Zork creator Dave Lebling created this hand-drawn map of the game’s “Great Underground Empire” in the late 1970s. The GUE, as it was known, was full of interesting things to explore, including an ancient temple, a volcano, and a wizard’s workshop.
[..] [G]ames are the aesthetic form of everyday objects. Of ordinary life. Take a ball and a field: you get soccer. Take property-based wealth and the Depression: you get Monopoly. Take patterns of four contiguous squares and gravity: you get Tetris. Take ray tracing and reverse it to track projectiles: you get Doom. Games show players the unseen uses of ordinary materials.
[…] The true accomplishment of What Remains of Edith Finch is that it invites players to abandon the dream of interactive storytelling at last. […] To dream of the Holodeck is just to dream a complicated dream of the novel. If there is a future of games, let alone a future in which they discover their potential as a defining medium of an era, it will be one in which games abandon the dream of becoming narrative media and pursue the one they are already so good at: taking the tidy, ordinary world apart and putting it back together again in surprising, ghastly new ways.
Video game archaeology perhaps is the first example of a new New Archaeology, one that is post-material and post-human, one that not only intersects past and present, but that also uses the screen as the sole method of accessing new archaeological spaces. These spaces are made by people (or by machine) for other people to use, and are invested with creativity and examples of material culture. They are kinetic and also kinesthetic. They contain their own space-time. Each game is its own discrete entity, its own site. At the same time, each game exists in multiple, identical copies, circumventing the problem of the “unrepeatable experiment” of total excavation. They pose both classic and new questions to the archaeologist who operates in both the real and the virtual simultaneously using very real archaeological craft.
The graphics were simple and borderline abstract, but they were also an experience unlike anything most households had ever seen. The box art was meant to coalesce that excitement into something tangible. A static screenshot from the game couldn’t possibly relate how dynamic the experience was to a neophyte audience. The impressionistic nature of the 2600’s graphics also allowed for ample interpretation of what that experience would resemble.
We take video games as our impetus and our enterprise. With multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity as our tools, we look to the past of video gaming in order to orchestrate and build its future. Looking to rhetoric, media studies, and cultural studies, many apparatuses of analysis are present, but they all must be brought into these media and reborn.
[…] I also did find an actual reference from 1951. This is Per Maigaard’s “About Ludology”, from the International Congress Of Sociology, 14th, Rome: 30th Aug.-3rd Sept. 1951. It’s not available online, but here are two excerpts.