Nettverk for spillforskning

Pawel Garbarczyk, University of Lodz: Varieties of representation in computer games


The topic of representation in computer games has been widely discussed in the literature. Still, as I argue elsewhere (Grabarczyk 2021), it is typically analyzed from a critical perspective. In contrast to this dominant approach, I wish to focus on the fundamental, ontological, and epistemological questions related to representation in games.

I start with the fundamental definitional question of describing representation in games. Is there anything specific to games' representation, or can we use some of the existing representation theories developed in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind? If so, which approaches are applicable the most? Can we discuss the notion of representation without addressing problems related to the status of fiction? More specifically, is the split between ludic and narrative elements of games helpful or harmful when discussing representation?

I complement the theoretical part of the talk with case studies of games that are difficult to describe from the point of view of existing representation theories, such as interactive fiction games or games that use procedural generation.