What is a Video Game?

Saturday, January 22, 2010, 4:00 pm

Location: meet up in tearoom, move to either Cobb or Harper

Lecture by Alexander El Nabili

Abstract:

Are videogames for entertainment? Art? Rhetoric? … This is a question about which most of us have never really had the opportunity to reflect. And why would we have? Videogames are games and, as Nintendo reminds us, purely for the sake of entertainment. Our parents may have enjoyed some stints with Ms. Pacman or Galaga in the 80s, but that didn’t inspire contemporary high schools to include “Videogame Criticism” alongside the wealth of “Film Criticism” classes now offered.

Nevertheless, the work in videogame theory has been growing over the last 25 years by developers and theorists, who are interested in probing both the possible direction that videogames can potentially head as well as its insights into the fields of aesthetics, artificial intelligence, ontology, ethics, and far more. This will not be a lecture but a discussion that will hopefully give us all a better sense of the complex elements that must go into an understanding of what a videogame is and how that awareness may effect our play experience. With a greater awareness of a medium that blends art, social interaction, entertainment, computer science, and fiction, we may be able to think more critically about the games we play.

This discussion is not at all intended simply for those who like videogames or consider themselves hardcore gamers! We aren’t learning anything about programming. Come with an open and eager mind 🙂 [And please come even if you’ve never met me before!]

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