In extreme synthesis, one could say that this chapter is about several kinds of soups.
In extreme synthesis, one could say that this chapter is about several kinds of soups.
My article on “Why Gamers Are Not Performers” is now out in the latest issue of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. It is in some ways a companion piece to “Why Gamers Are Not Narrators,” recently published in The Aesthetics of Videogames, edited by Jon Robson & Grant Tavinor (Routledge, 2018).
I argue that even if videogames are interactive artworks, typical videogames are not works for performance and players of videogames do not perform these games in the sense in which a musician performs a musical composition (or actors a play, dancers a ballet, and so on). Even expert playings of videogames for an audience fail to qualify as performances of those works. Some exemplary playings may qualify as independent “performance‐works,” but this tells us nothing about the ontology of videogames or playings of them. The argument proceeds by clarifying the concepts of interactivity and work‐performance, drawing particularly on recent work by Dominic Lopes, Berys Gaut, and David Davies.
Call for Papers: Values in Games
We hereby invite submissions to the 12th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games, to be held in Copenhagen on August 13-14.
The theme of this year’s conference is “value in games”. The topic will connect central themes in the study of games, including questions about the importance of games in a human life, the ethical value of games, and the values communicated through games. For this conference, we invite papers that explore these and other aspects of value in games.
In addition to papers that are directed at the main theme we invite a smaller number of papers in an “open” category.
Accepted papers will have a clear focus on philosophy and philosophical issues in relation to computer games. We strongly encourage references to specific examples from computer games, as well as reference to diversity of games and game types. We are especially interested in papers that aim to continue discussions from earlier conferences in this series.
This game studies oriented seminar from the Games and Transgressive Aesthetics project should surely be of interest to many game philosophers as well. Full program is available on their website. The seminar is held on May 25. From the description of the seminar:
“Games have a long tradition of dealing with myths and monsters, thereby tapping into topics that are associated with how we as humans understand ourselves and our role in the world. At the same time, as games are maturing as medium, there are still challenges relating to how existential and profound topics can be implemented into games in an experientially interesting way.
This seminar concerns games and play that tap into such issues, covering the design of games that tap into the mythical and the existential. Further, the seminar will look at the emotional impact that games can have upon us, from the awe and terror brought forward by monster play, to the emotional response that players have when encountering uncomfortable and provocative game content. The seminar also asks what we can learn from live-action role-playing games concerning how to create emotional impact and immersion in games.
Redirecting attention from how games move us emotionally to how they move the boundaries between play and gambling, the seminar will end with a presentation on loot boxes as a form of transgressive game design.“
You may have noticed that we have semi-regular announcement of new publications on gamephilosophy.org. I would like to encourage all members to submit posts about those of their publications that are of relevance to other game philosophers.
Such posts mean that others see what is going on in the field of game philosophy. It is also very useful to the author. These posts get quite a lot of hits, and are an easy way to make people aware of your work. The posts are automatically posted to the Facebook page for the initiative, to a Twitter feed, and also sent out the subscribers on an email list.
We normally aim to announce recent papers, but many members haven’t announced any of their papers yet. So please make a post, even if the paper was published some while ago.
This is how you do it: When you log in to the system, you simply click on the +sign in the top bar, which under “post” gives you a form where you can enter text for the post. Describe the content of the article and add a picture, for example of the cover of the journal in question. Google also has a search option for images with open licences. The title should with a description of the document type, like “Journal Paper: “ or “Book: “. Make one post for each publication. The post will be sent to me for moderation.
Note that you can also post about events and other relevant news in the same fashion.
If you are working with issues related to the philosophy of games, you are very welcome to have a member profile. Just send me an email at j dot r dot sageng * gamephilosophy dot org. with a few words about your background. I may make a new post about this later on. I don’t really have much time to work on these sorts of things, but I do what I can.
John R. Sageng
We hope that our volume will show the potential in analytic aesthetics for the discussion and analysis of videogames, and further establish videogames as a focus for philosophers working in that area.
Ontology and Transmedial Games, Christopher J. Bartel – Videogames as Neither Video nor Games: A Negative Ontology of Videogames, Brock Rough – Videogames, Constitutive Rules, and Algorithms, Shelby Moser – Appreciating Videogames, Zach Jurgensen – The Beautiful Gamer? On the Aesthetics of Videogame Performances, Jon Robson – Creativity and Videogames, Aaron Meskin – Interactivity, Fictionality, and Incompleteness, Nathan Wildman and Richard Woodward – Why Gamers Are Not Narrators, Andrew Kania – Videogames and Virtual Media, Grant Tavinor – On Videogames and Gendered Invisibility, Stephanie Patridge – The Moral Transformation of Videogame Violence, Thi Nguyen – Videogames and the “Theater of Love”, Mark Silcox – Pornographic Videogames: a Feminist Examination, Mari Mikkola
My book, Games: Agency as Art, is now forthcoming from Oxford University Press! Oxford has given me permission to offer the first chapter as a preview.
The book will offer a sustained defense of the value of games and game-playing, from several perspectives. The book says that:
I discovered this recently published paper by Lasse Nielsen, which should be of interest to ethics oriented game philosophers.
This article claims that the protection of children’s capability for play is a central social-political goal. It provides the following three-premise argument in defense of this claim: (i) we have strong and wide-ranging normative reasons to be concerned with clusters of social deficiency; (ii) particular fertile functionings play a key role for tackling clusters of social deficiency; and finally (iii) the capability for childhood play is a crucial, ontogenetic prerequisite for the development of those particular fertile functionings. Thus, in so far as we consider it a central political goal to tackle social deficiency, we should be concerned with protection of childhood play capability. This conclusion raises new insights on the importance – for global development policy as well as for welfare states’ aim to secure social justice – of protecting children’s capability to engage in playful activities.
My article Philosophy of Games is out now in Philosophy Compass. (A pre-print draft is also available for free.) Philosophy Compass is a journal which focuses on producing surveys of particular sub-fields of philosophy, especially new and breaking ones, largely for use by newcomers. It is designed to orient. They are often used by academics to help develop syllabi for undergraduate classes in unfamiliar train.
In this Compass, I quickly cover basic foundational works on games (Huizinga, Caillois, Suits, the ludography vs. narratology debate), and then dive into particular issues on the art status of games, the nature of interactivity, the magic circle, debates about value, and ethical issues in the philosophy of sport (like doping) and video games (like the gamer’s dilemma). This article was intended to cover primarily work on games in analytic philosophy (analytic aesthetics, philosophy of sport, and analytic game ethics) with just the barest smattering of Game Studies material for minimal orientation. The article is not intended to summarize the field of Game Studies, nor does it intend to cover continental approaches to games. In fact, I would strongly urge specialists in those field to write their own equivalent summaries; they are badly needed.
Scholars from Game Studies will likely find the first half familiar. The second half, however, may prove useful, especially the section on philosophy of sports. Consider especially the discussions of internalist accounts of value in sport, the relationship between philosophy of law and the justification of sport, and the discussion of the origins of norms of sportsmanship.
Second, my essay The Aesthetics of Rock Climbing is online in The Philosopher’s Magazine. This is a popular article which adapts ideas from my forthcoming book. I say that rock climbing is a game, and one that many people play for aesthetic reasons. Many climbers climb because responding to the challenges of the rock evokes graceful, delightful movement from them. It is something like problem-solving dance:
“…Dancing, I think, is exactly the right place to start to understand the aesthetic dimension of rock climbing. So let’s start there: climbing is something like dance – not just in skill, but in aesthetic reward. You can hear the similarity when you listen to some climbers talk about their climbs. They talk about climbs with nice movement, with good flow, with interesting moves. They’ll talk about ugly climbs, beautiful climbs, elegant climbs, gross climbs. At first you might think they are just talking about the rock itself and how it looks. And sometimes they are; every climber loves a clean crack up a blank face, or bold jutting fin to climb. But if you interrogate a climber, and watch as they explain where the beauty in the climb is – with arms out, legs in the air, imitating the odd precise movements of the climb – you’ll figure out that what so many of them care most about is the quality of the movement – about how it feels to go through the rock, about the glorious sensations in the body, and the subtle attention of the mind.”