Thursday, 11 March 2010

Digital Culture 7: Fundamentals of Games

Before the first of Alex Wade's lectures:
The Fundamentels of Games we were given Espen Aarseth's 'The Book and the Labyrinth' from Cybertext Perspectives on Ergodic literature.

Ergodic is derived from the words ergon meaning work and hodos meaning path.. It came to be applied to describe any structure with many confusing passages. The origin of the word labyrinth is not known, but it may be connected with the myths and religious symbolim of ancient Crete.

The text introduces me to a term that I have not really come across before: cybertext. Aarseth (above) describes the cybertext in ways that are familiar to me: "it centres attention on the consumer, or user , of the text, as a more integrated figure than even reader-response theorits would claim" (1997). Many these ideas seemed connected with hypertext theory and so-called media and web 2.0/3.0 approaches.

Aarseth statement that the "cybertext is a machine for the production of (a) variety of expression" is similar to Paul Valéry's "a book is a machine for reading" and critic A. Richards his 'Principles of Literacy Criticism' with 'a book is a machine to think with' (Jencks, C 1973, p. 32)

From Alex Wade's lecture:

"In Laws, Plato defines play as ‘That which has neither utility nor truth nor likeness, nor yet, in its effects, is harmful, can best be judged by the criterion of the charm it is in it, and by the pleasure it affords. Such pleasure, entailing as it does no appreciable good or ill is play’. Straight away we can see the influences that last to the present day."


Aarseth , E
(1997) Cybertext Perspectives on Ergodic literature Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press

Jencks, C (1973) Modern Movements in Architecture Penguin Harmondsworth and New York: Books.

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