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Title: Virtually in ruins : the imagery and spaces of ruin in digital games
Authors: Vella, Daniel
Keywords: Video games
Games -- Study and teaching
Games -- Design
Imaginary places -- Computer games
Ruins in art
Issue Date: 2010
Citation: Vella, D. (2010). Virtually in ruins : the imagery and spaces of ruin in digital games (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: The image of the ruin is one that has haunted Western culture from the days of antiquity to the contemporary sphere, adapting and finding new tonalities as it is incorporated within new aesthetic, cultural and philosophical arrangements, but, in one form or another, remaining ever-present. My intention with this dissertation is to home in on one of these adaptations, by examining the ruin-image at work within the medium of digital games. The possibility of such a reading is announced by the marked frequency and variety of ruins as settings for games - a frequency which, I shall argue, is neither accidental, nor entirely determined by cultural factors, but a product of the formal affordances of the medium itself. After some initial theoretical groundwork which will serve to fix the notion of ‘ruin’ as a philosophical as well as a material concept, the first part of the dissertation will focus upon a diachronic investigation of the ruin-theme, aiming to locate the key tendencies and tropes around which the image of the ruin has crystallized. The aim here is not only to present examples of the ruin-image at work, but also to attempt to formulate a semiotic framework for what I shall term the ‘ruin-situation’ - the network of interlocking connotations and forces set in motion around the ruin. Once this has been established, the next step is to consider how this semiotic framework at the heart of the ruin might be set to work within the digital games medium. In order to do so, the formal characteristics of the medium will be examined with the purpose of identifying a number of affinities between the experience of the viewer encountering a ruin and the player incorporated within the gameworld. The objective of the dissertation, therefore, is twofold: firstly, to study the various ways in which the possibilities opened up by the new medium modify, recontextualize, problematize, or perhaps simply reaffirm, the established notions surrounding the representation of ruins; and, secondly, to utilize this exploration as a means of shedding light on the aesthetic affordances offered by the new medium, as well as the formal and semiotic systems by which they operate.
Description: M.A.ENGLISH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 1999-2010

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