Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I've been hanging out reading and leaving comments at Ken Wark's new GAM3R 7H30RY site at the Institute for the Future of the Book. As Wark says in the quick intro:
Games, as in computer games, are the subject of my next book, GAM3R 7H30RY. I am interested in two questions.

can we explore games as allegories for the world we live in?
can there be a critical theory of games?
At one point in the aphoristic mix, in a section called "America" - Wark writes:
Click to start. Here is a new world. The first level opens onto a topic (from the Greek ‘topos’, or place). Here a topic is a place both on the ground and within language. Jacques Derrida: “The themes, the topics, the (common-)places, in a rhetorical sense, are strictly inscribed, comprehended each time within a significant site.” One can place one’s foot on a topic because one can place one’s tongue on it, and vice versa. Or one can point toward it and say: “there it is…”. All around the topic it is dark, unknown, unmapped, without stories. Move around a bit and you bump into others, from other tribes, other settlements. Via others one learns of still others. The topics start to connect. A map forms. Once there is a map, there is the topographic, which traces lines that connect the topics, and which doubles the topical with the space of maps and texts. These outline the contours in space and time of what was the topical, redrawing and rewriting it a continuous and homogenous plane. The lines of the topic are traced into the page; the lines on the page are traced back onto the earth as the topographic. History is a story and geography an image of this topography, in which the boundaries are forever being expanded and redrawn. This play between the topical and topographic is the first level.
Navigating through the excellent designwriting interface of the work, I moved from 'topos' to u-topia, and then again to a-topia where Wark asks us "how do we get from nowhere to anywhere"? So far it's a fascinating read and pushes a lot of buttons both in the host text itself as well as in the feedback forum. You have to register to participate in the feedback forum, but reading GAM3R 7H30RY is scot-free.

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