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PHILOSOPHICAL
LITERARY
JOURNAL
ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Bogost Ian

Bogost Ian

PhD, Professor at the School of Literature, Media, and Communication of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Address: 85 Fifth Str., Atlanta GA 30308–1030, USA. E-mail: ibogost@gatech.edu.

Publications

Video Games are a Mess / Logos. 2015. № 1 (103). P. 79-99
annotation:  What follows is the text of author’s keynote address at the 2009 Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference, held in Uxbridge, UK September 1–4, 2009. The author returns to the question “What is a game?,” which has become perceived as a formalist scourge that drew, or perhaps still draws, our attention away from more important matters. But the question is rather unavoidable. It is not a strategic, rhetorical, or political question, at least not primarily so. Rather, it is an ontological question. The author distinguishes four approaches in the ontology of video games. The first one is ontology of forms, i. e. the study of the structures and systems that undergird games overall, which is common both to ludology and narratology, whose conflict has been central to game studies since the very origin of the field. The second approach supposes that video games exist on multiple levels, but some are more real than others. At least some of these levels are mental constructions while others have a material basis. Games are real at their formal levels, but this reality is more transcendental than genuinely real. According to the third approach, games are really just inanimate shells that may exist, but only in lesser form, until they are filled out and activated by players. As for Bogost himself, he defends the forth approach that absorbs all those mentioned above. This approach proposes a symmetrical, or flat ontology, which results in a plane of indiscriminate differences with all aspects of a game’s existence having the same potential to matter.
Keywords:  ontology of video games; Game Studies; mess; ludology vs narratology; flat ontologies; correlationism; platform

Bogost Ian

PhD, Professor at the School of Literature, Media, and Communication of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Address: 85 Fifth Str., Atlanta GA 30308–1030, USA. E-mail: ibogost@gatech.edu.

Publications

Video Games are a Mess / Logos. 2015. № 1 (103). P. 79-99
annotation:  What follows is the text of author’s keynote address at the 2009 Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference, held in Uxbridge, UK September 1–4, 2009. The author returns to the question “What is a game?,” which has become perceived as a formalist scourge that drew, or perhaps still draws, our attention away from more important matters. But the question is rather unavoidable. It is not a strategic, rhetorical, or political question, at least not primarily so. Rather, it is an ontological question. The author distinguishes four approaches in the ontology of video games. The first one is ontology of forms, i. e. the study of the structures and systems that undergird games overall, which is common both to ludology and narratology, whose conflict has been central to game studies since the very origin of the field. The second approach supposes that video games exist on multiple levels, but some are more real than others. At least some of these levels are mental constructions while others have a material basis. Games are real at their formal levels, but this reality is more transcendental than genuinely real. According to the third approach, games are really just inanimate shells that may exist, but only in lesser form, until they are filled out and activated by players. As for Bogost himself, he defends the forth approach that absorbs all those mentioned above. This approach proposes a symmetrical, or flat ontology, which results in a plane of indiscriminate differences with all aspects of a game’s existence having the same potential to matter.
Keywords:  ontology of video games; Game Studies; mess; ludology vs narratology; flat ontologies; correlationism; platform
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