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Old 06-15-2010, 11:27 AM   #1
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Default Academic studies of games

I was wondering if there are people who roam the Adventure Gamers forums who are also academics of games, or are / would be interested in academic studies of adventure games.

I'd like to start a thread where people can post links / references to academic studies of adventure games.

My dissertation, which deals with adventure games, is available online. If anyone is interested it's available here http://hdl.handle.net/1853/31756 I'd love to hear what you think, whether you're an academic or not. If you have work that you have to share, or interesting academic articles, please post them below.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:41 AM   #2
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Thank you very much for sharing this.
I'm absolutely interested in such studies and so I'm looking forward to reading it as soon as possible.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:50 AM   #3
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This is some impressive work. The sheer scope of it will take a lot of time to digest for those among the community who are interested.
Congratulations on your hard work!
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:57 PM   #4
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Definately looking forward to seeing what you've discussed. I am studying a Masters of Interactive and Visual Design and doing an adventure game as part of my study, but nothing like this by the looks of it. Unfortunately my uni wasn't very well designed around game design , but I'm making the most of it...
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telmah View Post
I was wondering if there are people who roam the Adventure Gamers forums who are also academics of games, or are / would be interested in academic studies of adventure games.
I fall in the second category, but I welcome all the efforts (academic studies included, naturally) people make to shed more light on the adventure games nevertheless.

(For a start only, since I haven't read your work) I'm impressed by the shear size of your dissertation, Clara . Thank you so much for making it available to us who love and care for the adventure games and keep up the good work!
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:51 AM   #6
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I started reading and it is really fascinating!
Probably it is too early to say someting substantial but I would like to tell you a few first thoughts.

First I have to say that I am an academic but not in the field of computers or games and that my mother tongue is not English. So I would like to apologise in advance for possible misunderstandings.

As far as I understand it the story is absolutely necessary but not sufficient for being an adventure game. This is not really new and I completely agree with that (for me this is the main reason for playing these games).
The second point is puzzles. You said puzzle-solving is the way through the story. But it is not just the simple presence of puzzles, the puzzles must be integrated in the story - I love this thought (so to hell with silly mini-games and simple pixel-hunting ).

I know you mentioned many more aspects but I am interested how/if it will be possible to significantly demarcate the adventure games from the other genres, because you can find stories and puzzles also in some shooters or RPGs. Maybe a clear definition of "puzzle" would help...if possible... or something else. I am curious to find out.

By the way, I like the word "gameness".

I think that's everthing for the moment I couldn't hold back. Now I will continue with reading.
(Sorry for the bad English)
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:08 AM   #7
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Thanks everybody for the feedback so far . I'll post a bunch more references later today, if there's such interest. If you have some of your own, feel free to post them too!

@ drunk, your English is perfectly fine! I'm not a native speaker either, but you got your ideas across very well.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:05 AM   #8
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You aren't a native speaker and wrote your dissertation in English? Wow! This is extremely impressive - many compliments!

I have a question if you don't mind:
You say Psychonauts is a platformer.
I am not at all familiar with this expression - what is the significance of a platformer?
(Sorry for bothering, if the explanation comes later in the text)

As far as me concerns Psychonauts is an (extremely difficult, but wonderful) action-adventure.
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:44 PM   #9
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Default Platformer vs Action Adventure

Platformer games are games where the player has to jump from one platform to another in order to advance, and pick up items on the way. Games like Super Mario 64, Rayman, or Sonic belong to this genre. Psychonauts can be considered a platformer because it has similar mechanics to other 3D platformers.

But Psychonauts has also been called an action-adventure game, because it has action (combat, jumping around) and a story. Genre definitions are always tricky, because they're quite fuzzy, and there are many labels that can be slapped on the same game. There are people who have asked me if I talk about any Final Fantasy games, because they think that's what adventure games are.

In any case, yes, Psychonauts is a platformer, as well as an action-adventure game.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:09 AM   #10
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Thanks a lot for your explanation!
So a platformer is similar to what is also called a jump 'n' run game?

Yes, definitions are a tricky thing... especially when it's about categorization of such "mixed" games as Psychonauts.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:33 AM   #11
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I'm very interested in this dissertation; however, I'm having trouble with the provided link (leads to a blank page for me). Anyone else having this problem?
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Gantefoehr View Post
I'm very interested in this dissertation; however, I'm having trouble with the provided link (leads to a blank page for me). Anyone else having this problem?
Try http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/31756, that's where the page is supposed to redirect you.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuze
Try http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/31756, that's where the page is supposed to redirect you.
Excellent. Thanks, kuze.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:17 AM   #14
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Default More academic works on Adventure Games

I promised to post more academic works on adventure games, so here goes. Some of them you may be familiar with, but there are a few recent articles you may have missed. Most of the articles are on text adventures, but there is a growing number of us researching adventure games in general.

Books and Theses
Nick Montfort, Twisty Little Passages An in-depth study of Interactive Fiction / text adventures and its history.
Jeremy Douglass, Command Lines: Aesthetics and Technique in Interactive Fiction and New Media

Articles
Denis G. Jerz, Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther's Original "Adventure" in Code and in Kentucky
The next two articles were published in the book Well Played 1.0, but they're available online (with no formatting or illustrations)
Clara FernŠndez-Vara, The Secret of Monkey Island: Playing Between Cultures
Mia Consalvo, Persistence meets Performance: Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney
Jonathan Lessard, Fahrenheit and the premature burial of interactive movies
(In French) Jonathan Lessard, Lovecraft, le jeu díaventure et la peur cosmique

I'll post more if I find any more interesting articles. Enjoy!
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:15 AM   #15
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I'm an academic of games, in fact I just graduated from BSc Computer Games Design at Staffordshire University. I'm now working as a junior animator at Gusto Games but I hope to work on adventure games in the future ^_^

I also did a dissertation based on adventure games but it had to be more practical based because my degree focused on 3d modelling and animation, so my dissertation was about the environments in adventure games and debated the advantages and disadvantages of 3d vs pre-rendered.

I would have loved to have your work as a reference back then lol! I'm looking forward to reading it in my spare time.
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