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08 OCTOBER 2012

LUDOLOGY MEETS NARRATOLOGY: Similitude and differences between (video)games and narrative

"Literary theory and narratology have been helpful to understand cybertexts and videogames. Aristotelian Poetics [Laurel, 1993], Russian formalism [Porush and Hivner, ?], and poststructuralism [Landow, 1992] are some of the different perspectives that have been used to study the subject.

Some authors see cybertexts and videogames as a new form of or as an expansion of traditional narrative or drama. The fact is that these computer programs share many elements with stories: characters, chained actions, endings, settings.

However, there is another dimension that has been usually almost ignored when studying this kind of computer software: to analyze them as games.

The problems of using a 'game' perspective are many. Basically, traditional games have always had less academic status than other objects, like narrative. And because of this, game formalist studies are fragmented through different disciplines, and not very well developed.

In this paper we will propose to explore videogames and cybertexts as games. Our intention is not to replace the narratologic approach, but to complement it. We want to better understand what is the relationship with narrative and videogames; their similarities and differences."

(Gonzalo Frasca, 1999)

Frasca, Gonzalo (1999) 'Ludology Meets Narratology. Similitude and Differences between (Video)games and Narrative'. Originally published in Finnish in Parnasso 1999: 3, 365–71.

TAGS

1999 • Albert Sidney Hornby • Andre Lalande • Aristotelian Poetics • Aristotles Poetics • Brenda Laurelcausalitycausally relatedcausally related narrative events • chained actions • character • Claude Bremond • computer programme • computer software • cybertext • cybertexts • Daniel Vidart • David Porush • ending • Espen AarsethFILE (festival) • game formalist studies • game perspective • game studiesgame theorygames • George Landow • Gerald Prince • Gonzalo Frasca • Jean Piagetliterary theory • ludology • narrative and videogames • narratologic approach • narratologynew form • Oswald Ducrot • post-structuralism • Roger Caillois • Roland Barthes • Russian formalism • Schaeffer Jean-Marie • setting • similarities and differences • stories • studying games • Todd Hivnor • traditional drama • traditional narrative • Umberto Ecovideo gamevideogames

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 OCTOBER 2011

Approaches To Narrative Theory

"An Archetypal Character is a character who appears over and over in legends far and wide, even in cultures that have shut themselves off from the world. The blood drinking risen dead are an Archetype as almost every culture has come up with, their own legends independent of each other. Angel is an archetype: the tragic hero trying to overcome the evils of his past. Coyote is an archetype. Xena is an archetype. Any of these may be disguised as a Space Alien.

Some lit–theories classify archetypes by the role/purpose the character inhabits for the story. These classes are: Protagonist, Antagonist, Reason, Emotion, Sidekick, Skeptic, Guardian, and Contagonist.

A related concept is the 'ectype', a distorted or flawed version of the archetype. For example, Batman is archetypical. He's a rich man who dedicates himself to anonymously fighting crime (protecting society) with a variety of gadgets. Many of the characters in Watchmen are ectypes based on this archetype."

(tvtropes.org)

TAGS

antagonist • archetypal character • archetype • archetypical • Batmancharacter • contagonist • distorted • ectype • flawed • legend • lit-theory • narrative theoryprotagonist • sidekick • tropesWatchmen (2009)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 MAY 2011

The Purpose and Focus of Research for Costumes

"One of the greatest challenges for any practitioner in the performing arts is to create a believable and completely honest 'world of the play,' no matter how abstract or obscure it might be to the modern eye. A costumer's overarching objective is essentially to create forms of clothing that are appropriate to any and every type of character, taking into account not only the obvious variables of nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation and creed, but also those of geography, climate, occupation, familial and/or marital status, physiology, personality, psychological state, ideology, historical milieu and so forth. ...

Evocative research, the most liberating form of research for a costumer, is found all around us. This form of research, includes the visual arts but expands to encompass highly abstract art, music, nature, fantasy, film, language, demography and sociopolitical perspectives. Used by directors, actors and designers alike, it creates a basic vocabulary of concept and style upon which to begin discussions of production design. For example, one of the first discussions regarding a play or opera might be the director bringing to the table a piece of music or a painting that to them conveys the mood and spirit they are looking to evoke in the production. For example, a painting by Gustav Klimt might have a specific palette and a detailed use of texture and pattern that evoke key emotions from the director and serve as an excellent springboard for a stylized concept. A director could even bring in a list of adjectives that describes his or her response to the play, and a production team would be expected to visually interpret these words. It is the combination of evocative and factual research that brings focus, cohesiveness and consistency to a production design. Finding fundamental themes or through–lines upon which to base the clothing of the characters therefore allows the designer to create a more controlled environment and a more unified aesthetic."

(Linda Pisano, Timeless Communications September 2010)

Fig.1 Gloria Swanson in the ruins of the Roxy Theatre. Eliot Elisofon. New York City, October 14, 1960. © Time, Inc.

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TAGS

actorsartistic practicearts practitioner • basic vocabulary • believability • brings into focus • characterclothingcohesiveness • colour palette • consistencycostume design • costumer • demographydesignerethnicityevocative research • factual research • fashionform of research • forms of clothing • fundamental themes • key emotions • list of adjectives • nationalityoperapatternperforming artsproduction design • production team • response to the play • socio-politicalsocioeconomic status • sociopolitical perspectives • stylised concept • texturetheatre designer • theatre director • theatre productiontheatrical play • through-line • unified aesthetic • visual artsvisual interpretation • world of the play • world of the story

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 APRIL 2011

Niebla: short film about a village forgotten amid the fog

"As in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magic–realist novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, Niebla's precise setting is uncertain–somewhere in rural Latin America–and the story's narrator is El Pep, an old man being interviewed in his living room by a documentary film crew about the mysterious fog of the title and the resulting visitation by a strange flock of flying sheep. 'The character is strongly based on my grandmother,' Ramos says. 'She was a very complex person, with many frustrations in life. She was born during the Mexican Revolution, so she experienced a lack of material possessions all her life. But she was also very kind and loving with her family (well..., most of the time). She was a combination of marked strenghs and weaknesses. At the end of her life, she suffered from dementia. 'My mind is leaving me,' she used to say, distressed, when she noticed. The only moments we could communicate with her were when we asked her about her past life. Those memories were the last to vanish.'"

(Emilio Ramos)

Fig.1 Emilio Ramos (2006). 'Niebla (Fog)', Short Film | México–Spain | 8 min. | 2d/3d digital

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TAGS

20062D3DAfter EffectsanimationBarcelonacharactercompositingdementia • El Pep • Emilio Ramos • film crew • flying sheep • fog • Gabriel Garcia Marquez • illustrationillustrative styleinterview • Jordi Codina • Latin America • Leo Heiblum • living room • Maria del Mar Hernandez • material possessions • memory • Mexican Revolution • Mexicomysteriousmystery • Niebla • old man • One Hundred Years of Solitude • ruralshort filmvillagevisual design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 MARCH 2011

Extreme frustration: in reality and the Meisner technique

"The Meisner acting technique is a many layered approach that relies heavily on a practice known as emotional preparation. Named after Sanford Meisner, the Meisner technique began as a systematic study of the art of acting for theatre. Based on work done by Russian actor Constantine Stanislovski, Meisner created a hybrid technique that he felt was better suited to the American actor and American theatre. ...

Actors using the Meisner acting technique have the ability to immerse themselves in an emotional 'state' of the character before going onstage. Rather than pretending extreme frustration they must ARE extremely frustrated as they enter the scene. Furthermore, Meisner believed that any actor looking to exploit the Meisner acting technique does their homework by creating and developing a complete set of circumstances and a complete emotional landscape that is in tune with the deeper cravings, needs and emotions that have caused the character to be frustrated."

(Maggie Flanigan Studio)

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TAGS

acting is doing • actoraggression • anger • artistic practicebreakdowncharacter • circumstances • composurecomputercomputer printerconflictConstantin Stanislavskidistressdramaemotion • emotional landscape • emotional preparation • emotional undercurrent • escalation • expressionextreme frustrationfilm acting • forceful • frustrationgesturehate • high emotion • incidentintensity • Maggie Flanigan • Meisner technique • office • outburst • PCperformancepersonal experiencephysical actions • physical task • Prt Sc • ragereactionSanford Meisnerscene • tantrum • temper

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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