Axel Bruns on 18 Oct 2000 01:26:12 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] M/C: New issue and new M/C Reviews feature issues now available


Three new publications from M/C have just been released: issue 3.5 ('game')
of M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture, and two special feature issues of
M/C Reviews - please see below...

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   The Media and Cultural Studies Centre at the University of Queensland
    is proud to present issue five in volume three of the award-winning

                   M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture


          'game' - Issue Editors: P. David Marshall & Sue Morris

There is an interesting pattern that develops when a relatively new object
of study is broached by cultural studies academics. A reflex response is to
defend the reasons why you are giving time to studying these apparently
innocuous pastimes. Defenses of television studies twenty-five years ago
could have resembled the way that the new forms of games are now being
investigated: a preamble of justification -- like an incredibly deep
inhalation that has to precede a long-winded exhalation -- would be
necessary before launching into the dance of critical analysis. Thankfully
our authors have learned and progressed from their forebears at least in
this issue (but probably not in every version of game material that you
will see flowing outwards in the next few years) and our articles get to
the heart of the game, conceptually, analytically and critically. What
we're telling you is that this is a remarkable issue that, along with the
online re-play conference of 1999, launches the study of games in the
contemporary moment of new media game forms and their call and response to
previous patterns of play and pastimes. The articles here represent
cutting-edge thinking about games and we have, as your humble issue
editors, collected those postures and positions in one place.

We have tried to capture here some of the surface and depth of game culture
-- if we can be so bold as to propose a new area of cultural study that is
consolidating as a clear and interesting domain of popular culture and
intellectual inquiry. As our articles demonstrate, game culture does not
fit comfortably into past forms of media analysis although there are
insights about games that can be teased outwards from their relationship to
visual/textual media forms. We invite your comments so that the
analytical/critical process initiated by this issue can continue and
encourage you to extrapolate outwards through your interventions and
contribution on the Media-Culture list associated with M/C. Our authors are
thirsty for discussion and debate. Although the issue is not quite like an
adventure game, we invite you to point and click and investigate its
various threads of game culture.

  "Flip Horizontal"
Josť dos Santos Cabral Filho uses Roger Callois's categories to debate the
role of the game in the formation of identity in contemporary culture's
continuous debate about the power of technology to determine, and the
freedom that technology apparently endows to its users.

  "The Fortean Continuity of eXistenZ within a Virtual Environment"
Adam Dodd revisits the work of philosopher of the paranormal, Charles Fort,
and explores the connections between his ontology of continuity and the
movement of signs within a postmodern, virtual, networked environment,
analysing Cronenberg's 'game' film eXistenZ and relationships between the
body, media, truth and representation.

Rebecca Farley ponders the concepts of 'game' and 'play' and how these
intersect with the values of the society in which games are produced and
played, and argues for game theories that recognise the essential element
central to all gaming experiences: the player.

  "The Knowledge Adventure: Game Aesthetics and Web Hieroglyphics"
Axel Bruns looks at the shifting aesthetic relationship between words and
images in new media as exemplified by the Internet, as a focus for an
examination of the influences computer gaming has brought to the Internet,
and to computing in general.

  "Odyssey Renewed: Towards a New Aesthetics of Video Gaming"
Jason Wilson identifies the limitations of critical approaches that focus
mainly on the screen and on-screen events; he calls for an expanded
aesthetics of gaming that recognises the possibilities for "hybrid, cyborg
players to narrate performance, play and self" and then analyses how
players access this in a variety of games.

  "Towards an Aesthetics of Navigation: Spatial Organisation in the
  Cosmology of the Adventure Game"
Bernadette Flynn takes us on a guided tour through the virtual worlds of
the exploration/adventure games Myst and The Crystal Key via the historic,
visual structures of art, architecture and cinema, and examines how these
past forms and influences are used to establish representational context,
and position, and work to orient and narrate players through the ludic

  "Computer Games and Narrative Progression"
Mark Finn examines the varying degrees of success with which theories from
existing media have been applied to computer games, and analyses a variety
of console games, specifically using the concepts of narrative progression
and subject positioning, showing how these are both enforced by the game
and negotiated in the complex relationship between game and player.

  "The Fabric of Virtual Reality: Courage, Rewards and Death in an
  Adventure MUD"
Daniel Pargman takes us inside the world of the online adventure MUD
(Multi-User Domain) in his analysis of the text-based SvenskMUD,  in terms
of structure, player interaction, and the ideological assumptions that are
inherent in the game software.

  "Settler Stories: Representational Ideologies in Computer Strategy
Nick Caldwell examines a real-time strategy (RTS) game, The Settlers,
demonstrating how ideological assumptions about culture and production may
be actualised in a virtual environment.

  "Technology and Sport"
Greg Levine discusses the impact of media broadcast of sporting matches on
televised sport through an analysis of Australian Rules football and looks
at the broader effects of technological innovation on sport.

  "Capitalistic Ideology as an 'Interpersonal Game': The Case of Survivor"
Carol Morgan examines another meeting point of game and media in an
analysis of this year's highly popular game show Survivor and the economic
and social ideals that are implicit in, and perpetuated by that particular

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   The Media and Cultural Studies Centre at the University of Queensland
             is proud to present a special feature issue of

               M/C Reviews - An ongoing series of reviews
                   of events in culture and the media.

                               The Olympics
                         Edited by Andrea Mitchell

With most of us (well those of us who are sports fans anyway!) still trying
to recover from the recent orgy of Olympic sport and re-gather energy for
the Paralympics, it is a little hard to believe that the Sydney Olympics
have come and gone. After all the build up and media hype, Sydney seems to
have pulled it off, although some commentators are not so convinced about
the media's role in representing the Olympics to those of us who couldn't
'be there'. The reviews in this feature come from Sydneysiders to North
Americans, and from across the Tasman. Click on to find out what serious
sports and feminist scholars have to say about their impressions of the

"Competing without Evil: Building an Audience without International
  by Michael Beltz

"Competing for Canada: Canadian Academics at the Sydney Olympics"
  by Peter Donnelly, Margaret MacNeill and Graham Knight

"Winning Bodies in Postmodern Space"
  by John Fraim

"Not Quite the Nice, Normal and Natural News: Disability and the Olympics"
  by Gerard Goggin and Christopher Newell

"King Kieren and the Other Guy in the Race That Stopped the Nation"
  by Kathryn Goldie

"Winning, Whining and Walking: New Zealand at the Sydney Olympics"
  by Geoff Lealand

"Gender, Nationalism and the Media"
  by Janine Mikosza

"Watching Modernity at the Sydney Olympics"
  by Craig Prichard

"Cathy Freeman: Live at Stadium Australia, 25 September, 2000"
  by David Rowe

"Awesome Days: The Sydney Games and Overseas Responses"
  by Kay Schaffer

"Outing TV in the Olympic City"
  by Melanie Swalwell

"Voyeurs, Take Your Marks"
  by Wendy Varney

                  Also currently running in M/C Reviews:
                        our special feature on the

                          Brisbane Festival 2000
                        Edited by Felicity Meakins

          Published continually for the duration of the festival.

       These features -- and more -- are available in M/C Reviews at

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About the Australian Public Intellectual Network:

The API Network links Australian Public Intellectuals across the nation. It
is dedicated to public intellectual debate in Australia and incorporates
online resources with serial and book publications, journals and
supplements. See the Website at <>.

M/C issue five, vol. three is now online: <>.
Previous issues of M/C on various topics are also still available online.
M/C Reviews is now available at <>.
All M/C contributors are available for media contacts:


                                                     Axel Bruns

 M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture     
 The University of Queensland   

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