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A Game of Ones Own: Towards a New Regendered Poetics of Digital Space. Ludica. Jacquelyn Ford Morie USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Celia Pearce Georgia Institute of Technology. Tracy Fullerton USC School of Cinematic Arts. Ludica.

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slide1

A Game of Ones Own:Towards a New RegenderedPoetics of Digital Space

Ludica

Jacquelyn Ford Morie

USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Celia Pearce

Georgia Institute of

Technology

Tracy Fullerton

USC

School of Cinematic Arts

slide2

Ludica

A women’s game collective devoted to creating a more gender-inclusive environment for game research, art, design and education.

slide3

“Je Suis l’esacpe ou je suis.”

“I am the place where I am.”

—Noël Arnaud,

L’Etat d’ebauch

slide4

Virginia Woolf, A Space of Ones Own (1928)

  • Opening description of being blocked from Oxbridge Library due to her gender
  • Described unique approaches by women writers,
  • Presented notion of “androgynous mind” to describe literature that
slide5

Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

  • Discussion of different types of space in literature
  • Heavy emphasis on domestic space
  • Heavy emphasis on enclosed space, e.g., cupboards, wardrobes drawers, shells
  • Also discusses issues of scale
slide7

Space is socially constructed

  • Reveals priorities, perceptions of prevailing culture and time
  • Video games have resolved into largely a spatial medium (from prior traditions in 2D, side-scrollers) (Murray, Aarseth, Konzak, Pearce)
  • Game Space is overwhelmingly:
  • Western
  • Cartesian
  • Male
slide8

“The defining element is computer games is spatiality.”

  • - Aarseth
  • It is the difference between the spatial representation and real space that makes game rules possible.
  • Space in videogames is allegorical, a “figurative comment on the impossibility of representing real space.”
  • Unreality of these landscapes is due also to their inherent usefulness for certain types of gameplay.
slide9

“The basic feminine impulse is to gather, to put together, to construct; the basic masculine impulse is to scatter, to disseminate, to destroy.  It seems to give pleasure to a man to bang something and drive it from him; the harder he hits it and the farther it goes the better pleased he is.”

She also points out…

“…the universal dominance of the projectile.”

—Charlotte Perkins-Gilman,

The Man-Made World (1911)

slide10

Dangerous and Contested Spaces

“Every game of Myth is a fight for position in the landscape.”

—Aarseth

slide11

Space as colonial domain to be conquered

Age of Empires III

Civilization

slide12

Space as tactical domain for combat

Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike

Half-Life

slide13

Levels and Secrets

Adventure

“Easter Egg”

Super Mario Bros

“Minus World”

slide14

Girls in Boyland

We need to open up more space for girls to join–or play alongside–the traditional boy culture down by the river, in the old vacant lot, within the bamboo forest. Girls need to learn how to explore 'unsafe' and 'unfriendly' spaces, and to experience the 'complete freedom of movement' promised by the boys’ games, if not all the time, then at least some of the time, to help them develop the self-confidence and competitiveness demanded of professional women. They also need to learn how, in the words of a contemporary bestseller, to 'run with the wolves' and not just follow the butterflies. Girls need to be able to play games where Barbie gets to kick some butt.

—Henry Jenkins,

From Barbie to Mortal Kombat

slide16

Secret Places

A secret place always has aspects of a ‘removed’ existence, being a place that, physically or mentally, it is created for retreat, intimacy, enclosure, screening, and protection. These often are places of power and control that cannot be known or invaded by ‘outside’ forces.” 

—Frances Downing, Remembrance and the Design of Place

The Secret Garden

slide17

Enchanted Spaces

Mary Poppins

Oz

Narnia

Alice in Wonderland

slide18

Domestic Spaces

Pride & Prejudice

Little Women

slide19

Constructing &

Cultivating Space

slide20

Doll Houses & Gardens

Animal Crossing

The Sims

Okami

slide21

Constructing Community

Second Life

There.com

slide22

Social Spaces

Uru

World of Warcraft

slide24

Virtual Reality as

Regendered Play Space

slide25

Placeholder

Brenda Laurel & Rachel Strickland (1993)

slide26

Virtual Adventures: The Loch Ness Expedition

Celia Pearce for Iwerks and Evans & Sutherland (1993)

slide27

Memory Stairs

Jacquelyn Ford Morie (2004-Present)

slide28

Detour: Brain Deconstruction Ahead

Rita Addison w/ Marcus Thiebaux and David Zeltzer (1993)

slide29

Conclusion

  • Mainstream game industry has evolved primarily around male models of space and agency.
  • We advocate, after Woolf, a movement toward an “androgynous mind” for game design
  • Such a move would create a more egalitarian approach to play space that engages girls and women and also expands the richness of game space for men and boys
slide30

Digital Arts and Culture 2007

Perth, Australia

Tracy Fullerton: tfullerton@cinema.usc.edu

Celia Pearce: celia.pearce@lcc.gatech.edu

Jacquelyn Ford Morie: morie@ict.usc.edu