May 19, 2005

Netzliteratur: Playable Media and More

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 12:22 am

In November I went to Germany for “Netzliteratur – Umbrüche in der literarischen Kommunikation,” a fascinating gathering at the University of Siegen. Now the presentations are online as a special issue of Dichtung Digital.

In the writeup of my presentation — Playable Media and Textual Instruments — I try to develop further some of the ideas mentioned in GTxA posts on saying “this is not a game” and the logics along which play proceeds.

Also online are the presentations from Marie-Laure Ryan, Markku Eskelinen, Frank Furtwängler, Mela Kocher, Roberto Simanowski, Philippe Bootz, Jean-Pierre Balpe, Loss Pequeno Glazier, Laura Borras Castanyer, Susanne Berkenheger, and Peter Gendolla and Jörgen Schäfer.

3 Responses to “Netzliteratur: Playable Media and More”


  1. andrew Says:

    Wow! Looks like a really great collection of papers (well, I can only comment on the ones I am capable of reading — half the papers are in English, half in German). So far I’ve only had time to read Noah’s and Marie-Laure’s, and I highly recommend GTxA readers to check them out. They make superb arguments for approaching and analyzing contemporary interactive narrative and e-lit, and do a great job surveying a variety of works (yes, including Facade — once it’s available to everyone to play (soon!) these papers will be excellent fodder for debate, I hope).

    Noah, I found it very useful and welcome to read your expanded discussion about framing digital art/entertainment as playable media, motivated by the question of how works are played. Ultimately I think that’s the most important question to ask; it focuses on the player, who I believe should be of our primary concern when creating interactive works. I really enjoyed the breadth of projects and ideas you discussed.

    In a sense, Marie-Laure’s paper goes even further in analyzing the player’s perspective of interactive narrative and e-lit. She explicitly tries to understand, in a well-written and substantial way, what players tend to find pleasurable or not about games and / versus interactive narrative, setting her sights on the elusive, yet-to-be-built, seriously satisfying interactive story. This is great stuff, and will be an excellent resource for discussion and research. At the end of the article she casts herself as a doctor writing a prescription for future progress towards this goal (admitting that, like most doctors, she doesn’t know how to manufacture the medicine). As a drug-maker in this business, I am glad to hear her suggestions, and really appreciate how she is wanting and actively trying to advance the form.

  2. noah Says:

    Thanks Andrew!

    I definitely plan to keep working with some of these thoughts. In fact, David Durand and I have an ACH paper coming up that takes some further steps and describes an upcoming project. Also, computer music composer/performer Butch Rovan recently pointed me at an interesting article — Instrumentalities, by David Burrows — which is unfortunately hidden behind a subscription barrier in the only online incarnation I can find. But I think thinking about instruments, and performance, and play don’t happen together often enough in our community.

    I haven’t yet read Marie-Laure’s piece carefully, but I did enjoy her presentation quite a bit in person. I definitely need to take another look, because I’m not sure I’m ready to fall in under the banner of “anti-WYSIWYG aesthetics.”

  3. noah Says:

    Of course, I’m going to have to miss ACH, because I’ll be teaching in St. Petersburg.

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