In trying to sort out where the gap in knowledge is, the one that I’ll be aiming to fill as my “contribution to knowledge” in my field, I’ve had a bit of a hard time. Part of it is that I think I keep missing the mark with my searches (though my Google-fu is usually sufficient). Part of it is that I’m intimidated. I can’t possibly be coming up with somethign that no one else in the whole wide world hasn’t come up with before.
Which makes my literature review … difficult for me to tackle. I’m already behind the 8-ball reacquainting and just plain old acquainting myself with all kinds of terminology and methods in fields I’m familiar with intuitively, but not rigorously academically. In class today the idea given to me was this: find dudes who are talking about things related enough to your field, but with whom you disagree.
Blindingly smart. This forces me to defend my arguments. I have to articulate why I feel things. It’s confronting, and confrontations often leave me in anxious states. But today, after reading a Henry Jenkins article (“Game Design as Narrative Architecture,” here), I’ve found my first source.
Greg Costikyan. I do not agree with his notions on story, nor do I agree with his assertion that “story is the antithesis of game” (from “Where Stories End and Games Begin,” which is available online from Costikyan’s site, but which seems to be plagued with some malware troubles, so click at your own risk.)
Yes. There certainly are games that contain no story element to them, no narrative (I’m still having a bugger of a time understanding the mechanical/academic differences between story and narrative, though James Phelan is helping), and that’s absolutely fine. Checkers, Tetris. I enjoy them, and have no difficulty admitting they’re games.
But so is Mass Effect.
While my final project will not likely have an interactive element that’s as direct as the audience controlling a character in the story, there are still very important issues being brought up at the intersection of games studies and narratology that I need to own.
Gah, my reading list never ends.
- Myth of the talking ball – a brief history of ludology (weeklyrift.com)
- Cover Story: Narrative in Games (1up.com)