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Computer Game Criticism: A method for computer game analysis

Konzac, Lars

Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings
: Tampere University Press, June, 2002


In this paper, we describe a method to analyse computer games. The analysis method is based on computer games in particular and not some kind of transfer from other field or studies - even though of course it is inspired from other kinds of analysis methods from varying fields of studies. The method is based on seven different layers of the computer game: hardware, program code, functionality, game play, meaning, referentiality, and socio-culture. Each of these layers may be analysed individually, but an entire analysis of any computer game must be analysed from every angle. Thereby we are analysing both technical, aesthetic and socio-cultural perspectives.

Computer game, analysis, method, criticism, ludology



Presented here is a method of analysis for computer game criticism. By
focusing on different layers the aim is to analyse and thereby understand
computer games better. The method of analysis is a bottom-up approach
and like any method it has its fl aws. As the main fl aw one can see the losing of perspective by focusing only on fragments of the computer game. Thus, in order to minimise this fl aw we should make a general description of the computer game in question before analysis. Thereby we shall be able to keep our perspective on the game as a whole, trying to be as thorough and objective as possible. This will turn out to be helpful in the later analysis. In order to show how the analysis method should be used, we analyse the computer game Soul Calibur by Hajime Nakatani (Namco, 1999) [1]. The method consists of seven layers: hardware, program code, functionality, gameplay, meaning, referentiality and socio-culture. 




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