Thursday, March 4, 2010

Video Games and Writerly Texts

In response to Leah's comment on Doom as a writerly text:

I think the idea of a video game coming close to the idea of a writerly text is fascinating. We could consider that the game doesn't exist unless one is playing it - it is not observable unless it is being experienced (one can look at a book, look at words on a page without reading or experiencing it). Especially an internet game - we may know that the site is there, but unless we play it, we cannot see it - whereas an analogy could be drawn between a closed book and a video game disc or cartridge. This analogy begs the question: does the essence/identity of the game lie in the physical disc or cartridge itself, or in the coding on the disc/cartridge? (Does the essence/identity of a human lie in the body or the mind?) Regardless of the answer to these questions, the issue of coding brings me to the conclusion that Doom is not a writerly text, though it was intended to be manipulated, changed, and individualized by users. One of the resons a writerly text cannot exist is because the process and the work are bound by language - written, spoken, thought. No matter how many times Doom is hacked and added to, the hacker will always be using the same coding system - code is a structure that cannot be ignored and cannot be escaped; it prevents any video game from being a writerly text.

Emily Martin for Matt's section

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