Week Ahead: 6

6 2/16 Stanley, A Parable & The Beginner’s Guide
2/18 Her Story
2/19 Podcast Episode 2 due: Nina Freeman’s Cibele


The podcast is now live. Please make certain you listen to the first episode before class tomorrow. The link to the first episode has already been retweeted by Michael de Santa.

I’ve also published an additional set of instructions for future episodes and the instructions for the reflection post you should write once you’ve completed your episode.

Beginner’s Guide

We’ll spend most of class on Tuesday discussing Beginner’s Guide. Some questions to think about to kick off discussion: In “Art,” Bogost suggests 5 common properties of art games: procedural rhetoric, introspection, abstraction, subjective representation, and strong authorship. Is Beginner’s Guide an art game? How do you see those 5 properties at play in the game? Are there ways in which those properties fail to get at what is most interesting about the game?

We’ll also compare Beginner’s Guide and its predecessor, Stanley. The website for the latter includes the following: “The Stanley Parable is an exploration of story, games, and choice. Except the story doesn’t matter, it might not even be a game, and if you ever actually do have a choice, well let me know how you did it.” And on its Steam page, we find this epigraph: “The Stanley Parable is a first person exploration game. You will play as Stanley, and you will not play as Stanley. You will follow a story, you will not follow a story. You will have a choice, you will have no choice. The game will end, the game will never end.” How are those claims extended, undercut, revised, or how do they otherwise come into play in Beginner’s Guide?

Her Story

For class on Thursday, play through the game for awhile. You might not be able to finish it in the time you’ve got, but play enough to get a strong sense of how it works. It’s a nonlinear crime fiction game, depicted through FMV (full motion video). In many ways, then, Her Story, might be the complete opposite of Beginner’s Guide. Before class on Thursday, write a post on your course subdomain in which you compare Her Story to Beginner’s Guide — is Her Story also an art game? Are there ways in which the two games bear similarities to each other?


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