Game Studies Roundup #6: Unendliche Weiten

Im jeden zweiten Dienstag erscheinenden Game Studies Roundup sammeln wir aktuelle Beiträge jeder Machart innerhalb der Game Studies oder aus für Game Studies jeglicher Hinsicht interessanten Inhalten. Egal ob lesens-, hörens- oder sehenswert: Diese Liste schafft Aufmerksamkeit für Projekte, bietet Quellen für eigene Projekte sowie eine dauerhaft nachschlagbare Kuration.

Future Unfolding. Quelle:
Future Unfolding. Quelle:

Alle Game Studies Roundups sind hier einsehbar. Interessante Themengebiete können über die jeder Quelle zugeordneten Science Tags komfortabel gesucht werden.

Why Dragon Age’s readiness to break with canon makes its lore much richer

Holly Nielsen,, 26.09.2017

But history is not an unchanging tome of information. History is constantly privy to the shifting perspectives of society, our unreliable memory, and new pieces of information suddenly shedding fresh light on a situation. For example the ancient city of Troy was widely assumed to not have existed until the excavations by Heinrich Schliemann in the late 19th century proved otherwise. It is a difficult thing to get across in a game, especially in a time when information is readily available at our fingertips – we are used to making queries in a search bar and getting a solid(ish) answer back immediately. Fan-made wikis and arguments over whether something is ‘canon’ only complicate matters. But whether intentional or not, BioWare have managed to work against this friction to create a fascinating example of historiography in Dragon Age, confidently changing its lore over different games in the RPG series, even daring to go against whatever one might consider canon in its games.

Zur Relevanz: Was wir Geschichte nennen besteht selten aus Fakten, sondern fast immer aus selektierten, subjektiven Überlieferungen. Oft hat das etwas mit der Nichtverfügbarkeit von entgegenstehenden Quellen zu tun. Dragon Ages Entwickler BioWare trauen sich, den Wandel von akzeptierter Historie, die Selektion von Quellen und das Lügen in der Spielwelt des aktuellen Teils Dragon Age: Inquisition zu beschreiben.

Science Tags: Geschichte, History, Narration, Erzählung


Comparing the stunning space vistas of Elite: Dangerous, No Man’s Sky and Space Engine to NASA images

Andreas Inderwildi,, 27.09.2017

As I’m writing this, the Cassini space probe, which left Earth in 1997 and arrived at Saturn and its moon in 2004, is about to end its mission by plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere. Unlike Batty’s experiences, what Cassini ’saw‘ about 1.2 billion kilometres away from Earth will not be lost like „tears in the rain“. Despite their beauty, the images captured by probes such as Cassini are small consolation for those of us who fantasise about visiting other planets. Roy Batty’s last words and Cassini’s images tickle the imagination and create an itch that is impossible to scratch, a longing for out-of-reach places. It doesn’t help that what humanity has explored so far of the universe, even with the help of robot eyes, is a fraction of a drop in the cosmic ocean.

Thanks to an inundation of sci-fi stories, the fantasy of space travel is more relatable than it has any right to be, and no medium is better suited to indulge that fantasy than games and simulated worlds. Computers have always been adept at simulating basic physics, and modern graphics and the procedural generation used to create near-infinite worlds has come along far enough to create planets with striking geological features and landscapes.

Zur Relevanz: Großartig bebildert mit NASA-Quellen erläutert Andreas Inderwildi Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede zwischen tatsächlichen Aufnahmen aus dem Weltall und den fiktiven Panoramen von Science Fiction-Spielen wie Elite: Dangerous, No Man’s Sky und Space Engine.

Science Tags: Science Fiction, Astronomy, Astronomie, NASA, Geology, Geologie, Photography, Fotografie


A Game Based on Real Stories of Torture Under Brazil’s 21-Year Dictatorship

Pedro Falcão,, 27.09.2017

A few kilometers away from Porto Alegre, the capital city of the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the Guaíba River waterway, there’s a spot popularly known as Prison Island. It was the place for several government ­installations—from gunpowder storage units for the army during 19th century to swine flu research labs in the 1940s—until it was finally converted into a prison for ordinary civilians and political convicts during the Brazilian Military Dictatorship. From its inauguration in the 1960s until it was shut down in 1983, the prison was the setting for countless tortures and homicides that, like many other similar cases from that macabre time period, were swept under the rug of Brazilian history.

Years later, a group of gaming students from Porto Alegre decided to recapitulate the events that occurred on Prison Island, with an unquestionably terrifying video game also called Prison Island.

Zur Relevanz: Wie sich unterdrückte Erinnerungen einer Nation in einem Videospiel aufarbeiten lassen, zeigt Pedro Falcão im Interview mit Nathália Cruz, einer der Entwicklerinnen hinter Prison Island. Das Spiel versucht, die Folter und Gefangenschaft auf der namensgebenden brasilianischen Insel ernsthaft im Stil eines Serious Games aufzuarbeiten.

Science Tags: Geschichte, History, Interview, Serious Game, Torture, Folter, Imprisonment


A Visual Guide to the Aegean Bronze Age in Doctor Who

Philip Boyes,, 25.09.2017

Most people probably don’t associate Doctor Who with the Aegean Bronze Age. I mean, why would you? They’ve only done two stories set there and one is entirely missing from the archives. But when you delve a bit more closely, there’s a thread of Bronze Age stuff running through from the very first episode and lasting at least until the end of seventies.

Zur Relevanz: Wie sich die frühen Staffeln der britischen Kultserie Doctor Who an historischen Motiven bedienen, erkundet Philip Boyes hier am Beispiel des ägäischen Bronzezeitalters. Gezeigt werden etwa architektonische Gemeinsamkeiten und als Requisiten genutzte historische Kunstwerke.

Science Tags: Geschichte, History, Doctor Who, Bronze Age, Bronzezeit


[Podcast] Music Respawn! In West Of Loathing, Ryan Ike’s Music Plays The Straightman

Kate Remington,, 02.10.2017

Ryan Ike says the writers of West of Loathing, a send-up of classic Western clichés, didn’t pass up any opportunities for jokes, so he decided to write his music as if it’s a serious Western as a foil for all the jokes. As we’ll hear though, he had lots of fun with his track titles, which include Sit fer a Spell, The Sticks for Hands Rag, and Please Buy Our Game. Breaking into the game industry can be a challenge, and getting that first gig as a composer even harder, so Ryan shared some great ideas about things that have worked for him, including hanging out and making friends with developers, and using as many live musicians as the budget allows.

Zur Relevanz: Ryan Ike, Komponist von Where the Water tastes like Wine und West of Loathing erzählt Kate Remington im Podcast von seinen Anfängen als Game-Composer und den kokreten Herausforderungen, vor denen er beim Comedy-Westernsetting von West of Loathing stand. Besonders für Musikologen sollte dieser Podcast viel Interessantes bieten.

Science Tags: Ludomusicology, Musicology, Musikologie, Musik, Game Design


Don’t Do Your Best: Goal Setting and Horizon:Zero Dawn

Jamie Madigan,, 02.10.2017

So you might be thinking, why not make discovering and trying as many strategies and approaches as possible the goal instead of setting a goal based on the outcomes? Wouldn’t that work better for these kinds of tasks? Good idea! In fact, setting these kinds of “learning goals” can be very effective for increasing performance because they encourage people to optimize and become even more confident in their abilities once they figure out the best ways to do something.

So, given all this, which approach should Guerrilla Games, the developers of Horizon: Zero Dawn, have taken to framing the hunting ground challenges? Well, let’s look to a specific, scientific study for answers.

Zur Relevanz: Wie nutzt Horizon: Zero Dawn seine spielbaren Herausforderungen, um Ziele zu setzen und Spielern Fähigkeiten beizubringen? Jamie Madigan erkundet diese Frage aus psychologischen Studien heraus und gibt Anreize, wie das Spiel noch bessere Ziele setzen könnte.

Science Tags: Psychology, Psychologie, Game Design, Challenge, Difficulty


The Folklore of Burly Men at Sea

Brooke Condolera,, 29.09.2017

Last year, we released a game called Burly Men at Sea, an adventure set in Scandinavian waters. To someone of my background, it seemed clear that a story in that setting should incorporate creatures from folklore, in some capacity. So we called it a “folktale adventure,” both for tone and theme, and I filled it with my own lighthearted version of lore from the far north.

In the game, we don’t identify most of the creatures encountered. That was an intentional choice: both to signify our characters’ inexperience and to keep the writing uncomplicated. But every creature in the game is drawn from actual folklore, primarily Scandinavian in origin. We did put our own twist on each, and avoided a few clichés skewed by pop culture, but we did our best to keep their mystery intact.

Here they are, in order of appearance.

Zur Relevanz: Brooke Condolera, Teil des Burly Men At Sea-Entwicklerteams Brain & Brain, erläutert die aus skandinavischen Mythen, Sagen und Märchen stammenden Inspirationen der im Spiel vorkommenden Fabelwesen.

Science Tags: Myths, Mythen, Märchen, Folktales, Fairytales


[Video] Dark Souls Lore: Izalith Translated

VaatiVidya,, 05.10.2017

Zur Relevanz: In gewohntem Detailreichtum spricht VaatiVidya über die in Dark Souls versteckten Hintergründe und die aus der Umgebung herauslesbaren versteckten Umstände. Dabei nutzt er unveröffentlichte Dialoge und die Arbeit mehrerer anderer Mitglieder der Dark Souls-Community als Quelle.

Science Tags: Game Design, Environmental Storytelling, Narration, Erzählung


Children Of The Anthropocene | Future Unfolding

Lewis Gordon,, 04.10.2017

Despite the bleak hubris and narcissism underpinning the term, these scientific efforts are facilitating a broader dawning ecological awareness. Eschewing the apocalyptic fatalism of its many contemporaries, Future Unfolding asks not what the world looks like after the deluge but before it. The game pulls off the temporal trick of transporting both player and setting back in time, adopting an almost childlike gaze of its seemingly edenic world. Inspired by designers Mattias Ljungström and Marek Plichta’s own experiences growing up in the Swedish and Polish countryside, dense forests of coniferous trees grow unchecked and its woodland floor is often carpeted with delicate red and yellow flowers. With such a shift in perspective—a reversion back to an earlier self—Future Unfolding asks us to assume a state of naivety and rediscover a sense of openness. With it, we might relearn our relationship with nature, unpick our assumptions and dissolve the hubris of our Anthropocene.

Zur Relevanz: Mit stark artistischem Fokus konzentriert sich Lewis Gordon auf Künstler und Kunstrichtungen, die sich in Spaces of Plays Spiel Future Unfolding finden lassen (Hinweis in eigener Sache: Über die Involvierungs- und Erzählmethodik von Future Unfolding schrieb ich hier).

Science Tags: Game Design, Visual Art, Narration


Wie moderne Konzepte klassischem Fantasy guttun können

Aurelia Brandenburg,, 08.10.2017

Daraus ergibt sich eine merkwürdige Spannung, die vor allem deshalb so paradox erscheint, weil sie die Frage aufwirft, warum Konzepte wie Demokratie in vielen Fällen eigentlich nur im Funny Fantasy vorkommen, das, wie der Name vermuten lässt, eher eine Parodie auf seine ernsten Cousins ist. Und das, obwohl es genau diese Themen wären, die zwar selbstverständlich keinen frischen Wind in klassisches Fantasy bringen müssen, aber sehr können. Modernere Ideen, die z.B. das typische Mittelalterbild hinter sich lassen oder sich z.B. LGBTQ+-Themen anzunehmen, können außerdem auch dann interessante Welten und Geschichten hervorbringen, wenn sie sich auf ernste Weise damit beschäftigen.

Zur Relevanz: Monarchie und Krieg statt Demokratie und Debatten – das herrscht vor in der Darstellung von Fantasy in der Popkultur. Aurelia Brandenburg argumentiert, dass dieser Stilstand keinem Genre guttut – und das moderne Sichtweisen auf fiktive Probleme dazu beitragen könnten, mehr Inklusivität und diversere Geschichten zu fördern.

Science Tags: Erzählung, Narration, Politikwissenschaften, Game Design, Film Design, Storytelling, Fantasy


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