Panel: Games Betwixt and Between
“Liminality is a temporal interface whose properties partially invert those of the already consolidated order which constitutes any specific cultural ‘cosmos’ “. _Turner: 41 One works at the liminal, one plays with the liminoid _Turner: 55
The litany of the new drives the game economy forward as the glitter of Hollywood rubs off on the major studios. The big game dominates the traditional gaming zaibatsu yet in their shadow smaller more agile game-makers capture the hearts and minds of the game-playing public. There has long been an amateur game-making community from bedroom coders playingwith home computer technology onwards. Digital distribution has enabled these independent game-makers to release their games direct to players in a range of ways: from free-to-play to revenue generating this has grown amateur practice into independent development. The aesthetic impact of small development teams is significant, a wash of retro-imagery and lo-fi values break down expectations for the gloss of pro-productions. It may be too early to complete an art history of indie games but it is possible to trace strands of abstraction in many of these experiences. Turner’s notion of liminality as a core aspect of society offers a productive model from which to consider the movement of indie games into a creative centre ground. Limen (the Latin for “threshold”) in this usage is interested in movements within society whether collective, functional and integrated (“liminal”) as part of rites of passage within society or individual, critical, idiosyncratic and along the margins of society (“liminoid”). Using specific examples from independent game practice this paper explores these border experiments as one potential expressive future for game form.
Work cited: Turner, V. From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play. New York: PAJ Publications, 1982.
- Emma Westecott currently teaches at OCAD University in Toronto, CA. She originally achieved recognition for working closely with Douglas Adams as programmer and producer for the best-selling Starship Titanic (1998, Simon & Schuster) and she has worked in and around the game industry for over fifteen years. She led the zerogame studio at The Interactive Institute in Sweden, was a core member of the Synergy games research group at The University of Wales, and organised Women in Games 2007.
Full text (PDF) p. 2577-2582