Date of Award

1-1-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Digital Media Studies

First Advisor

Christopher Coleman

Second Advisor

Laleh Mehran

Keywords

game, network, new media, technology, videogame, video game

Abstract

Videogames have historically used networking either to connect players for competition or cooperation or to provide an ephemeral connection to allow the upload, comparison, or assessment of single-player achievement data. The majority of videogames take place on a screen and on established platforms each of which have physical, technical, and sociocultural constraints that dictate how a player will interact. Recent art games, such as those by Jason Rohrer and the Atari VCS games of Ian Bogost highlight experiments in a more focused use of the medium from concept to interaction, both between the player and the software but also foregrounding the code (both social codes and actual software) of the games. These artists are part of a growing movement of videogame creators that are involved not only as designers but also as cultural critics invested in the analysis of platforms and the distribution of their games.

This thesis documents the development and exhibition of Gaming the Network Poetic, a series of five videogames developed by the author. This was itself an experiment in both the use of networking and in the exhibition of a cohesive art object incorporating these games. The work is then contextualized through the analysis of game-based art movements, the contemporary independent (or "Indie") games movement, and contemporary software/code-based art. Also, given that much of the theory around videogames is rooted in literary criticism, philosophy, and cultural history, these disciplines are also referenced throughout the discussion.

Further, this thesis will address questions about the aesthetic, mechanical, and audience-related considerations of developing and installing videogames in a contemporary art space that shows mostly static work. What roles does the audience play in such an environment? How can videogames create meaning? How does one communicate emotion through a single videogame? How does the open networking of several videogames quickly add complexity, and how can that complexity be managed? What are the issues involved in choosing particular hardware and software platforms on which to present the work?

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Joshua Fishburn

File size

108 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Fine arts

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