Tom Apperley’s research is now online

Tom Apperley, fellow cross-media researcher at the University of Melbourne (different department though), is publishing his thesis-in-progress online.

Appereley is focusing on the game, specifically console, dimension of cross-media (where games are an ‘intertextual commodity’), and on ‘interactivity’. He is also doing a valuable ethnographic comparison of Venezuelan and Australian gamers. His posts include:

Preliminary Report on Venezuelan ‘Gaming Situation’

Subsequently I mentioned this game to other people in conversation I discovered that while the game was universally admired for its game-play and technical excellence, there was a general feeling of ambivalence towards the subject matter of the game. In short, while people were pleased that Venezuela was the setting for such a prominent game, they felt that the scenario was implausible. I interpreted this as a cognitive dissonance with the world-view of the game, which was designed with a North Americans audience in mind. To its intended audience the game was located within pre-existing tropes of anxiety involving terrorism, oil supplies and the Latino ‘Other’.

A listing of sites on Lara Croft for his research into the fans of Lara
General Ludological links
An article-in-progress on genre and games

The main argument is that the market-based categories of genre that have been developed in the context of computer games obscures the new mediumÂ’s crucial defining feature, by dividing them into categories (loosely) organized by their similarities to prior forms of mediation. The article explores the inherent tension between the conception of computer games as a unified new media form and the current fragmented genre-based approach that explicitly or implicitly concatenates computer games with prior media forms.

A draft of chapter one of his thesis
In this chapter I found, among other gems, a great proposal:

I suggest a third type of interaction exists; that of interaction with the rules of the interaction themselves. This type of interaction is radically different, as it allows the player to change the cybertext by altering its ergodic structure, rather than by making choices within that structure. The practice of altering the cybertext in this manner is known as ‘moding’.

Also, his first graduate seminar paper on designing a Research Method for X-box

The technology and practices associated with gaming encourages a new model of commodification and consumption. The transmedia intertextual commodity: here I am refering to the current ubiquitous trend in the mass media to remediate the same content across all media platforms. The Book/Film/Game/Happy Meal phenomena that is associated with most contemporary mass media products. While I believe on one hand this is a calculated marketing tool in the sense of a product reaching all kinds of demographics, to put it crudely a shotgun effect. On the other hand this form of commodification encourages a deliberate process of intertextual assemblage during the audiences production of meaning, which allows the audience to experience a sense that each product is a part of a wider mediated universe that is largely constructed in the minds of the audience through the process of assemblage of the disparate medias.

An article-in-progress: Queering the Game Player

Popular media portrayals of the activity of computer gaming, with few exceptions, associate the computer game with a male audience. In this article I will explore the implications of this linkage in order to foreshadow problems in the ethnographic enquiry I propose on the uses of x-box games and the x-box in everyday life. Part of my project here is to try to understand, how should I approach the gamer as an ethnographic subject. By considering gaming as an ‘a-priori’ masculine activity, I suggest that I would be ignoring the myriad practices and activities of female, gay and transgender gamers. My project in this article is to open the quotidian practices of gaming to include the heterogenous practices and pleasures that can only be accounted for by detaching games from the dominant discourse of masculinity in which they circulate; in short it is to ‘Queer’ the predominantly masculine field of games.

He has opened up comments on his blog so please feel free to contribute to his research. Great to be able to read your ideas Tom, and not just scribble down notes as you say them! Congrats on being online.

Non-Narrative Narratology?

The 5th Symposium on Art and Multimedia Metanarrative is being held on the 28th and 29th of Jan (did anyone else know about this?!) and seems to be an interesting theme:

Fruit of having entered into complex formal systems, one could speak of the formulations made following the narrative/non-narrative duality of the meatnarrative (applying the prefix meta- in the sense of ‘after’, in the way that it has alsways been understood that metaphysics comes after physics). These new creations challenge established narrative models while at the same time raising the question as to which model(s) of (meta)narrativeness we are converging on, whether we can decide on this/these model(s) and to what extent we can continue maintaining borders between narration and other forms of contemporary creation.
[…]
The 5th Symposium…will use this referential framework to encourage and broaden reflection and offer an(other) showcase for the creative circulation of narratives or (meta)narratives. Three blocks have been established by way of thematic lines:

* “Desire versus destiny (how expectations of participation in the metanarative context are broadened).”
* “The rules of the game (how narratives and games are mutally influential in the generation of metanarrative experiences).”
* “The narrative continuum (how metanarratives become heirs to the artistic research of the last century).”

The starting point is the line of argumentation that if thereÂ’s a narrative, there can be an antinarrative, a non-narrative, a metanarrative…that there is and there has always been an antinarrative, etc; and all them are as old as narrative itself. Therefore I am for the assumption that there are continuous non narrative practices in the artistic creation area, from which weÂ’ve inherited a great number of incursions into the audiovisual and multimedia expression and communication. (from blog)

In the artistic practice, current narratives are at a crossroads, as you put before, of difficult classification, and this precisely the most interesting challenge. (from blog).

It is interesting the uptake of the idea of convergence of narrative schemas — Jenkins’ ‘cultural convergence’ perhaps? I also like the idea of non-narratives existing alongside narratives. It is also good that they are addressing participation, the influence of medium-specific narratives on each other, and generally the confluence of narrative. Tick, tick, tick. Pity there aren’t any cross-media researchers (that I can see) there flying the flag. Many of the ideas, however, are there. Here are the links to the English website and the accompanying
Blog. I look forward to reading the papers for this one.

If I ignored you…

I have just discovered that I have been deleting emails that are inquiries re this site and not spam. If you’ve sent me an email and I haven’t responded — try again, all should be good now. How can you tell if someone is ignoring you if you’ve never met them? And how can I tell a genuine email re my website? Ah, we get so close and then so far away…

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