Monday, October 07, 2002

Games, space and social practice
Espen Aarseth writes of space in games as symbolic and rule-based. His example of teleportation in MUDs fall on the fact that he refers to MOOs, not MUDS. Play MUDs tend to have restrictions on teleportation, something which makes sense when it comes to mapping a MUD. The experience of moving through an area, the time of travel was overcome in Dragon Realms through speedwalks: series of orders that would save the player the effort of typing n, s, w or e for every move, but not entirely, since only immortals and soem chosen players had a skill which permitted instant transportation.

The discussion of space as representation stops short here, as he claims that space in MOOs does not matter, and he continues into a discussion of the symbolic space of games as automatic rules. I would have liked to see him take Lefebvre one step further:

(Social) space is not a thing among other things, nor a product among other products: rather, it subsumes things produced, and encompasses their interrelationships in their coexistence and simultaneity - their (relative) order and/or (relative) disorder. It is the outcome of a sequence and set of operations, and thus cannot be reduced to the rank of a simple object.
Henri Lefebvre: The Production of Space, page 73.

What is rules but a way to organise a sequence and a set of operations? Operations controlled, limited and ordered, forcing the player of the game or the human moving among places, in space, to execute operations in certain sequences. Perhaps I am being taken with the too obvious, too easy comparison between the space of games and the social space, but I already know I will return to this relationship between space and rules - so close only insecurity and guilt keeps me from declaring the problem of game-space solved.

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