World Building with Virtual Follies: The Rhetoric of Ruins in Videogames
McNeil, Erin Clare
Savannah, Ga. : Savannah College of Art and Design
Thesis (M.A.) -- Art History
Savannah College of Art and Design -- Department of Art History
Includes bibliographical references (p.96-101).
The ruins found within many mainstream videogames and videogame franchises capitalize on the larger artistic, historical, and cultural preoccupation with ruins and their signification. This thesis examines many of the ways ruins function within videogames and argues that many of the ways videogames use ruins run parallel to the ways that other media and movements have used these potent and evocative symbols to bolster their own agendas. Furthermore, not only do they utilize this larger history, but because videogame ruins are so often utilized in the mechanics of the videogames, they add new layers of cultural signification and myth to our larger understanding of ruins. Rather than asking whether or not digital ruins are authentically ruined by time, weather, and human destruction, this thesis considers why ruins are ubiquitous within the secondary worlds of videogames. The author presents several diverse models from other interpretations ruins. These models provide starting points for considering how ruins are intended to affect the player and gameplay. The models outlined by Carol Springer (encomiastic, exhortatory, and elegiac) and Paul Zucker (spatial) are applicable to how ruins in videogames look, function within the rule-sets, provide narratives that propel gameplay, and expand upon the histories and stories that bind virtual worlds together.
PDF : 101 p. : ill
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