Video Games as a Common Ground

No. 3 - Year 13 - 11/2023

University of Zadar | eISSN 1847-7755 | SIC.JOURNAL.CONTACT@GMAIL.COM

Editorial

This special issue Video Games as a Common Ground is the result of the international conference of the same name organized by the Department of English and the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology of the University of Zadar on September 2-3, 2022. The aim of the conference was to draw attention to the popularity of video games, which at the beginning of the 21st century have become increasingly diverse in terms of genres and stories, game mechanics, visual and artistic styles, hardware capacities, and sensory possibilities. After all, video games are now consumed en masse around the world and are easily accessible through everyday devices such as cell phones, tablets, as well as gaming consoles, and computers....

Literature and Culture
Kübra Aksay, University of Freiburg, Germany:

With the rise of independent video games over the last few decades and the expansion of video game audiences, the variety of game genres, aesthetic styles, gameplay systems, and technologies continues to increase. As a result, what we call video games refers to various media with often quite distinct features that can include, for instance, both clicker games and animal simulator games.In her book Playing at a Distance: Borderlands of Video Game Aesthetic, Sonia Fizek introduces the framework of mediated distance to understand the diverse experiences and aesthetics of playing video games. It is pointed out early in the prelude that the main and most popular approaches to video games have described them as “inherently interactive” and have attributed their significance to immersion, human agency, and direct control, referring to works by prominent game studies scholars such as Espen Aarseth, Jesper Juul, Eric Zimmerman, and Katie Salen (xi). This type of orientation around interactivity...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/3.13.lc.6
Literature and Culture
Carmel Anne B. Abela, Nagoya University, Japan:

The Mythic Tales side quests in Ghost of Tsushima (2020) explore folkloric and supernatural narratives using the themes from legends and lore surrounding Tsushima Island. However, as a historical video game that reimagines a thirteenth-century medieval Japanese society during the events of the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274, careful examination of its represented form is necessary since it can tell us how a player is instructed to play with the reimagined past or what about the past is deemed important (Chapman; Balela and Mundy; McCall). Furthermore, the side quests provide a deeper exploration of the game-world setting, which can provide a historical and sociocultural understanding of the represented past through gameplay. In line with this, this paper examines the Mythic Tales experience by exploring the representations of the in-game version of a Japanese traditional performance art called the heikyoku, performed by a medieval storyteller known as the biwa hoshi. This includes a ...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/3.13.lc.1
Literature and Culture
Biljana Mitrović, Institute for Theatre, Film, Radio and Television, Faculty of Dramatic Arts., Belgrade, Serbia:

The production of books in the field of video games has been spreading in numerous areas of study in the last several years. In the humanities, the increased interest of leading global publishers in publishing editions that introduce multidisciplinary frameworks for approaching video games reflects this diversity. Examples include the De Gruyter Oldenbourg series Video Games and the Humanities (comprising fifteen volumes) and Routledge Advances in Game Studies (consisting of twenty-six titles), supporting an open access policy for some of the books. Apart from the fact that video games are still a current and wide area of study, the reason for academic interest and the publishing of books in this area is also methodological – video game studies use multidisciplinary interactions between various areas of theory and games while demonstrating how video games fit and influence the existing theoretical and methodological models in the humanities.It is in this context that we have an interes...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/3.13.lc.5
Literature and Culture
Kristina Šekrst, University of Zagreb, Croatia:

The goal of this paper is to see how mental and language representations are unique from a video-game perspective, using two main criteria. First, I will posit that the level of being both an interactive work of fiction and a self-involving interactive fiction belongs to a fuzzy interval and that some works – and, therefore, some video games – are more immersive than others. Second, I will observe how propositions tie the player’s representations of the real world and the game world. Starting from psychological theories of pretense in children’s make-believe games, I will then expand Nichols and Stich’s cognitive theory of pretense to include an extra layer related to the game world, i.e., player-specific representations that govern player-specific propositions. The representations dealing with the work world are the socially shared ones, while the possible-world representations, dealing with most of the game world, are player-specific and tied to unique language use.Keywords: self-inv...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/3.13.lc.3
Literature and Culture
Hannes Rall and Emma Harper:

This paper is rooted in an exploration of an ongoing research project to produce a VR game based on Shakespeare’s lesser-known romance Pericles, Prince of Tyre. We argue that the play, a maritime travelogue recounting the story of a family separated at sea and brought together again by fate, is well suited for the demands of gamification, offering rich potential for first-person problem-solving, self-discovery, and world exploration. While its episodic nature, diversity of settings, and unexpected narrative trajectory have challenged those wishing to present the play on the traditional stage, we demonstrate how approaching the text through the lens of immersive gamified media offers the opportunity to re-evaluate and reconsider the “flawed” perception of the text. The paper takes our project as a case study to outline how we approached the process of adapting the original play for gamification, framing our project within the broader context of both game adaptations of Shakespeare’s oth...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/3.13.lc.4
Literature and Culture
Tânia Cerqueira, University of Porto, Portugal:

The Gothic is a hybrid mode with the ability to merge with other media forms, and, predictably, it has been adapted into video games. Gothic themes, motifs, tropes, characters, and settings are often appropriated, transformed, and assimilated to in-game narratives and mechanics. Indeed, looking back at the history of video games, game designers have been frequently drawing on the Gothic by representing labyrinthine spaces, ghostly enemies, and uncanny objects (Kirkland, “Gothic” 109). In Lost in Random (Zoink AB, 2021), the Gothic is prominent in its narrative, atmosphere, and aesthetics. The game features decaying, haunted, liminal settings and bodies that offer possibilities to transgress and subvert boundaries and unveil a hidden past that refuses to fade away. This article examines the intersections between Lost in Random and the Gothic tradition. Focusing on the themes of transgression, subversion, liminality, past, and duality, it observes, on the one hand, how these themes are p...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/3.13.lc.2