Advertisement

Savegame pp 129-148 | Cite as

Challenging Challenge

Towards a Redefinition of Games
  • René Reinhold SchalleggerEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Perspektiven der Game Studies book series (PEGAST)

Abstract

‘Gamer’ culture perpetuates an oppositional mindset, rather than acknowledging the affective, transformative experiences videogames can provide. The focus on challenge, mastery, and conflict is deeply rooted in most definitions of the medium, but the notions of configuration and cybernetics can help to develop a more dynamic and inclusive understanding. Three examples of videogames that already offer alternative play experiences are discussed here: Prince of Persia (2008), What Remains of Edith Finch (2017), and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (2018). They foster a sense of responsibility and empathy, not empowerment and entitlement. While both Edith Finch and Captain Spirit include elements of challenge, unlike Prince of Persia, here they are primarily used to harness the emotional power of ludic involvement connecting the player to the secondary realities and the characters. This communicates the possibility of an alternative set of societal values where humanity is an inclusive, unified and dynamic notion, based on inter-relationships. An understanding of videogames as designed systems of opportunities, constituted by affordances and constraints, fosters a sense of systemic awareness, leaving players better equipped to critically reflect upon, accept, and internalise the experience of consequences. Thus videogames, more so than any other form of cultural expression, can provide profound moments of personal, but also collective and societal affective transformation. As an inherently cybernetic and configurational medium, they can shape players into truly autonomous and responsible transhuman citizens.

Keywords

Challenge Affect Empathy Game design Mastery Configuration Cybernetics Edith finch Prince of persia Captain spirit 

References

  1. Aarseth, Espen. 2001. Computer game studies, year one. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research 1/1. http://gamestudies.org/0101/editorial.html. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  2. Avedon, Elliott M., und Brian Sutton-Smith. 1971. The study of games. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Caillois, Roger. 1961. Man, play, and games. Urbana: University of Illinois Press (2001).Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, Joseph. 1949. The hero with a thousand faces. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1973).Google Scholar
  5. Capcom. 2005. Resident Evil 4. Osaka: Capcom.Google Scholar
  6. Costikyan, Greg. 1994. I have no words & I must design. In Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman. 2006. The game design reader: A rules of play anthology, 192–211. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Crawford, Chris. 1981. The art of computer game design. https://www.digitpress.com/library/books/book_art_of_computer_game_design.pdf. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  8. Dontnod Entertainment. 2015. Life is strange. Shinjuku: Square Enix.Google Scholar
  9. Dontnod Entertainment. 2018. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Shinjuku: Square Enix.Google Scholar
  10. Dovey, Jon, und Helen W. Kennedy. 2006. Game cultures: computer games as new media. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fine, Gary Alan. 1983. Shared fantasy: Role-playing games as social worlds. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (2002).Google Scholar
  12. Filippidis, Katrina. 2017. What killed the Prince of Persia series? Gameranx. https://gameranx.com/features/id/132482/article/what-killed-the-prince-of-persia-series/. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  13. Giant Sparrow. 2012. The Unfinished Swan. Tokyo: Sony Computer Entertainment.Google Scholar
  14. Giant Sparrow. 2017. What Remains of Edith Finch. West Hollywood: Annapurna Interactive.Google Scholar
  15. Guyer, Paul. 2006. Kant. London: Routledge (2014).Google Scholar
  16. Haraway, Donna J. 1991. A cyborg manifesto: Science, technology, and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century. In imians, cyborgs, and women: The reinvention of nature, ed. Donna J. Haraway, 149–182. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Howlongtobeat. 2017. What Remains of Edith Finch. https://howlongtobeat.com/game.php?id=45392. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  18. Howlongtobeat. 2018. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. https://howlongtobeat.com/game.php?id=57443. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  19. Huizinga, Johan. 1950. Homo ludens: A study of the play-element in culture. Boston: Beacon (1955).Google Scholar
  20. Jenkins, Henry. 2004. Game Design as narrative architecture. In First person: New media as story, performance, and game, ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan, 118–130. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Juul, Jesper. 2003. The game, the player, the world: Looking for a heart of gameness. In Level up: Digital games research conference proceedings, ed. M. Copier and J. Raessens, 30–47. Utrecht: University of Utrecht Press. https://www.jesperjuul.net/text/gameplayerworld/. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  22. Matulef, Jeffrey. 2017. What Remains of Edith Finch director Ian Dallas reflects on his unforgettable family drama. Eurogamer. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-07-26-what-remains-of-edith-finch-director-ian-dallas-reflects-on-his-unforgettable-family-drama. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  23. Mateas, Michael. 2004. A preliminary poetics for interactive drama and games. In First person: New media as story, performance, and game, ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan, 19–33. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Metacritic. 2007a. Assassin’s Creed PlayStation 3. https://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/assassins-creed. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  25. Metacritic. 2007b. Assassin’s Creed Xbox 360. https://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/assassins-creed. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  26. Metacritic. 2008a. Assassin’s Creed: Director’s cut edition PC. https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/assassins-creed-directors-cut-edition. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  27. Metacritic. 2008b. Prince of Persia PC. https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/prince-of-persia. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  28. Metacritic. 2008c. Prince of Persia PlayStation 3. https://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/prince-of-persia.
  29. Metacritic. 2008d. Prince of Persia Xbox 360. https://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/prince-of-persia. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  30. Metacritic. 2017a. What Remains of Edith Finch PC. https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/what-remains-of-edith-finch. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  31. Metacritic. 2017b. What Remains of Edith Finch PlayStation 4. https://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-4/what-remains-of-edith-finch. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  32. Metacritic. 2017c. What Remains of Edith Finch Xbox One. https://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-one/what-remains-of-edith-finch. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  33. McLuhan, Marshall. 1964 (2008). Understanding media: The extensions of man. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Moulthrop, Stuart. 2004. From work to play: Molecular culture in the time of deadly games. In New Media as Story, Performance, and Game, ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan, 56–69. First Person: Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. Nintendo EAD. 1992. Super Mario Kart. Kyoto: Nintendo.Google Scholar
  36. Nintendo EAD. 2018. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Nintendo: Kyoto.Google Scholar
  37. Nora, Pierre. 1984. La République. Les Lieux de Mémoire Vol. 1. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  38. Relic Entertainment. 1999. Homeworld. Los Angeles: Sierra Studios.Google Scholar
  39. Salen, Katie, und Eric Zimmerman. 2004. Rules of play: Game design fundamentals. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  40. Schallegger, René Reinhold. 2017. WTH are games? – Towards a triad of triads. In Digitale Spiele. Klagenfurter Beiträge zur Visuellen Kultur Vol.5. ed. Jörg Helbig and René Reinhold Schallegger, 14–49. Cologne: Halem.Google Scholar
  41. Schallegger, René Reinhold. 2018. Choices and consequences: Videogames, virtual ethics, and cyber-citizenship. Post-doctoral thesis. Universität Klagenfurt.Google Scholar
  42. Shaw, Adrienne. 2012. Do you identify as a gamer: Gender, race, sexuality, and gamer identity. New Media and Society 14 (1): 25–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sicart, Miguel. 2009. The ethics of computer games. Cambridge: MIT Press (2011).Google Scholar
  44. Sicart, Miguel. 2013. Beyond choices: The design of ethical gameplay. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sicart, Miguel. 2014. Playing the good life: Gamification and ethics. In The gameful world: Approaches, issues, applications, ed. Steffen P. Walz and Sebastian Deterding, 225–244. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  46. Suits, Bernard. 1978. The grasshopper: Game, life, and utopia. Peterborough: Broadview Press (2014).Google Scholar
  47. Sutton-Smith, Brian. 1997. The ambiguity of play. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Sylvester, Tynan. 2013. Designing games: A guide to engineering experiences. Beijing: O’Reilly.Google Scholar
  49. Ubisoft Montréal. 2008. Prince of Persia. Montreal: Ubisoft.Google Scholar
  50. Williams, Raymond. 1974. Television: Technology and cultural form. London: Routledge (1990).Google Scholar
  51. Wikipedia. 2018a. Assassin’s Creed (Video Game). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin%27s_Creed_(video_game). Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  52. Wikipedia. 2018b. Dynamic game difficulty balancing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_game_difficulty_balancing. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  53. Wikipedia. 2018c. Prince of Persia (2008 Video Game). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Persia_(2008_video_game). Accessed 23 Nov 2018.
  54. Zimmerman, Eric. 2004. Narrative, interactivity, play, and games: Four naughty concepts in need of discipline. In First person: New media as story, performance, and game, ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan, 154–164. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KlagenfurtAustria

Personalised recommendations