Lim­i­noid Acts


Session Title:

  • Games Betwixt and Between

Presentation Title:

  • Lim­i­noid Acts




  • Panel: Games Betwixt and Between

    “Lim­i­nal­ity is a tem­po­ral in­ter­face whose prop­er­ties par­tially in­vert those of the al­ready con­sol­i­dated order which con­sti­tutes any spe­cific cul­tural ‘cos­mos’ “.  _Turner: 41                                                   One works at the lim­i­nal, one plays with the lim­i­noid   _Turner: 55

    The litany of the new dri­ves the game econ­omy for­ward as the glit­ter of Hol­ly­wood rubs off on the major stu­dios. The big game dom­i­nates the tra­di­tional gam­ing za­ibatsu yet in their shadow smaller more agile game-mak­ers cap­ture the hearts and minds of the game-play­ing pub­lic. There has long been an am­a­teur game-mak­ing com­mu­nity from bed­room coders play­ing­with home com­puter tech­nol­ogy on­wards. Dig­i­tal dis­tri­b­u­tion has en­abled these in­de­pen­dent game-mak­ers to re­lease their games di­rect to play­ers in a range of ways: from free-to-play to rev­enue gen­er­at­ing this has grown am­a­teur prac­tice into in­de­pen­dent de­vel­op­ment. The aes­thetic im­pact of small de­vel­op­ment teams is sig­nif­i­cant, a wash of retro-im­agery and lo-fi val­ues break down ex­pec­ta­tions for the gloss of pro-pro­duc­tions. It may be too early to com­plete an art his­tory of indie games but it is pos­si­ble to trace strands of ab­strac­tion in many of these ex­pe­ri­ences.  Turner’s no­tion of lim­i­nal­ity as a core as­pect of so­ci­ety of­fers a pro­duc­tive model from which to con­sider the move­ment of indie games into a cre­ative cen­tre ground. Limen (the Latin for “thresh­old”) in this usage is in­ter­ested in move­ments within so­ci­ety whether col­lec­tive, func­tional and in­te­grated (“lim­i­nal”) as part of rites of pas­sage within so­ci­ety or in­di­vid­ual, crit­i­cal, idio­syn­cratic and along the mar­gins of so­ci­ety (“lim­i­noid”). Using spe­cific ex­am­ples from in­de­pen­dent game prac­tice this paper ex­plores these bor­der ex­per­i­ments as one po­ten­tial ex­pres­sive fu­ture for game form.

    Work cited: Turner, V. From Rit­ual to The­atre: The Human Se­ri­ous­ness of Play. New York: PAJ Pub­li­ca­tions, 1982.

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