Open Access (free)
The computer game as fictional form
Author: Barry Atkins

This book is dedicated to the study of computer games in terms of the stories they tell and the manner of their telling. It applies practices of reading texts from literary and cultural studies to consider the computer game as an emerging mode of contemporary storytelling. The book contains detailed discussion of narrative and realism in four of the most significant games of the last decade: ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Half-Life’, ‘Close Combat’, and ‘Sim City’. It recognises the excitement and pleasure that has made the computer game such a massive global phenomenon.

Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design
Mark Duffield

An international research initiative run by the Development Learning Programme based at the University of Birmingham. See: www.dlprog.org/research/thinking-and-working-politically-community-of-practice.php . 9 By the same token, elites must have super-brains. 10 Since the mid 2000s, there has been a growing number of computer games and software programmes that claim to allow interested parties to experience what it is like to be a refugee or subject to a disaster. The Darfur content on Google Layers, for

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Barry Atkins

perceived as a form of fiction for children and adolescents, with all the pejorative associations that such a classification carries with it. Games, with their vast time demands and lack of discernible product in their near-onanistic engagement of an individual with a machine, have hardly been welcomed with open arms by the parents of their target audience. ‘Adult’, when it is invoked as a term at all, most often equates with ‘pornographic’, rather than ‘sophisticated’. That some of the same criticisms made of computer games might be levelled at the practice of reading

in More than a game
Open Access (free)
Barry Atkins

6 More than a game? OUR SIMULATORS ARE NOT ARCADE OR COMPUTER GAMES. Their cockpits and controls are identical to the real aircraft, and they replicate the sensation of flying to extraordinary degrees of accuracy. Participants should be 14 years of age or over. (Pamphlet advertising simulator ‘flights’, Yorkshire Flight Centre, Knaresborough.) Cyberpunk fiction and cyberculture theorising have no monopoly of interest in the uncomfortable slippage that might accompany the potential for simulation offered by computer games. The threeway intersection between

in More than a game
Dana Phillips

, resilience, stability and sustainability 153 characterising Crake’s intelligence in superficial and shorthand ways (for instance, by identifying him as a numbers guy). As teenagers, Jimmy and Crake spend a lot of time together, smoking pot, watching Internet porn and online broadcasts of capital punishment, and playing computer games. The porn sites – Tart of the Day, Superswallowers and HottTotts – demonstrate Atwood’s knack for echoing the facile, and almost always comic, logic of contemporary commercial language. So do online execution sites like shortcircuit.com and

in Literature and sustainability
Open Access (free)
Reading Tomb Raider
Barry Atkins

something that is other than real experience. What limited claims the game’s promoters do make for realism are essentially comparative with other computer games. This game is more realistic than earlier platform jumping games such as Super Mario or Donkey Kong. To draw on the language in which realism is commonly discussed, then its most basic claim to be more realistic than such earlier computer games is that it is not as ‘flat’ or ‘two dimensional’, and offers the illusion of three dimensions (at least in terms of the rendering of landscape, if not of character and plot

in More than a game
Open Access (free)
Reading SimCity
Barry Atkins

management or ‘god game’), but as representative of a basic difference between how story chap5.p65 113 13/02/03, 14:23 114 More than a game might be told and read within computer games and how our other stories are read and told. Both Half-Life and Tomb Raider have had their direct clones, but few have been able to compete with them directly in story terms, even when more advanced technology has been made available to designers who then ratchet up our visual and aural expectations. We recognise their stories because they resemble the stories we are exposed to in our

in More than a game
Toby Fricker

writes about meeting a boy playing computer games on the camp’s main street. ‘Counter Strike, has become the most populous diversion for the thousands of young, restless boys of Zaatari refugee camp. “It teaches us how to fight jihad”’, nine-year-old Mohammed is quoted as saying. 30 MacKinnon also uses the computer game analogy: Counterstrike , which pits terrorists

in Global humanitarianism and media culture
Open Access (free)
Reading Half-Life
Barry Atkins

potential of such confusion in updating the plot of Michael Crichton’s West World (1973) in an episode co-written by William Gibson and entitled First Person Shooter in which real deaths occur within a fictional space where players take part in a game that itself owes much to multiplayer computer games such as Quake Arena or Counter-Strike, the multiplayer arena version of Half-Life. In written fiction, the example of Gibson’s Neuromancer, in which the essentially recognisable artificiality and geometric abstraction of cyberspace is accompanied by potentially more

in More than a game
Open Access (free)
Mapping times
Alex Gekker, Sam Hind, Sybille Lammes, Chris Perkins, and Clancy Wilmott

work through a particular temporality. This temporality invites the viewer to question links between the real and the ‘reel’. Other cultural forms evoke the film(s), as: spin-off series, computer games and websites through which fans relive their encounters with the original. Websites map the locations in Los Angeles where scenes were shot, highlighting the practical linking of the imagined and the real through a mashup;3 a digital mapping form that serves as a way into understanding the placed temporalities of past, present and future, which supports so called ‘set

in Time for mapping