Colliders with Context : Trees in First Person Shooter Computer Games

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

Conference

Title10th International Philosophy of Computer Games Conference (POCG16)
LocationUniversity of Malta
PlaceMalta
CityMsida
Period1 - 4 November 2016

Abstract

This paper analyses the tree as an object in first person shooter computer games to explore how the experience of a computer game environment can be an experience of landscape, and how a computer game relates to histories of landscape representation. I position computer games as a paradigm medium for representing landscape in the 21st century by demonstrating how the methodologies used to analyse computer games and landscapes can work together to form a productive and revealing language for understanding computer games as landscapes, and as continuations of deeper historical narratives. If this approach can be justified, we can then look within computer game landscapes to see how they reflect on broader concerns of landscape studies, such as contemporary relationships to the physical environment. Trees were selected to support this goal because they are a typical placeholder for the organic world, but are also highly mutable in their symbolic content. Within game environments, the qualities of trees have enough variation that a meta-discussion of landscape concepts between games might be facilitated by these qualities. My analysis is a close reading of three first person computer games. By choosing a small and related set of games, I compare and contrast the experiential and intertextual differences within a narrow and comparable possibility space. From the results of this initial analysis, I consider how these qualities can be located alongside the qualities of trees in the history of landscape theory. By connecting trees in computer games with trees in historical landscape representations, this paper questions how previous histories of landscape representation can influence our interpretation of computer games, as well as how the unique affordances of computer games can affect our understanding of the possible functions of landscape representation.

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Citation Format(s)

Colliders with Context : Trees in First Person Shooter Computer Games. / Nelson, Peter.

2016. Paper presented at 10th International Philosophy of Computer Games Conference (POCG16), Msida, Malta.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)