Friday, January 19, 2007

Unasked questions

After the launch of TBC, I am pretty done with answering the same questions for the nth time. That's why I am writing this post. It's a public service announcement for people who don't know what to ask about games.

List of questions: Will be updated when needed.
  • Are all computer games the same?
  • Are all gamers the same?
  • What cultural genre is the most common reference for games?
  • Why is that?
  • Why is it so common to have a conflict in a game?
  • How do games entertain?
  • What skills are needed to create computer games?
  • What industries are threatened by the growing game industry?
  • What changes in the current media structure are games a part of?
  • How does social interaction take place in games?
  • How are games social objects?
  • How can games challenge/confirm current social structures?
  • What kind of people make games?
  • Who do they make the games for?
  • How can you argue that digital games is a new art form?
  • Will games become more important than books?
  • (One stolen from Mark Bernstein) What can games teach us about the human condition?

These are just some suggestions. If any readers have more suggestions, feel free to add in comments.
Warning: If you suggest anything to do with violence, addiction or in other ways related to the game media panic, I am not publishing your comment. Those questions most people manage to ask all on their own, and this is an attempt to think of something different. Doesn't have to be new, just not more of the same.


Kjerstin said...

What needs are satisfied through computer game playing?
Do people tend to choose avatars like or unlike themselves?
Do computer games compare mostly to other forms of role playing, like LARP and table top role playing games, or mostly to other virtual activities like social software or movies?
(And yes, I really am curious!)

! said...


Have referenced your excellent posting here.

Ha det godt,
John K.

Torill said...

Kjerstin: Good questions!
John: I agree so much! I think some of the repetitiveness we see at the moment is part of the curse of the curve of innovation, the early adopters have moved on, but the idea has reached critical mass, and we have a huge group who are right now discovering game studies, all on their own and all at the same time, all believing they are ahead of the majority. Which I guess they still are - only they trail behind the innovators and the early adopters.

François Lachance said...

Torill, Regarding the "stolen" question, could the beginning of an answer be sketched out using a functional perspective based on Callois's typology? Games bring about vertigo that regulates competition ... and allows the mimickers to play with chance.

Torill said...

I am sure that can be one of the answers. Caillois, Huizinga and Sutton-Smith do a pretty decent job on adressing that question, as do many more recent game researchers. It's a complex question though, and can be answered from many different angles. I think each scholar delving into it will find their little piece of the answer :)