Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wednesday section: Gaming and the Return

I cannot express how fascinating I find Braxton Soderman's chapter "Killing Time, Gender and Causal Games." The level of skill he exhibits in passing from modern theoretical and historical texts to contemporary media objects (Dinner Dash) and to the contemporary debates in the emerging field of video game studies is to be admired.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of his analysis is his insistence on videogames as the site of what he calls "the 'return' of discourses of modernism" (13). This return is clarified in his parenthetical alignment of "the hardcore vs. the causal as a reinscription of the high vs. the low." The reading of this return in video games is fascinating because video games can be seen as the quintessential medium (I agree with Soderman that the video game should be studied as more than just a game and rather as a media that can be opened to analysis) of post-modernity. Soderman's problematization of the "post" of post-modern is also incredibly valuable while he continues to maintain the useful distinction of the this academic term.
It is especially interesting to conceive this "return" and the notion of "high vs. the low," in relation to the gendered distinction in contemporary games. I find it extremely interesting that Soderman maintains his analysis Dinner Dash in relation to this notion of the return while problematizing the distinction of hardcore vs. casual to high vs. low, respectively, noting that "Hardcore and causal games are both undoubtedly 'mainstream.'" The adherence to video games as the site of the return opens the possibility of a new emergence of feminist discourse surrounding the gendered media. While I do not want to ascribe the immediate celebration of new media objects as the representations or sites of theory there seems to be in video games the opening of a possibility for feminist and other radical theoretical readings that do not simply fall into stasis (as I feel one can note in studies of spectatorship and cinema). I hope we can address some of the issues in lecture and discussion tomorrow.

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