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Playing with non-humans: digital games as techno-cultural form

By S. Giddings


Game studies has yet to engage with a sustained debate on the implications of its fundamentally technologically based foundation – i.e. the ‘digitality’ of digital games. This essay calls for such a debate and offers some initial thoughts on issues and directions. The humanities and social sciences are founded on the principle that historical and cultural agency reside solely in the human and the social. Drawing on Science and Technology Studies, Actor-Network Theory and cybercultural studies, this essay argues that a full understanding of both the playing of digital games, and the wider techno-cultural context of this play, is only possible through a recognition and theorisation of technological agency. Taking the Gameboy Advance game Advance Wars 2 as a case study, the essay explores the implications for game studies of attention to non-human agency – specifically the agency of simulation and artificial life software - in digital game play

Year: 2005
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