Some Job Applications Involve Video Games?

The New York Times has published a column on the rise of games used to test job applicants. What may be counterintuitive is that some of those games do not represent figuratively the job for which one is applying for, but they are more way for abstracting skills and abilities. In this sense, they are much more interesting also for game scholars and designers: how do you design a game that promotes time management? What about prioritization? And learning to delegate? These are definitely interesting times to be a designer…

Do video gamers actually dream differently?

Psychologist Jayne Gackenbach has conducted a series of studies suggesting that hardcore players actually dream differently from other subjects and have more control over their dreaming. While usually I am a bit skeptical of studies trying to prove/disprove that gamers can become somehow cognitively different from non-players, this one is a long project that seems more credible than others. Of course, methodological and epistemological issues still remain – especially about the fact that it is terribly difficult to do a sistematic study of dreaming.

Can Social Literature Compete with Social Media?

In a recent WSJ column, book author Christopher John Farley wonders whether literature could be social in the same way social networking sites are. He writes “Video games used to be more like books – essentially solitary experiences which involved people separating themselves from groups”.

The reasoning follows: if video games managed to become ‘social’, so can books. I disagree on this point, and I think that linear narratives are wonderful things that should give value to their own merits – not chase the characteristics of interactive media. And, likewise, so should video games.

I suppose that we might be witnessing a new trend in the relation between games and narratives. Until now, many game-authors suffered from “narrative envy” (e.g. the tendency to forget the strengths of ludic media in favor of linear narration). I wonder if we’re witnessing a reversal: the rise of “game envy” in traditional book authors.

I do not support this trend. What I propose, instead, is a widespread digital alphabetization and education where authors – regardless of their preferred medium: ludic, linear, transmedia or otherwise – engage in a dialogue with related fields but at the same time remain very conscious of the affordances and limitations of their own.

“Analyzing Digital Fiction”, a book on digital narratology

Analyzing Digital FictionWritten for and read on a computer screen, digital fiction pursues its verbal, discursive and conceptual complexity through the digital medium. It is fiction whose structure, form and meaning are dictated by the digital context in which it is produced and requires analytical approaches that are sensitive to its status as a digital artifact. Analyzing Digital Fiction offers a collection of pioneering analyses based on replicable methodological frameworks. Chapters include analyses of hypertext fiction, Flash fiction, Twitter fiction and videogames with approaches taken from narratology, stylistics, semiotics and ludology.

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