James Ash: Commodifying Affect


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Creative Commons License photo credit: baboon™

I’ve been busy for the last month or so, so have fallen behind with a few things. One of the things I wanted to publicise before Christmas was James Ash‘s New Voices seminar at Newcastle Politics on November 17th 2010. James gave a paper entitled ‘Commodifying Affect: Videogames and the Technics of Affective Amplification‘. James discussed the manner in which videogames modulate affective states in order to draw the player further into their diegetic world. He effectively used Modern Warfare 2’s Second Sun sequence as an example of how affect is modulated through the interplay of scripted an unscripted events. Overall the thing I found most interesting was the way in which he suggests affect is modulated in order to make gameplay absorbing – that is to make it an experience that occupies attention to the detriment of reflection. This helps to explain the lack of attunement to moral judgement that occurs in games where players are asked to kill and maim in ways that outside the games diegetic space they may find unpalatable.

The event was podcast – you can download it here.

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