Honours Thesis: Complete!

So I handed in my Honours Thesis yesterday: I am now totally the expert on how to make games that are tragedies… in the genre sense, not talking about its success/failure. And yes, I got that joke often. Thanks guys.

I’ll be trying to make a new website for myself soon, and will upload a pdf of the written component, as well as revised versions of whatever else I may have written that seem like they might be interesting or relevent.

Right now I’m finishing my PhD application, which I propose shall be entitiled, “Suitable for Mature Audiences, Too: Electronic Games as an Avenue for Adult Play.”

So don’t be surprised if this blog suddenly stops talking about tragedy and starts talking about education. Not that there was much talking happening in this blog anyway…


So this is what happens when you go deep into research mode. Everything, all communication with the outside world fails. Or at least, all communication with the virtual world fails.

So what have I been up to?

Well, I gave my presentation/pitch for my research project, and did pretty darn well. I have come to the realisation that I don’t feel I have a department. Well, I guess I have “Media, Culture and Creative Arts,” but here I am, with a Performance Major, an Internet Studies supervisor, as well as the interest/understanding of Literary and Cultural Studies and Film. I feel very supported yet slightly lost.

I wrote my second essay, this time using Foucault’s concept of Panopticism to explain the discipline function of Tragedy in theatre. That was fun, I think I linked things together, but the marker felt there was a lot more I could have looked at. So I got a good mark, but not a great mark. Whatever. Next semester and The Final Thing are far more important.

Right now, I’m writing my “Literature Review,” which, for me, is essentially a big first draft of my exegesis, sans-introduction or conclusion. It’s currently sitting at around 3k words, which means I’ll have another 2-3k to play with in the future.

In a day and a half, I’ll be flying across to the other side of the world to be with my boyfriend for maybe a month. This is after an absence of about four. It’s surprising and very nice that we managed to stay together. Don’t ask me how we did. I’ll also be seeing Tim and Jess, as well as Ian (if things go to plan!) Huzzah for seeing people I haven’t seen in a while!

Game-wise, I’ve been obliterating Plants vs Zombies (PopCap) and trawling through The Path (Tale of Tales). I’ll review them soon. Not that there’s much to say about PvZ except it’s great. Also had a brief (ie, maybe four hours!) play with The Sims 3. There’s a reason I’m not buying until post-October 30th. Honours will suddenly disappear!

I’ll try be better soon, I promise!

Until then~~

Review: Rethinking Agency and Immersion, Gonzalo Frasca

Frasca, Gonzalo. “Rethinking Agency and Immersion: Playing with Videogame Characters.” N-Space (2001). <http://www.siggraph.org/artdesign/gallery/S01/essays/0378.pdf&gt;.

Frasca proposes a design for a game for social change based on the writings of Drama theorists Bertolt Brecht and Augusto Boal, using a variation of Will Wright’s popular “Sims” line. Frasca argues that gamers aren’t actually concerned about the personal lives of their player-characters, instead desiring a inobtrusive puppet for them to play through (1-2). He notes that Will Wright’s Sims games separate gamers from their characters; thus, the perfect method of character exhibition is found (4). Using the game’s potential for user generated content, Frasca proposes a game where players can create, edit, and upload their own Sims characters to create virtual situations they can observe and ideally learn about (4-5). He describes his design as being a “meta-simulation […] a simulation that allows simulations,” and counts this as directly inspired by Boal’s Forum Theatre, one part of the Theatre of the Oppressed (6).

The biggest flaw in Frasca’s design is one which he notes himself: that user generated content allows for the inclusion of a variety of sometimes good, often inappropriate content (7). Frasca does not, however, look at the shortcomings from a Dramatist perspective—that is, the failures of Brecht, the inspiration for Boal and thus Frasca. In his short essay, drama critic John Gassner mentions Brecht’s emphasis on epiphany without empathy, which gives the epiphany no grounding and thus causes the failure of his plays to educate the audience (Gassner 113).

Also Cited:

Gassner, John. “Catharsis and the Modern Theatre.” Aristotle’s Poetics’ and English Literature : A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Elder Olson. vols. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Pr, 1985. 108-13.

Introductory Essay

I don’t really remember not having exposure to computer and video games. I remember sitting in this very room, watching my brother trying, with all his might, to knock out an opponent in Punch Out!! on his Nintendo Entertainment System. I must have been around five or six. By the time I was nine, I was online. I played Wolfenstein 3D and knew it as a “Doom Clone,” a term I would have to shift to “First Person Shooter,” many years later. Most of my game choices were centred around my brother’s choices, demos I played on the cd accompanying PC Powerplay, or what SNES games were available at the (surprisingly well-stocked) local video rental store.

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