Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Citing Games II
Jill asks who to put as author. It is complicated, and I may get it wrong, but there are a few hints.

If there are sequels, and one or more names show up in the same main spot: for instance as director, creative director, lead artist or what all those titles are, fairly high on the list, either on top or with just a producer or some administrative positions above, I take my chances with that/those name(s). I also try to read about the game, interviews etc. That's a lot easier when I know which names to look for, search engines are wonderful things. I occasionally try to write the press-department, but so far I have only had one reply. For those of you who might need to cite Myst or Riven, here it is:

Dear Torill,
There are several methods of displaying bibliographical data (APA, MLA). I'm not sure which you're using. Here's one format:

Cyan Worlds, Inc., "Myst", 1993. Ubi Soft Entertainment, SA
Cyan Worlds, Inc., "Riven", 1997. Ubi Soft Entertainment, SA
Presto Studio, Inc., "Myst III Exile", 1999. Ubi Soft Entertainment, SA
Cyan Worlds, Inc., "URU", 2003. Ubi Soft Entertainment, SA

The authors of Myst and Riven are as follows:
Author/Developer: Cyan, Inc.
Publisher: Broderbund (originally), now they are both published by Ubi Soft
Entertainment, SA.

Myst III Exile:
Author/Developer: Presto Studios, Inc.
Publisher: Broderbund (originally), now published by Ubi Soft
Entertainment, SA.

URU (to be released August 2003)
Author/Developer: Cyan Worlds, Inc.
Publisher: Ubi Soft Entertainment, SA

Chris Brandkamp

As you see, for Myst and Riven, there is no personal author, but a company. Espen, beloved advisor to both Jill and me, insists on a personal author while the company developing the game insists on a collective author in the shape of a company. This is an interesting conflict which reflects the creative process of a game as opposed to the more traditional products for academic analysis. This problem is already discussed in film theory, read for instance Bordwell and Thomson: Film Art, where they emphasize the point that a film is a collective effort . In some cases, such as with Tomb Raider, the game originates with one person who is listed in the credits, in other cases a game is the result of collective thought, brainstorming in groups within the different companies. This indicates that both the personal and the collective approach is "correct" - and that a poor scholar will never win...

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