Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
27 April 2008
Ludicrous Ludology
From Ruffin below:
This pseudo-academic tripe gives every ludologist a bad name.


Without disagreeing with Ruffin on this point (see End of the World predictions in comments to that post), I fear that most people who've heard the word think that ludology is by definition "pseudo-academic tripe".

I solicit your considered opinions: should there be ludology (or, if you think that's too high-falutin' a term, "game studies" or "game analysis" or "game commentary and criticism")? If it isn't tripe, what is it? What makes good ludology? Is it essentially the same as movie criticism for games? Or is it mathematical "game theory" applied to real games?

I'm sure there's commentary about this throughout the web (ludology.org as well as gamasutra spring to mind), but they're a bunch of yahoos. What do the curmudgeons think?

Labels: ,

--Bob Wieman at 09:02
Comment [ 2 ]

Comments on this post:

As with the study of anything, it takes time for mass culture to believe something is worth studying at all.

And as for academics, well the believe the study of anything outside of their own field is suspect at best.

The real problem for video gaming is that there needs to be a purpose to the study of video games that is actually helpful, but its can’t be helpful to the whole wide field. With Video Games you have two groups that actually need their own academic fields, the study of gaming as sociology is very different from the study gaming as engineering or coding project. The sociology side is easier to organize and likely has a connectiveness that will make that side easier to build into a robust if niche academic pursuit. The code monkeys will have a harder time because, like any engineering project, the skill set needed depends on the size of the project. Much like engineering unitizes widely different skill sets to frame a two story homes as opposed to building 200 story skyscraper. The game theory of CoD4 and Galaga has similarities that the coding of each game does not share. The Sociologists/Theorists of the world can talk a common language about widely different games, while the engineers are far more separated and specialized even talking about very similar games.

By Blogger MonkeyKing1969, at 28 April, 2008 15:34  

Wow, Bob exists!

First off, video games are a composite art. There's visuals, sound and interactive elements to them. Only interactive elements are unique to games, so I'd focus on that.

The term "ludology" is a bit misleading. Surprisingly many people who play video games tend to use the term "game" and "gamer" to refer exclusively to video games, when there are far more kinds of game than that.

I think the term should be used solely to discuss game design, which is the one aspect of games that's common to physical, off-line computer and online computer types, and can't be confused with the superficial aspects.

This isn't the same as game theory, which tends to concerns itself with choices that many would think bears little resemblance to what we think of as games. However, understanding game theory can help in designing a game.

But anyway, it seems to me that there's a strong sense of navel-gazing here. Very few designers who are actually out there producing games, or at least good ones, care a whit for "ludology," or "narrativology," or any of these academic terms.

I think there should be a field called ludology, but that it should include be concerned with the pragmatic aspects of game design at least as much as those heady academic concepts.

By Blogger JohnH, at 29 April, 2008 15:16  

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