British Game Studies? An Extended Review of Two New Publications
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Until relatively recently, games have not been taken seriously as cultural artefacts, and this has impacted on the perceived legitimacy of committed research into their culture, form and development. Cracks in the edifice of distinctions between high and low culture have meant a variety of scholarly work has emerged, in the past decade in particular, around the discordant mix of pop-cultural forms that circulate in mass-mediatized society. As the readers of periodicals like animation: an interdisciplinary journal will recognize, those championing the specificity of animation have carved out a suitably eccentric and fractious space from within the established research fields of film, media and cultural studies. Importantly, research is not limited to those dominant fields; issues of animation arising in medical, scientific and technical contexts offer profound insights into animation (for example, Mori, 1970). This diversity of applications gives research into ‘ubiquitous’ media such as animation and games its defining interdisciplinarity. Game scholarship is of considerable importance to animation studies for a number of reasons arising from their contiguity as disciplines. Both share from the established pool of critical and cultural theory generated in and around the departments of film, literary and cultural studies that achieved substantial prominence in the 70s and 80s. Beginning with practice, the contemporary method of commercial animation production differs little from that of videogames, with PC workstation hardware and production software for the creation of art assets being completely the same. Likewise, if we look to the movement of the essential human resource of skilled individuals, there is a fluidity of workforce – animators, illustrators, background artists, programmers – between the animation and games industries. The means through which so much contemporary animation is archived and distributed is indebted to the culture of games, interaction and new media.
2 (3), pp.273-282
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