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An actor-network approach to games and virtual environments

Cypher, M. and Richardson, I. (2006) An actor-network approach to games and virtual environments. In: Joint International Conference on CyberGames and Interactive Entertainment 2006 (CGIE2006), 4 - 6 December 2006, Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, Western Australia

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    Abstract

    In this paper we apply some of the insights of Bruno Latour and actor network theory to suggest that games and virtual spaces can be interpreted as aesthetic forms which are established and stabilised by a 'collective' of humans and technologies. The 'agents' that comprise any collective or network -- whether it be a simple human-tool relation or a far more complex assemblage of actors in massively multiplayer games - are equally human and non human, social and material, corporeal and technical. Yet the collective impact of these factors is not often given serious attention in the discourses of ludology and game studies, which we argue can be attributed to a number of historical and technical reasons. The application of actor-network theory to games and virtual environments aims to facilitate a nuanced understanding that exceeds more conventional user-- and viewer-centred interpretations in game studies, and is therefore more organic to the open-ended and constantly changing nature of our engagement with online games and virtual environments.

    Publication Type: Conference Paper
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
    Conference Website: http://www.cgie2006.murdoch.edu.au/
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/11772
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