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Do you make small leaps in your chair while attempting challenging jumps in Tomb Raider? Do you say "Ouch!" when a giant hits you with a club in Skyrim? Have you had dreams of being inside the underwater city of Rapture? Videogames cast the player as protagonist in an unfolding narrative. Like actors in front of a camera, gamers' proprioception, or body awareness, can extend to onscreen characters, thus placing them "physically" within the virtual world. Players may even identify with characters' ideological motivations. The author explores concepts central to the design and enjoyment of videogames--affect, immersion, liveness, presence, agency, narrative, ideology and the player's virtual surrogate: the avatar. Gamer and avatar are analyzed as a cybernetic coupling that suggests fulfillment of Atonin Artaud's vision of the "body without organs."
About the Author
David Owen teaches at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He has written essays and articles on theater, digital performance and videogames in The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds and The Canadian Theatre Review. Matthew Wilhelm Kapell teaches American studies and humanities at San Jose State University. He lives in San Jose, California.
Table of ContentsTable of Contents
Chapter One. Digital Like Me 23
Chapter Two. The Gamer as Cyborg 75
Chapter Three. The Illusion of Agency in a Virtual Environment 109
Chapter Four. Winning the Hearts and Thumbs of the People 158
Chapter Notes 209
Works Cited 213