Week 11 March 24th Authorship and IP
At first, I was planning on discussing about interactive fiction with the articles by Nick Montfort and Porpentine. However after today’s class, I felt it was important to write about authorship and intellectual property with the article by Sarah Coleman and Nick Dyer-Witherford. Coleman and Dyer-Witherford discuss many aspects of the culture of videogames.
Firstly I will discuss one of the games that we have played called The Beginner’s Guide. At first when I played the game, I felt that I was not actually playing it but rather dragged along a series of short undeveloped games designed by a person known as Coda. The game is narrated by Davey Wreden who describes the games and Coda’s involvement of them. Wreden immediately starts off by stating that each of these games represents Coda and contains an encrypted secret about him. As I was progressing, Wreden starts to modify (or “hack”) into the games; thus giving them an ending. Wreden believes that games must follow a strict set of rules and that Coda is diverging away from this path. At the end of the game, Coda denounces Wreden due to his “hacking” of Coda’s games.
The term “hacker” has gone through various definitions. Coleman cites Leslie Haddon, a senior researcher in Media and Communications that the first definition of hacking is ‘a stylish technical innovation undertaken for the intrinsic pleasure … not necessarily to fulfill some more constructive goal’. This means that groups of enthusiastic people would find a different end for the use of a military computer which in time established a platform for gaming. Even today there are people who are fluent in Japanese and will create patches (a digital file which contains the translated text of the game) for these region blocked games.
Going back to Coda and his frustration against Wreden releasing Coda’s games to the public, I felt sympathy for Coda. When one releases their work to the public, it will earn both praises and scrutiny. For Coda’s case, he wants to avoid this dilemma where the critics would tear apart his creation to their expectation. It reminded me of the manga artist of Bleach where he had to be forced to change his series into something he did not want. First he started off having fun and creating something for himself. In order to obtain more fans, the editors forced him to alter his series. Thus it tragically ended his series and affected his mental health.
I have always loved the notion of “creating for the sake of it”. Coda follows this exact message. He creates games for himself because he enjoys it rather for the economic gain. Just like any other form of media such as poetry, painting or a journal, it is personal. It is an extension of you. You create it for you and not for others.
Bolloxedballs. YouTube. YouTube, 02 Oct. 2015. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DatJlgN8ZqE>.
Coleman, Sarah and Nick Dyer-Witheford. “Playing on the digital commons: collectivities, capital and contestation in videogame culture.” Media Culture & Society 26.6 (2007): 934-953.
Haddon, L. (1988) ‘Electronic and Computer Games: The History of an Interactive Medium’, Screen 29(2): 52–73.< http://web.stanford.edu/class/sts145/Library/electronic.pdf>.
The Beginner’s Guide (Davey Wreden 2015)