COM 537 Schedule for September 5 Housekeeping Recap from last week Meet the authors Close readings of Stone article Break Mini-lecture Early representations of cyberspace & gaming
Housekeeping Staying safe Since this course ends at 8:45, we are ineligible for NCSU’s Safety Escort Service (10 pm to 4 am). Please consider walking to (your car, the bus stop, etc.) with a buddy/colleague from class.
Housekeeping For September 12 (and for the rest of the course) Send me your notes for each weekly task by Tuesday evening.
Housekeeping September 19 In TWO WEEKS you’ll be bringing your Final Project Proposals to class. 5% of your final mark for the review workshop we’ll be doing. Consider doing a conference panel presentation with instructor & other colleagues for the Pop Culture Association / American Culture Association conference, March 30, 2013, in Washington DC
Housekeeping September 26 In THREE WEEKS we’ll have time in class to do the Portfolio Assignment “Under the microscope”. Those of you who want to do this assignment will be conducting mini audiovisual ethnographies on those who aren’t doing this assignment. So think of the games & systems you want to use & start “recruiting participants”.
Housekeeping SEND ME DRAFTS of portfolio work! You should be getting your portfolio assignments underway already. For those doing “PublicDisplaysof Gaming”, consider doing a series of observations of the gaming area in the Hill Library Learning Commons.
2. Recap from last week Actor-Network Theory • ANT gives us a conceptual framework for examining the co-constitutive relationships between humans, tools, symbols, laws/policies, contexts, etc. that characterize gameplay • Agnostic in terms of scale (e.g. nothing is macro/micro – just a series of relationships connecting us over time and place) and in terms of ontology (e.g. we are as much ‘acted on’ as we are ‘actors’ in a given context)
2. Recap from last week Assemblage • Comes from French social theory / philosophy (Deleuze) • As a unit of analysis - used to describe the contingent & dynamic relationships between ‘things that act on each other’ • Difficult to delimit & define in practice (i.e. in empirical studies of gameplayers)
2. Recap from last week Post-humanism • Humans no longer regarded as exempt from, or above, non-human processes and systems • Individuals no longer regarded unitary & static entities
2. Recap from last week Cybernetic circuits • A way of looking at video gameplay in particular as a set of actions circulating between player(s), the game hardware, and the game itself
3. This week’s authors A virtual book-signing in Second Life Julian Dibbell Journalist writing on Internet communities -- Play Money (2006)
3. This week’s authors Richard Bartle Co-creator of “MUD1”, the first Multi-User Dungeon
3. This week’s authors Alluquere Roseanne “Sandy” Stone “The ”Empire" Strikes Back: A Posttransexual Manifesto” and “The Cross-Dressing Psychiatrist”
4. Close reading of “Will the real body please stand up?” Section 1: Philip and Eric From “The Machines are Restless Tonight” to “A Virtual Systems Origin Myth” Section 2: Hannah, Tatyana and Nathan Epochs 1-4 Section 3: Myron and Cristiane Decoupling the body and the subject
4. Close reading of “Will the real body please stand up?” Working on your specific section, provide the following: • 250 word summary of section • Key quote • Problematic words/phrases (and their definitions) • Ask a question of the section
Cyberspace in the 1980’s & 90’s: The New Digital Frontier? Sherry Turkle’s (1995) “Life on the screen”: we can “reinvent” ourselves online “The physical world… is a place where identity and position of the people you communicate with are well known, fixed, and highly visual. In cyberspace, everybody is in the dark” (Kitchin, 1998) Enthusiasts saw “cyberspace” as a place of possibilities where “RL” inequities (based on race, class, sex, ability) were erased
Anxieties – and transgressions – around identities & interactions in arenas where “real life” bodies are invisible (and selves are represented through text/graphics) • The “cross-dressing psychiatrist”: male psychiatrist posing online as a female quadriplegic • Blogger behind “A gay girl in Damascus” actually a 40-year old white college student from Georgia
The architecture of MUDs A ‘virtual world’ communicated & represented entirely through words on the screen The world is made up of a bunch of rooms/areas (or descriptions of rooms/areas) through which players travel by typing in commands: - “Attack dragon.” - “Go through western door.”’ http://www.edge-online.com/features/making-mud
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs, or just MMO or MMOG) Guild Wars 2
A (superficial) look at various role-playing media Check out http://www.raphkoster.com/2011/11/30/3-part-video-history-of-mmos/
Richard Bartle in an interview with EDGE magazine (2009): “Text is more expressive than graphics. It’s also more descriptive – there are no smells in EverQuest.” “With text, I can talk to the mind. With graphics, I can only talk to the senses. I can get more depth out of text than I ever could out of graphics. I think text can be more evocative overall than graphics, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think graphics can’t be evocative, or that in some areas their evocativeness can’t exceed that of text.”
Virtual representation: Creation vs selection MUDs: “legba, a Haitian trickster spirit of indeterminate gender, brown-skinned and wearing an expensive pearl gray suit, top hat, and dark glasses” (Dibbell) MMOs:F or M Skin colour Race Class Cosmetic appearance Guild Wars 2
Current research on MMOGs:The notion that virtual environments are somehow ‘separate’ from everyday life still persists • Quantitative research focuses on what avatar appearance and interactions reveal about the player • Avatar / player relationship is assumed to be 1 : 1 – what THE avatar says about THE player • Context – either the design of the game or the material conditions of players’ lives – is often disregarded • Qualitative research focuses on how MMOG play fits into players’ everyday lives, how players negotiate, appropriate and mess around with game rules and narratives, and how their identities and relationships are transformed through online play
7. Early representations of gaming and/or cyberspace Lawnmower Man (1992) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCxFGxqLsHE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd81KPuENyI&feature=related