Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher Coleman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laleh Mehran, MFA

Third Advisor

Rafael Fajardo

Fourth Advisor

Adrienne Russell

Fifth Advisor

Scott Howard


Game, Network, New media, Technology, Videogame, Video game


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?

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Joshua A. Fishburn


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

108 p.


Fine arts

Included in

Fine Arts Commons