[Literary Games Group] 24/3/21 – Boundaries, Dreams, and Systems

Hi everyone,
This week we went over Chapter 6 of Ensslin’s Literary Gaming. We talked a lot about the antiludicity of games – that is, the way we can challenge how games get us to play them, and how, with that knowledge, we can subvert games as objects to be played. This involved a bit of discussion around pushing the boundaries in games, how we can play them as the developers did not intend them to be played – or if you wanted to push further, you could mod or cheat the game. As we push the boundaries, we find out whether the developers put in safety nets or difficulty barriers to stop people from breaking the game. As we discovered, quite often you can find a way to outsmart games – in this instance, we discussed Pathologic and Skyrim – simply by playing them in an unexpected way – though sometimes the game becomes traditionally unplayable as a result.

We also had a bit of discussion around the idea of griefing, of destroying another player’s works or of pushing past a certain boundary and causing another real person some form of distress through the actions undertaken in a virtual world. This can range from something as simple and “disconnected” from a real person as getting to areas in games that are supposed to be developer-only through exploits and glitches, or something as harmful as the hostile takeover of another person’s avatar and making them perform horrible actions.

Next week’s reading is Chapter 7 from Ensslin’s book. We will meet at the same time – 1pm on a Tuesday (in this instance, the 30th), in room 1W4 in the Arts Building. We are still playing The Dream Machine, though we are also preparing to move on to another game, and discussing possibilities for those games. One of those is The Outer Wilds.

Hope to see you round soon!

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