Spiel-Kultur-Wissenschaften LIVE!

Wenn Ihr die Köpfe hinter den Digitalen Gesprächen bei Spiel-Kultur-Wissenschaften live erleben wollt, kommt doch einfach hier vorbei:

Konflikt, Konsum, Kontrolle: Wie digitale Spiele der Gesellschaft den Spiegel vorhalten.

Und wenn Ihr Arno, Eugen oder mich langweilig finden solltet…da gibt es genug SpeakerInnen, die derbst rocken!

 

CfP FROG 2017

Wolfenstein: The New Order as a player-centric continuation of dystopian narrative traditions

Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) is a best-selling video game and first person shooter following a saturnine premise: It’s 1960 and Nazi Germany not only is ruling earth ruthlessly but has also build a lunar high tech base. Alternative fiction dealing with the Endsieg of the Hitler regime has proven to be very popular in the last years: The Man in the High Castle, Iron Sky or The Plot against America are two successful examples of counter-factual media products.

These afore-mentioned instances go hand in hand with a dystopian narrative tradition that has been established in the 20th century by authors such as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley or Jewgeni Samjatin. The writers’ artistic world design concentrates upon totalitarian states that put elaborate methods of pressure on the individual’s autonomy in order to suppress their unfolding and blooming as a zoon politikon. Wolfenstein: The New Order also taps into that kind of world building and its typical components. Thereby it is fostering the dystopian tradition. But it also transcends and thereby enhances it by its ludological experience of gameplay.

Following the arguments of Mark J.P. Wolf and Bernard Perron the actions the player can carry out out while playing a game provide a layer of perspective in order to understand who the player is inside the game as well as to grasp what they are able to do. Their experience through their abilities and actions not only builds up their expectations inside the game world but it also sets their understanding of impact she or he has on the game state.

Not only did the critically-acclaimed title create a dystopian narration by its marketing campaign and in-game storytelling but also by taking-away the player’s control over the protagonist at a certain point of he game. Hence the player becomes an agenda-less pawn in the hands of the gameworld falling in line with the ‚finest’ dystopian tradition. Taken all together my talk therefore aims to describe and explain marketing, storytelling and game mechanics in Wolfenstein: The New Order as a powerful set of tools for the ludic dystopification of a medium that is centered around a human player.

(356 words)

SHORT

The developers and publishers of Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) skillfully use marketing campaigning, in-game as well as cut scene storytelling, and game mechanics to set up a continuation of dystopian narrative traditions established in the 20th century. Media following these patterns focus upon the politics of anti-individualization and the transformation of the political human entity into a agenda-less spectator and heeler.

Antwort auf CfP: Playing the Field: Video Games and American Studies

Wolfenstein: The New Order as a playful continuation of dystopian narrative traditions

70 years after it ended, World War II still is a lastingly shaping event in global public history. In the United States, the image of a “Good War” stands strong, and the soldiers are remembered as national heroes, as the dedication of the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in D.C. shows as much as Hollywood movies. This national narrative of moral self-confidence and unity therefore frequently is subject of American Studies’ curricula.

Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) is a best-selling video game and first person shooter with a saturnine premise: It’s 1960 and Nazi Germany is ruling earth ruthlessly. Alternative fiction dealing with the Endsieg has proven to be popular in the last years: The Man in the High Castle or The Plot against America are two successful examples of counter-factual media products.

These afore-mentioned instances go hand in hand with a dystopian narrative tradition that has been established in the 20th century by authors such as Orwell or Samjatin. The writers’ artistic world design concentrates upon totalitarian states that put pressure on the individual’s autonomy in order to suppress their unfolding and blooming as a zoon politikon.

Wolfenstein: The New Order also taps into that kind of world building and its typical components. Thereby it is fostering the dystopian tradition. But it also transcends it by its
ludological experience of gameplay. Not only did the critically-acclaimed title create a dystopian narration by its marketing campaign and in-game storytelling but also by taking-away the player’s control over the protagonist. Hence the player becomes an agenda-less pawn in the hands of the gameworld.

Taken all together my talk therefore aims to describe and explain marketing, storytelling and game mechanics in Wolfenstein: The New Order as a powerful set of tools for the ludic dystopification of a medium.

(299 words)

CfP beantwortet: „Violent Urbanscapes: Urban Poverty and Violence in Videogames as Functional Stereotypes“

Zu dritt für die gute Sache – folgenden Call for Papers galt es zu beantworten:

http://widerscreen.fi/about-widerscreen/

//Eugen Pfister, Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre History, Austrian Academy of Science
//Rudolf Inderst, Chief Editor Resort Games at Nahaufnahmen.ch
//Arno Görgen, Department of the History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University, Dusseldorf

Cities in digital games are more often than not represented as urban structures in aesthetic, sociopolitical and moral decay. Apparently, they were designed with the singular aim to confront the players with violence and poverty, not only as an aesthetic or narrative device but also to implement a game mechanic for conflict. In terms of game mechanics, the city – as an arena for the player – offers the developers many advantages like its natural spatial limitation as well as opportunities to construct mazes or routes for the player’s transition. In terms of the game world, the mis-en-scène of cities can tap a seemingly infinite back catalog of aesthetic and narrative traditions of popular knowledge to bring the journey of the player to life and to create an evocative space, which naturalizes the artificial environment.

Negative imageries of the city are used to create an immersive environment in which the stigma of an impoverished, ‘violent urbanscape’ is semantically refigured and functionalized in terms of creating the illusion of authenticity for the player. In our paper, we want to investigate, how these representations of the city differ between different game genres. After a theoretical introduction to ‘urbanscapes’ in games, their functions and forms, we will present two specific examples of genre-
specific imaginations of violence, poverty, and decay in fictionalized urban environments:

While beat’em ups instrumentalize comparable subcultural aesthetics and imaginative perceptions of older action movies of the 1970s and 1980s, role playing games and action-adventures often implement imaginations which rather build on dominant historicized class stereotypes of urban poverty and violence. In both cases, the aesthetical design of the games aims at the same functional idea: to evoke a need of the player to spatially overcome the critical situation by changing the causes of the negative urban surroundings.