Prêt-à-jouer and Videogame Couture

  • Thinking videogames through other media can reframe our expectations of what games can do, challenge our design habits, and reconfigure our critical vocabularies. Videogames have long aspired to match cinema, so what if we set aside that lens for a moment and instead think about videogames as dance, fashion, or architecture? We might ask: What does choreographic play look like? What does it mean to dwell in a videogame space? Is there such a thing as videogame couture or prêt-à-jouer—‘off the rack’ games, ready-to-play? What if we forgo our misguided search for the Citizen Kane of videogames and instead aim to find the foxtrot, the Chanel, or the Sistine Chapel of videogames? Or better still, make them.
    My talk proposes answers to these and similar questions, linking up the histories and structures of media otherwise overlooked in videogame criticism and design. And I will hopefully entice attendees to ignore the question ‘Are videogames art?’ in favor of more provocative questions, like ‘Are videogames fashion?’

    Transcript/notes: Prêt-à-jouer and Videogame Couture