Forward from Rebecca Cannon Re: [-empyre-] otherness

Dear all, this post was bounced after I approved it.  Here forwarded again.


From: r cannon <>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 01:26:58 +1000
To: empyre email list <>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] otherness

Hello Empyre

Some thoughts on melinda/eugenie¹s posts

melinda wrote that
>... there's something more in the gameplay that gets me.... some almost
> chemical thing that occurs  to totally immerse me even more within
> otherness

(immerse me within otherness ­ tautology? Or a kind of disassociation from

On 5/7/04 4:09 AM, "eugenie" <> wrote:

>...the kind of difference embodied in the
> games under discussion here is, in fact, both more complex and more familiar
> (if that makes sense) than in other games.
>...most commercially available games
> engage difference or otherness on a primarily physical level, and encourage
> the gamer to overcome it, rather than foreground it and incorporate it into
> the gaming experience.
> in the games we're talking about here, which contain an explicitly political
> dimension, there is an additional level of complexity in the notion of
> otherness, and hence in the sorts of affects we experience. part of that
> involves a much deeper and more complex and contradictory level of
> investment in the psyche of the character - and, i would guess (i've only
> seen one of these games in the flesh), a much less easy ride in terms of
> 'becoming' one's character. As Michael says, Waco is a primal scene of
> American fear and getting into the body of David Koresh is bound to bring
> about a different kind of rush than getting into the body of Tony Hawks. ...

Wouldn¹t this depend on ones attitude to the politics in question? Im sure,
if I'd encountered an anarchist game several years ago, back when I
identified to some degree as an anarchist, that I would identify quite
strongly with the characters due to their political persuasion.

Perhaps politics only complexify games when the contradiction you mentioned
becomes active - due to the game's political ideology  questioning that of
the player. 

However, I think along the same lines, that pure fantasy, as opposed to
realistic politics, can also strongly agree with, or contradict, a player's
mythical belief systems. Being mythical these (belief)systems might be much
more lateral than political beliefs, but just as emotionally and
psychologically affective. Many people find certain types of games highly
distasteful ­ this clash can occur on a level less forefront than that of

> so on some level, all of these games confront the player with the
> fundamental impossibility of what they're attempting - i.e. the ability to
> fully occupy another self, the ability to bridge the gap between self and
> other. in other words, they don't simply address political issues, they
> simultaneously comment upon the difficulty of fully confronting these kinds
> of issues via 'virtual' engagement. for me, that's part of what's so
> interesting about them.

I feel that the converse is possible. That the impossibility of what the
player is attempting is in fact the drawing point, the addictive quality
which allows them to fulfil desires and dreams, - yearnings whether
conscious, functional or unconscious, psychological. The otherness of
identification with game character isn't binary - our interactivity with the
character undermines this. The avatarial form of the player becomes an
extension of the self, becomes a mechanism by which we might realise
potentials only possible in game worlds, within game physics.

I perceive a subject-subject identification, one that hasn¹t occurred with
on-screen characters in quite the same way in any previous media. The
immersive power of computer game interactivity, the immediacy ­ and
resultant proximity to our characters which these qualities provide us with
is a condition very specific to games. Character customisation, acquired
skills, biological affect, game society and mythical experiences all
contribute to the reality of identification with character and
character-based experience. In-game experiences afford us memories akin in
potency to their real-life, physical corollaries. These memories shape us.

However the potential for contradiction with the characters that you¹ve
brought up eugenie, where the political persuasions cause the game
characters become an other, is very interesting. Where the politics initiate
a disruption between subject and potential-Subject. However I think politics
are not the sole cause for this rupture, that the psychological disruption
can occur on a variety of levels, conscious /noncs/uncs.

Coming back to the snippet of Melinda¹s post above ­ the combination
physical affect ­ obviously very addictive physical affect (and who isnt
easily addicted to safe, repetitive doses of adrenaline, norepinephrine and
endorphins), combined with broad psychological fulfilments could be reasons
for the particular potency of games.

 --- or maybe, with regards to her experiences in Waco Resurrection, Melinda
Empyre is just a closet cult leader : )


(geez, my boy friends tormenting me with rick astley¹s together forever ­ we
couldn¹t find the kylie version so I presume that evolved just from playing
ricks at high speed?).

> eugenie
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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