
Tanja Kryzywinska - Brunel University
It is part of the generic features of most role-playing games that they provide a coherent fantasy-based ‘world’ in which to play and interact with others in the guise of heroic adventurers. It can be said that any popular cultural artefact has intertextual features as part of the system of genre as well as intrinsic, more generally, to the generation of a ‘thick text’ (Kaveney, 2005:5)...READ MORE

The use of architectural patterns in MMORPGs
Mattias Ljungstr�m - Fachhochschule Potsdam
The latest of the online games is World of Warcraft. It has been an immense success with more than 1.5 million subscribers world wide. When examining the game, it is evident that its virtual world is exceptionally designed...READ MORE

Story-Line, Dance/Music or PVP? Game Movies and Performance in World of Warcraft
Henry Lowood - Stanford University
Player-created game movies have been an outlet for creative expression by World of Warcraft (WoW) players since the beta version of the game. Considering this game’s relatively short life and the aesthetic and technical constraints posed by movie-making in massively-multiplayer online (MMO) games, the proliferation of players, clans, websites, and community forums for creating, consuming and commenting on WoW movies is remarkable...READ MORE

Coming to Play at Frightening Yourself :Welcome to the World of Horror Video Games
Bernard Perron - University of Montreal
In response to critics of supernatural horror tales, H.P. Lovecraft commenced his now famous work of literature with this incisive reply:
The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life...READ MORE

San Andreas: Agency, Movement, and Containment; or, How the West is (Frequently) Won
Following on from my participation in a panel at Playful Subjects, in May 2005, I have decided to begin by communicating, in this paper, the recent review I undertook in my research regarding my approach to ‘freedom’ discourse...READ MORE

Figuring the Riddles of Adventure Games
Ragnhild Tronstad - University of Oslo

Characteristic of the adventure game genre is that puzzles represent the main type of challenge presented to the player. To analyse adventure games will therefore often be a matter of investigating puzzles, for instance asking how the individual puzzles occurring in a game relate to a more general understanding of what distinguishes “puzzles” as a game genre or form...READ MORE

The aesthetics of antagonism
Jonas Heide Smith - Center for Computer Game Research, The IT University of Copenhagen
This paper attempts to give a systematic account of the ways in which games stage conflict and the strategic implications of these conflicts. This is done by presenting an incentive perspective which builds on the basic assumption that players prefer to win (in the broadest sense). This assumption is shown to be common in the game design literature and its explanatory strength, as well as its problems and limitations, will be discussed...READ MORE


Character Data Sets and Parameterized Morality

Robert Fitzpatrick, Martin Walsh, Michael Nitsche - Georgia Institute of Technology
Creating dramatic and engaging characters is one of the ‘holy grail’ issues in video games. Another – related – focus is the implementation of morality in game characters. We look into a combination of these two issues inside the game character’s definition. This character data set forms the backbone of the game entity and a basis from which behavioral engines can operate. Some of these data features refer to established character definitions from traditional media, including physiology, sociology and psychology as three defining elements of dramatic characters...READ MORE


Play, Modality and Claims of Realism in Full Spectrum Warrior

Geoff King - Brunel University

The aim of this paper is to examine the balance between notions of play and claims to the status of realism, of various kinds, in the tactical squad-based shooter Full Spectrum Warrior. I am starting here from a definition of ‘play’, generally, as a distinct mode of activity according to which games are marked off from other aspects of the external world, something I have said more about elsewhere. Some games are designed to blur markers of modality, however, in making claims to the status of ‘realism’ or ‘authenticity’...READ MORE

The aesthetics of the anti-aesthetics
David Myers - Loyola University New Orleans
An aesthetics of anti-aesthetics does not imply a negation of aesthetics. Rather, it is intended to refer to negation itself and an accompanying aesthetics of negation, or, alternatively, an aesthetics of opposition, or, alternatively, an aesthetics of the anti. Bolter and Grusin (2000) have popularized the notion of remediation as fundamental to the function of digital media, and here the emphasis is similar. I wish to consider the origin, nature, and pleasures of digital game representations and the resulting anti-ness of digital game forms...READ MORE  



The computer game conference Aesthetics of Play took place 14 - 15 October 2005, arranged by the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. The AoP Online Proceedings include 14 contributions from the conference, including slides and video from Jon Dovey's keynote presentation. We have also put up some pictures from the conference. For more information, please contact Rune Klevjer [rune dot klevjer at infomedia dot uib dot no].

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