Symposium: November 6, Antichamber

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This month, we play Antichamber (Steam), a game that, in many ways, subverts how we think about space within a game-world. By connecting different areas in non-obvious ways, Antichamber begins to prompts us to consider how a non-Euclidean world would work; one where some things might really be bigger on the inside than outside, or even attached back to its own beginning like a torus.

From this position of environmental interconnectivity, I want us also to begin to discuss how we might think about (dis)embodiment in first-person perspective games. That is, like many other games with this perspective, the on-screen avatar is exclusively a “gun” and a ‘body’ does not exist. However, we can easily bridge this ‘gap’ and navigate the strange spaces in the game. A ‘body’ is seemingly not needed for us to embody.

In other words, can/does a shift in projection (the illusion of depth and multiple dimensions rendered on a flat surface) help us to better understand perspective? How can a lack of a ‘body’ cause us think about bodies in these spaces? Does a change in interconnectivity of places cause us to ponder player materiality in games like this, or is there some ability of the first-person perspective that more easily inculcates us to a game’s symbolic order?

We meet at the regular 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT over Skype.

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