The Eroti­cism of Game­play


Session Title:

  • Games Betwixt and Between

Presentation Title:

  • The Eroti­cism of Game­play




  • Panel: Games Betwixt and Between

    From the sec­onds-long scale of a gimme in Far­mville to the epic 70-hour hero quest in a mas­sive RPG, games are our cul­ture’s most de­vel­oped en­gines for cre­at­ing and ful­fill­ing de­sire.  And no mat­ter the gran­u­lar­ity, the sim­i­lar­ity of the pat­tern across time scales is no co­in­ci­dence.  This cycle of de­sire and tem­po­rary ful­fill­ment is thor­oughly fa­mil­iar to west­ern­ers; it per­vades our nar­ra­tive media and our con­sump­tive pat­terns, and has taken the fore­front in nearly every as­pect of human ex­pres­sion in­clud­ing music, writ­ing, and film, as well as games. The fa­mil­iar curve of in­tro­duc­tion, ris­ing ten­sion, cli­max, and de­nou­ment is of course strik­ingly sim­i­lar to one of the other best-loved sen­sory cy­cles in human ex­pe­ri­ence:  or­gas­mic build-up and re­lease.   Heather Kel­ley will make her case for the or­gas­mic chem­i­cal and be­hav­ioral cycle as the struc­tural basis for the power of nar­ra­tive and game­play.  Kel­ley pro­poses that lin­ear and in­ter­ac­tive media alike are ex­pe­ri­en­tal cog­nates of the bio­me­chan­i­cal process of erotic grat­i­fi­ca­tion.