Simulational realism : playing as trying to remember

2018
journal article
article
dc.abstract.enIn this text, I describe a specific way of addressing the past in video games which are set in historical times but at the same time deliberately undermine the facticity of their virtual worlds. By grounding my argument in analyses of two blockbuster productions - Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft, 2007) and Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision, 2010) - I introduce and define the notion of "simulational realism". Both games belong to best-selling franchises and share an interesting set of features: they relate to historical places, events, and figures, establish counter-factual narratives based around conspiracy theories, and - most importantly - display many formal similarities. Like most AAA games, Assassin’s Creed and Black Ops intend to immerse the player in the virtual reality and, for this purpose, they naturalize their interfaces as integral elements of reality. However, in the process of naturalizing simulation, objectivity of the past becomes unthinkable. In my considerations, I situate this problem in two contexts: 1) of a cultural and epistemic shift in perceiving reality which was influenced by dissemination of digital technologies; 2) Vilém Flusser’s prognosis on the effects of computation on human knowledge. According to Flusser’s theory of communication, history - as a specific kind of human knowledge -emerged out of writing that was always linear and referential. Consequently, the crisis of literary culture resulted in the emergence of new aesthetics and forms of representations which - given their digital origin - dictate new ways of understanding reality. As history is now being substituted by timeless posthistory, aesthetic conventions of realism are also transformed and replaced by digital equivalents. Following Flusser’s theory, I assert that we should reflect on the epistemological consequences of presenting the past as simulation, especially if we consider the belief shared by many players that games like Assassin’s Creed can be great tools for learning history. I find such statements problematic, if we consider that the historical discourse, grounded on fact, is completely incompatible with the aesthetics of sim-realism which evokes no illusion of objective reality.pl
dc.affiliationWydział Polonistyki : Katedra Performatykipl
dc.contributor.authorWojnowski, Konrad - 115528 pl
dc.date.accession2019-04-18pl
dc.date.accessioned2019-04-24T16:54:14Z
dc.date.available2019-04-24T16:54:14Z
dc.date.issued2018pl
dc.date.openaccess0
dc.description.accesstimew momencie opublikowania
dc.description.number1pl
dc.description.physical86-98pl
dc.description.publication0,8pl
dc.description.versionostateczna wersja wydawcy
dc.description.volume14pl
dc.identifier.doi10.2478/mik-2018-0008pl
dc.identifier.eissn1822-4547pl
dc.identifier.issn1822-4555pl
dc.identifier.projectROD UJ / OPpl
dc.identifier.urihttps://ruj.uj.edu.pl/xmlui/handle/item/73676
dc.identifier.weblinkhttps://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/mik/14/1/article-p86.xmlpl
dc.languageengpl
dc.language.containerengpl
dc.rightsUdzielam licencji. Uznanie autorstwa - Użycie niekomercyjne - Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Polska*
dc.rights.licenceCC-BY-NC-ND
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/legalcode*
dc.share.typeotwarte czasopismo
dc.subject.enrealismpl
dc.subject.ensimulationpl
dc.subject.encounterfactualspl
dc.subject.enpost-historypl
dc.subject.endigital aestheticspl
dc.subtypeArticlepl
dc.titleSimulational realism : playing as trying to rememberpl
dc.title.journalMeno istorija ir kritika = Art History & Criticismpl
dc.title.volumeCounter(f)actualspl
dc.typeJournalArticlepl
dspace.entity.typePublication
dc.abstract.enpl
In this text, I describe a specific way of addressing the past in video games which are set in historical times but at the same time deliberately undermine the facticity of their virtual worlds. By grounding my argument in analyses of two blockbuster productions - Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft, 2007) and Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision, 2010) - I introduce and define the notion of "simulational realism". Both games belong to best-selling franchises and share an interesting set of features: they relate to historical places, events, and figures, establish counter-factual narratives based around conspiracy theories, and - most importantly - display many formal similarities. Like most AAA games, Assassin’s Creed and Black Ops intend to immerse the player in the virtual reality and, for this purpose, they naturalize their interfaces as integral elements of reality. However, in the process of naturalizing simulation, objectivity of the past becomes unthinkable. In my considerations, I situate this problem in two contexts: 1) of a cultural and epistemic shift in perceiving reality which was influenced by dissemination of digital technologies; 2) Vilém Flusser’s prognosis on the effects of computation on human knowledge. According to Flusser’s theory of communication, history - as a specific kind of human knowledge -emerged out of writing that was always linear and referential. Consequently, the crisis of literary culture resulted in the emergence of new aesthetics and forms of representations which - given their digital origin - dictate new ways of understanding reality. As history is now being substituted by timeless posthistory, aesthetic conventions of realism are also transformed and replaced by digital equivalents. Following Flusser’s theory, I assert that we should reflect on the epistemological consequences of presenting the past as simulation, especially if we consider the belief shared by many players that games like Assassin’s Creed can be great tools for learning history. I find such statements problematic, if we consider that the historical discourse, grounded on fact, is completely incompatible with the aesthetics of sim-realism which evokes no illusion of objective reality.
dc.affiliationpl
Wydział Polonistyki : Katedra Performatyki
dc.contributor.authorpl
Wojnowski, Konrad - 115528
dc.date.accessionpl
2019-04-18
dc.date.accessioned
2019-04-24T16:54:14Z
dc.date.available
2019-04-24T16:54:14Z
dc.date.issuedpl
2018
dc.date.openaccess
0
dc.description.accesstime
w momencie opublikowania
dc.description.numberpl
1
dc.description.physicalpl
86-98
dc.description.publicationpl
0,8
dc.description.version
ostateczna wersja wydawcy
dc.description.volumepl
14
dc.identifier.doipl
10.2478/mik-2018-0008
dc.identifier.eissnpl
1822-4547
dc.identifier.issnpl
1822-4555
dc.identifier.projectpl
ROD UJ / OP
dc.identifier.uri
https://ruj.uj.edu.pl/xmlui/handle/item/73676
dc.identifier.weblinkpl
https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/mik/14/1/article-p86.xml
dc.languagepl
eng
dc.language.containerpl
eng
dc.rights*
Udzielam licencji. Uznanie autorstwa - Użycie niekomercyjne - Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Polska
dc.rights.licence
CC-BY-NC-ND
dc.rights.uri*
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/legalcode
dc.share.type
otwarte czasopismo
dc.subject.enpl
realism
dc.subject.enpl
simulation
dc.subject.enpl
counterfactuals
dc.subject.enpl
post-history
dc.subject.enpl
digital aesthetics
dc.subtypepl
Article
dc.titlepl
Simulational realism : playing as trying to remember
dc.title.journalpl
Meno istorija ir kritika = Art History & Criticism
dc.title.volumepl
Counter(f)actuals
dc.typepl
JournalArticle
dspace.entity.type
Publication
Affiliations

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