In our last symposium, our examination of play through virtual reality interrogated a viewpoint that is so player-centered that we had to come up with a new aphorism (metaphoric presence) to attempt to describe the player’s role as a disruptive intersection between the gamespace and The Real.
For this week, however, we use the one year anniversary of The Beginner’s Guide as an excuse to pull the camera so far away from the player that the author’s hand is fully in our view. (Or is it?) In both Super Mario Maker and The Beginner’s Guide, an author has a direct and explicit role to play in the game, both as creator and recipient, performer and audience, tourist and guide.
Can the act of creation qualify as play? Do the author and player share a gamespace or do their respective gamespaces intersect and even compete? How does authorial quotation fit into our definition of mimesis? Does Super Mario Maker’s confined presentation of its creation toolset mutate the role of the player/author into something different?
As always, we’ll meet to discuss these question and more on Thursday, October 6th at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT on voice chat over Skype.
Supplemental material to this discussion:
- Death of the Player, a piece by the inimitable Mattie Brice that explores the efficacy of player-centric design and critique.
- The Reality Hunger of Davey Wreden, a Kill Screen piece by Gareth Damian Martin that explores the player/author (and author/game) relationship presented in The Beginner’s Guide.
- The Citizen Kane of Video Games, a Super Mario Maker level by some random weirdo who was offended by Michael Thomsen’s review of the game in the Washington Post.