FT 05-N In the Future We Will Play: The Art and History of Electronic Gaming
Michael Abbott, Department of Theater
In 1903, anthropologist W.H. Holmes reported: “The popular notion that games are trivial in nature and of no particular significance as a subject has given way to an adequate appreciation of their importance as an integral part of human culture.” Playing is not reading. Yet, increasingly, videogames are challenging us to reassess the ways we think about storytelling, authorship, and representation. Aside from their obvious popular appeal, recent games such as “The Sims,” “Fable,” and the “Final Fantasy” series test our current ways of understanding semiotics and engagement with the reader/player. Increasingly, video gaming can be seen a convergence point, where media as diverse as film, literature, art, music, and design meet and coalesce to form a new, unique art form ... one that fits squarely and comfortably within the Humanities. We must develop a methodology for “reading” videogames that affords this new medium the regard it richly deserves. This tutorial will explore a variety of ways to accomplish this—borrowing, adapting, and revising familiar methodologies, and proposing new strategies for seeing and critically comprehending videogames. To this end, we will play, analyze, discuss, research, and write about videogames as a modern emerging art form.