documentary on computer games
At the end of last year, Halvard Jakobsen made a half-hour radio documentary about video game research that was broadcast on NRK over Christmas. He’s talked with J¯rgen KirksÊther, who’s working on a PhD on computer game history and works with games for Statens Filmtilsyn; Espen Aarseth, the nestor of Scandinavian game studies, on the phone from Copenhagen, and me – I talked about how you enter into the fictional world (starting about 12 minutes in) and about games and art and grass root game development around 23-24 minutes.
I used to work in radio and I think I actually prefer interviewing than being interviewed. The uneditability of it is strange – though Halvard’s done a great job of making my sentences sound fairly whole. I love how radio doesn’t need to disappear anymore.
J¯rgen KirksÊther has an interesting comment (around 16-17 minutes in) about Space Invaders. Talking about Space Invaders, he says that it took the Japanese to figure out how to make a satisfying single-player game. The key is that you should never be able to win. The Americans could never have created that game, he says, because the idea of a game that can’t be won is inconceivable within the American culture. The Samurai codex of the Japanese, on the other hand, allows for the idea of losing with honour, J¯rgen says. After Space Invaders, which was a huge success, both the Americans and the Japanese made and are still making popular, unwinnable games.