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Online journal for games

January 7th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

The inaugural issue of Games and Culture is available online.

As a survivor of the academic world (and still a hanger on), part of me rejoices to see an academic journal devoted to game studies – ludology if you prefer the fancy word.

As a gamer, I am confident that none of this university provided criticism will have any impact on the range of game opportunities provided for me. How much has film criticism affected Hollywood? How often has literary criticism pushed novelists in new directions?

None of this is meant to suggest that ludology is not important. All human activity is probably worthy of study, and for a select audience this type of analysis will help make sense (or ascribe artificial meaning) to a major form of entertainment.

My concern is that ludology will fall into the trap of analyzing the easy. Human interactions within MMO worlds, race/gender in games, narrative structures, etc. All these subtexts of gaming have established parallels in the academic community. Moving sociology, race/gender studies and literary theory to the gaming world doesn’t create new tools for analysis or a new way of understanding gaming. Just as you cannot simply take the language of book criticism and apply it to film, shifting the subject matter without changing the language could lead to a lot of dead ends in ludology.

From the articles I have read, it is not easy to determine if the authors are “gamers” or not. There is clearly some familiarity with the form, but whether this familarity is in fact a deep passion for the media is another matter altogether. Not that I know how many hours qualifies one to speak intelligently about gaming.

I will bookmark the journal and maybe print out a few of the articles. Since this blog is really the only place I get to pretend that I am still a scholar, maybe I’ll even wax philosophical about an article or two.


One Comment so far ↓

  • Darius Kazemi

    I would argue that while academic film criticism almost never impacted Hollywood directly, it has had a profound impact on art film, and in turn indie film. And the occasional indie film does “break out” and affect Hollywood in a big way.

    (Steven Soderbergh is the sort of academic-ish indie film maker gone mainstream that I’m talking about.)