Welcome dear participants.
We are continuing our discussion of games studies in this module also.
I would begin the discussion by reporting to an interesting book by a Dutch historian
and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga.Johan Huizingaís book.Homo Ludens is important in the history of gaming studies.This work has influenced later scholars in the field and particularly Roger Caillo iswhose work is also quite important when we try to understand the phenomena of his studies from a historical perspective.This book discusses the important of the play element in our society and culture.According to him play his older than culture because play has always been a part of human society.Whereas our study of culture has to presuppose the existence of the human society.So according to Huizinga play is primary to the generations of culture as well as it isan indispensable condition of human culture.The word Ludens is a Latin word which is a present active participle of the verb ludere which itself is cognate with the noun ludus.Ludus perhaps does not have any direct equivalent in English because itsimultaneously it refersto sport play school and practice.The absence of an exact synonym also cautions us to the cultural connotations of a words meaning.So why do we have to study computer games now as a part of a cultural study courses.So, there is a phenomena of massive cultural input in the contemporary times as far as the computer and video games are concerned.
It is not only that they have become a cultural product for the consumption of a common man.But at the same time they are also the fastest growing entertainment industry.The estimated turnover of this industry is around 20 billion worldwide.So we have arcade games consoles video games, smart phone games, free online games.The gamification and the climate of games or the Ludy culture has become so dominant in other times that we have already started talking about the eyeball hours phenomena and we find that more and more children are spending time on computer games.And parents and educationist and doctors are very worried about this.So Games are the new lively art as Jenkins has tried to define them.So, they are technologically economically aesthetically, socially as well as culturally important in todays climate.Jenkins argued that games are the crucial medium for the growing rise of digital interactive culture.It is a rapid proliferation of mass market consumer software in the field of gaming.So, we have serious games, pervasive games, alternate reality games or playful designs or a long list of variations which are available today.What are the objectives of the game studies? Is to study how and why computer games are able to transform the understanding of as well as the construction of personal and socio cultural identities. At the same time, we try to study the impact of multiplayer online role playing games, the historical simulation games and the first person shooter games on the psyche and the interaction of people who are playing it.The computer games the digital technologies like smart phones Internet and social media enable the creation of playful goals and identities also.It is also suggested that gamified applications provide insight into novel, gameful phenomena which is complementary to playful phenomena.
And we find that in this attempt of definition Sebastian Deterding has differentiated between these two words gainful and playful.So these are the two components of game studies.We can also refer to a playful identities project.
This was a research project which was financed by the Dutch Organization for scientific research.And if we look at the abbreviation in Dutch language it reads like NWO.So according to this project digital technologies seem to stimulate playful goals and the play element in our culture is now becoming dominant.It also tried to study the factors that led to the ludification of contemporary culture.And in a way it carried forward the arguments of Johan Huizing as given in his book HomoLudens.
The subtitle of the project from narrative to Ludic Self-Construction refers to a radical
shift of postmodern culture from a prevailing narrative ontology to a predominantly ludic
one.Certain other currents which are becoming dominantly present now are the combination of conceptual philosophy called media theoretical and qualitative empirical approach to study this emerging field.So we can say that there is a co-existence of narrative and ludic elements in hybrid forms in new media cultures.
The theory of ludic identity critically reconfigures Paul Ricoeurís work on narrative identity.And emphasis on media practices which immersed in keeping with the features of new media.There is also an appropriation as well as domestication of new technologies by people and we find that the media technology today is becoming more approachable and more and more interactive also.As we had seen in our discussions on culture and how they were two different approaches in the beginning of the cultural studies which were being promoted in UK.And simultaneously in US. In the same manner we find that the two different approaches towards game studies are being encouraged in Europe and in America happened to be quite different.So we find that European game studies have an intellectual top down perspective whereas
the American game studies are based on a bottom up dialogue with game designers the game industry and fans. So we find that this debate is now going on in the field of gaming studies whereas in the 1960s and early 70s it used to be debated in the context of culture industries. It is also pertinent to refer to an ongoing debate on the nature of game studies or which is known as Aarseth-Jenkins debate.These two writers and critics have taken up to slightly different approaches towards game studies and it is interesting to study them in a slightly deeper manner.So as per Aarseth as well as Henry Jenkins agree that the word game is not well defined in academia and they agree that general definitions of the term game are not exactly useful.And there is a need to distinguish different genres of game.For example, Games which are played for fun are different from simulated learning games or they are also different from serious games for example. At the same time, we find that Aarseth suggests that we have to distinguish between games in general as well as the mediated games.Dolf Zillmann had defined this need for precision in game studies as a stratificationí.Jenkins has attributed the problem inherent in defining games studies do we lack consensus over certain questions like should we focus on what is most game like or most media like or most the story like or more spatial, more character driven or generative or more ideological. So according to him unless and until we are able to find out answers to these questions these bionomical debates and these differences would continue to exist.Both Aarseth and Jenkins admit that to understand the field of game studies as a discourse between ludologists and narratologist is a gross simplification. It is primarily a fallacy which limits the field and at the same time it allows us to read computer games as hybrid texts to emphasize the multifaceted and interdisciplinary character of game studies. According to Jenkins new empirical evidence should stimulate game researchers and theorists to edit modify and refine their research objectives goals and agendas. Aarseth argues that narratology is not exactly a good model for studying or understanding computer games.According to him there is a transitional phase still going on in the development of various study of games.So there is a paradigm shift which is to be involved here. There is a need for studying computer games as a new discipline. Because they have been colonized by cinema and literary studies.And unless and until we are able to free them from the impact of the research methodologies of cinema and other literary studies we would not be able to focus on game studies properly.He also rules out narratology as an outdated paradigm and he suggests that the new theories and models have to be developed in order to enhance the academic discipline further.In comparison to asset we find that Jenkins has argued in favour of adopting a middle ground position. So he advocates the adoption of competing frameworks of interpretations and he says that this should enable us to examine games less as stories then as a space the ripe with narrative possibility and he thinks that narratology and ludology are equally productive and we should not think in either or terms. Another work which has to be mentioned in this context was published in 2005. Homo Ludens 2.0: Play, Media and Identity by Frissen, Lammes, Lange and Raessens. It has focused on Ludification of digital media cultures.This work talks about digital identity and demonstrates how the actual playful technologies which have been embraced worldwide with great enthusiasm in the past decades have also affected our identities. And however identities cannot be separated from them.They also critically look at the theory of play as suggested earlier by Johan Huizinga in 1955 and they particularly review certain definitions which have been put forward by him. A central claim of Huizinga was that culture and civilization arise in and as play and never leaves it.He further headset that play is free in fact it is freedom. And he also says that play is not ordinary or real life.Huizinga has also said that play is distinct from ordinary life with respect to both locality and duration and suggested that it is not that play creates order.It is order it demands absolute in supreme order and it is also not connected with any material interest as we cannot gain any profit out of it.So in this book these critics suggest that we have to upgrade Huizinga's theory in the era of digital technologies.So whereas for Huizinga play and technology were complete opposites.We find that they have come together in todays world. So the connection between the ludic dimension and the medium is specific qualities of media and digital technologies have to be foregrounded now.So the multimodality, virtuality, interactivity and connectivity of media and games and also their interactions with our everyday life have to be understood in a fresh manner.And therefore the concept of Homo Ludens 2.0: Play and Technology are deeply entwined and both play and technology are derived from the same ludic dimensions. A critical elaboration of Huizinga is also taken up by Caillois in his work.Caillois had introduced certain other categories like chance and vertigo which help us in changing our perception and had also introduced two different attitudes to play. And the titles he had suggested for these two attitudes are by paidia and ludus.
Paidia is the amorphous and the spontaneous activity.It is active, it is a spontaneous it is exuberant.And if we look at the exiguity of this word we find that it comes very close to that of the state of a child.So the playfulness is inherent in the interpretation of the word paidia.Ludus on the other hand refers to the organized and rule governed activities with clear rules calculation contrivance and also is subordination to rules and regulations.So we find that Caillois has been able to isolate these two attitudes towards play that is by paidia and ludus and this classification would have a significant impact on the later day theorists. Cailliois has defined that play has six elements and these are free which is non-obligatory, separate, uncertain because the results are not known beforehand.It is also unproductive because it is an event which does not create wealth or good for anybody.
It is also fictive and then it is also not ruled bound.So his contribution to the definition of play is significant.He had suggested that we have to incorporate material considerations also if we have to develop this new field of the study further.He had suggested that play is different precisely because it does not lead to economic productivity.It simply expense and redistributes resources but this exchange if it affects anybody it is only the players.No one else gets affected by them so he has also suggested that the patterns or basic themes of culture.Can be easily inferred from the study of play and games in the same manner in which they can be inferred from this study of economic, political, religious or familial institutions.So we find that Huizingaís as well as Caillois elaboration of his ideas are significant milestones in our understanding of the game is studies as they take place today.He is also Supplemented Ricoeurís theory of narrative identity with the theory of ludic identity construction which explains how both play and Games are currently appropriate metaphors for human identity as well as the very means by which people reflexively construct their identity. So now we can say that the digital gaming experience leads to the negotiation of identity which is based on two drives.The first drive is the need to be different and the second is the need for finding meaning in our lives.And we find that digital gaming experience is able to provide us both.
Within digital cultures games exist as a realm of aesthetic rethinking and pleasure.
So there is an expression of subconscious and psycho analytical drives in virtual identities.So the tendency towards autonomy, freedom and change get an expression in a virtual world.It is also a medium where self-persistence of reality can be fulfilled or forgotten and both these possibilities simultaneously co-exist.So ludification is a term which is important for us to understand in the context of Game studies.So it has been termed as a major social and cultural phenomenon is subset or at the same time a consequence of what was in the 90s called the postmodern turn.Seidman also questions us that this concept is valid only in western culture and economy.It is still not a universal concept and he suggests that science of postmodernity a revisible in processes of de-differentiation.That is the breakdown of boundaries between social institutions and cultural spheres and de-territorialisation of national economies and cultures.The term ludification describes the spread of play as a routine activity in everyone ís life.The term is derived from the word ludic and -ification.Ludic as we have seen is the Latin word for to play.Ludo means playful and ludification expresses the process of becoming playful and it also describes a society in which play has become a centric element now.Caillois definition of several categories of play along the spectrum of paidia and ludus become important now. When we look at Ludification having two different aspects Ludification suggests our society in which play is central and also our society in which games play a significant role.So Caillois distinction between paidia and ludus is now being reinforced by contemporary work. Ludification of culture suggest that play and games are transforming into key elements of law knowledge customs beliefs art and mortality.So the relationship between play and culture through its association with war poetry, law and philosophy as suggested by Huizinga is now being reinforced. So play is not only a part of the civilizing processes it had pre-existed culture and it had helped in creating culture. And now we find that these associations are coming closer. Caillois had argued that playing reveals the character pattern and well use of every society.Brian Sutton-Smith also goes a step further when he suggests that it is not only the play but also the rituals festivals jokes and traveling which are forms of play.But what about games? We have been talking about plays and the activity of plays but how about games? Law custom and knowledge are tightly connected with the notion of goals which is also a defining element of games according to Salen and Zimmerman.So Eric Zimmerman has remarked that we are living in a looted age.In 2008 he had made this claim and later on he had argued that the 21st century would be the ludic century. And as he has suggested it is the interest in advertising which is especially productive for games. And then he has also talked about the simultaneity of the Ludic Age and the technological age which has been also talked about by almost every other critic and writer. So now we find that the word ludic is now being used as an adjective to characterize new fields of knowledge. For example, Bill gave us new approach to design has been called the ludic design. So we find that the technology is also changing its association and we are now looking at the capacity of technology not only to fulfil the basic needs but also to fulfil the ludic needs the creation of spaces for pleasure and leisure activities. So we find that gamified apps digital media cultures are gaining ground on the one hand and on the other hand the word ludic is being used as an adjective to denote and characterize new fields of knowledge.So ludic designs as it has been associated with the work of Bill Gaver is linked the production of technology for purposes of leisure only.Gaver argues for the ludic possibilities which have been engendered by mobile phones. So we find that with mobile phones work can play is simultaneously becoming a possibility.So smartphones and mobile communication engenders greater interaction and virtuality.Mobile phones have turned into a ludic item because of the mobile games and therefore they are also becoming the responsible for the dominance of ludic culture and its consequent ubiquity. So we find that with the advent of new media interactive technology in the form of his smartphones tablets, iPads etc ludic technology is gaining ground and its also commanding its prisons in our psyche.Play now has become a key concept to understand the interaction of users with new media. It incorporates the concepts of control, immersion and performance and that this specific pleasure of play is contingent on these other three pleasures. A term which has originated in this context is gamification.It has originated in the digital media industry and the first documented use of the term gamification dates back to 2008 and by the time we reach 2010 we find that there is a wide spread adoption of this term.There have been parallel use of Toms also for example productivity games, surveillance entertainment, fun ware, playful designs behavioural Games, game layer or applied gaming.But we find that the term gamification has now become more popular in comparison to these parallel terms.So we find that there is a heavily contested topic in the realm of gaming studies and game industries. There is general disagreement over the current usage and interpretation.So we are not talking about general agreement we are talking about general disagreement over the current usage and interpretation of this term.There are also current industry uses which are talking about the increasing adoption of gamification.So gamification has been defined as the use ofí game design elements in non-game context by deteriorating etc. So gamification is the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to solve engage users or integrating game dynamics into your site, service, community content or campaign in order to drive participation.The idea is that games are designed to create an immersive experience for a long duration to sustain the interest of gamers and it is these characteristics which people want to apply to certain other non-game activities also. So as such game elements can also make other non-game products and services more enjoyable and engaging for the customers.So we find that vendors and consultants are describing the process of gamification in terms of client benefits now.And an interesting example is of all the location based service for the square which used game design elements to motivate and magnify user activity. So gamification can be understood as the adoption of game technology and game design methods outside of the game industry.And in this context it has gained popularity in interaction design as well as in digitalmarketing.At the same time, it has given rise to fierce debates and people are in favour of it as well as against it.And the spate of applications based on gamification are available now across sectors like health,finance, education, entertainment media and news.So gamification can also be defined as a software service layer of reward and reputation systems with points badges, levels, and leader boards.So it is a complex of game fullness, gameful interaction and gameful design.
These concepts are basically different from playfulness, playful interaction or designed
for playfulness.Firstly, we can say that the term gamification is related with games and it is not related with play or playful activities.In play we find that it is a loser and rather expensive category.It contains games but it also is basically different from games.In game studies, the difference between games and place goes back to Caillois concept of paidia and ludus.Paidia is related with playing which has more freedom which is more expressive which is improvisational and even tumultuous recombination of behaviours and meanings.Ludus on the other hand captures playing which is a structured by rules and therefore there is a competitive is strife towards goals.So gaming and games are thus contrasted from playing and toys based on a strict rule systems and the element of computation or is strife amongst players.Gamification applications focus exclusively on ludus rather than the free-form play. Gamefulness which is a term which is introduced by McGonigal is a complement to playfulness.It is different from playfulness and it is only to be taken as a compliment to playfulness. Playfulness denotes the experiential and behavioural qualities of playing whereas gainfulness denotes the qualities of gaming. So gainful interaction is related with artifacts affording that quality and gameful design is designing for gamefulness.Typically, by using game design elements. We can say that gamification refers to the use of design elements characteristic for games in non-game contexts.When we say use then we say that it is use rather than the expansion of certain things. It is also designed rather than game based technology or other game related practices. Elements are also different from full-fledged games. Characteristics for games are also different from play or playfulness.
And when we talk about non-game context then we say it regardless of its specific usage intentions, context or media of implementation.In this slide, we can see that the concept of ludification of culture has been explained by attempting to situate gamification in the larger field.So here we find that the Deterding and Sebastian have talked about serious games, other game elements, pervasive games etc and they have also tried to situate them in larger field figures.Gamification thus is understood as the application of game systems.That is competition, rewards quantifying player or user behaviour into those domains which are basically non-game.For example, work, productivity or fitness for example.Such practices are deeply problematic as they represent the capture of play in the pursuit of non-liberal rationalization and the managerial optimization of working life and labour.And at the same day we find that are playing games and play to social life is also central as a form of resistance against the regularity and is standardization of everyday behaviour.So I would conclude by saying that the arguments and counter arguments for game studies are interesting reminders of the early debates based on what has to be included in the cultural studies programs of various universities and what is to be left out.Thank you.
Log in to save your progress and obtain a certificate in Alison’s free Cultural Studies and Developments online course
Sign up to save your progress and obtain a certificate in Alison’s free Cultural Studies and Developments online course
Please enter you email address and we will mail you a link to reset your password.