ANT games: March 2015

14th March

I have a twitter scan running for ANT and games. There was a tweet a few months back and then the rest are over two years old. Was it just faddish? Need to do some decent lit work once I get one or two writing gigs off my plate. Meanwhile a gem dropped into my lap via one of those gigs: Bryant, L., Srnicek, N., & Harman, G. (Eds.). (2011). The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism. Prahran, Victoria: re.press. It's an open access book in pdf format. A who is who in this space.

9th March

Lankoski, P., & Björk, S. (2008). Character-Driven Game Design: Characters, Conflict and Gameplay. In P. Lankoski (Ed.), Character-Driven Game Design: A Design Approach and Its Foundations in Character Engagement (pp. 163-181). Jyväskylä: School of Art and Design, Aalto University.

ANT mentioned at the front and then zip!!


Bogost, I. (2012). Alien phenomenology, or, What it's like to be a thing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

This needs a bunch of pages on its own. A richer, deeper more thoughtful interplay.

8th March

Starting to map what others have done. I'm curious about how ANT has been done, thinking performatively, how it has been deployed. This is useful for me to do because one of my longer term interests is how to write about algorithms drawing on the resources of the ANT tradition.

Cypher, M., & Richarson, I. (2006). An actor-network approach to games and virtual environments. Paper presented at the Joint Computer Games and Interactive Entertainment Conference, Perth. Retrieved from here

The word that leaps out is apply ANT to…

digital games are aesthetic forms

They are from Murdoch and Zoë Sofoulis is mentioned! :)

Does not go anywhere ….

This understanding aims to facilitate a more nuanced, non-humanist and anti-visualist understanding of gameplay that exceeds the more conventional user- and viewer-centred interpretations, and is therefore more organic to the open-ended and constantly changing nature of our engagement with online environments.


Banks, J. A. L. (2003). Negotiating Participatory Culture in the New Media Environment: Auran and the Trainz Online Community – An (Im)possible Relation. Paper presented at the Melbourne DAC2003, Melbourne.

Is more a classic Aramis-like piece on the development/negotiation of the game.


Giddings, S. (2006). Walkthrough: Videogames and technocultural form. (PhD), University of the West of England, Bristol. Retrieved from here.

A better account of affordance than most, i.e. it's relational… yup! It's tricky trying to mine stuff from initial moves into the space which are pretty predictable.

It suggests that the experience of playing (with) these game/machines be theorised as one of engagement with artificial intelligence without slipping into naive anthropomorphism or frenzied futurology.


Taylor, T. L. (2009). The Assemblage of Play. Games and Culture, 4(4), 331-339. doi: 10.1177/1555412009343576

A useful over view/review of related literature. More interesting is:

A ‘‘distribution of competences between humans and nonhumans’’ (Latour, 1992, p. 233) is at work here, not only between an individual member and their mods but among the competencies of the group as a whole and their collective use of various software.

There is always a distribution of competencies whenever any thing new enters an existing assemblage.

This paper also goes nowhere. It's like some of the crits of some ANT-informed work… so what?


Jessen, J. D., & Jessen, C. (2014, March 23-27). What games do. Interaction, Design, and Actor Network Theory. Proceedings of ACHI 2014 : The Seventh International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, Barcelona, Spain. Retrieved from here

They make use of a car analogy1, i.e. all of the bits and pieces that constrain, limit, frame what you can and can't do in a car. So Im thinking, does the game have well-worn grooves, i.e. paths/series of actions that do not appear well-worn but have to be discovered by the user? Unlike the car example, you only see a small portion of a game at any time.

There is a connection here to my interest in Oliver Scott Curry's notion of banning associationism. There is, at the moment a fuzzy link between communication theory and the ANT tradition.

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