Joost Raessens

Reality Play. Documentary computer games beyond fact or fiction, Free Flow Lecture

May 15, 2006, 6:00 pm   » 

Computer games such as “JFK Reloaded” and “9-11 Survivor” aim not only at an
accurate documentation of particular events - such as the assassination of
John F. Kennedy and the Twin Towers attack - but also at the playful
re-enactment of these traumatic events. In this lecture Joost Raessens
discusses whether “documentary” computer games is a useful term to define
these games. These docu-games try to combine the facts of documentaries and
the fiction of computer games, elements that seem hard to reconcile at first
sight. Do these games create a harmonious "space of communication" in which
feelings of mutual understanding occur between designers and players?

Joost Raessens is Associate Professor of New Media Studies at Utrecht
University, The Netherlands, and visiting professor in the Communication
Studies Department (UCLA) during the spring quarter 2006. He studied
philosophy, film, and French, at the Radboud University (Nijmegen, The
Netherlands) and the Sorbonne (Paris, France). In 2001, he obtained his Ph.D.
in philosophy for his thesis on the cinema books of the French philosopher
Gilles Deleuze (Philosophy & film. Viv®e la différence: Deleuze and
cinematographic modernity (Damon, 2001). In 2003, he was conference chair of
the inaugural Dgital Games Research Conference 'Level Up,' organized by
Utrecht University in close collaboration with DiGRA (Digital Games Research
Association). He co-edited the conference proceedings: Level Up. Digital
Games Research Conference 2003. He also co-edited the Handbook of Computer
Game Studies (The MIT Press, 2005). He is member of the editorial board of
Games and Culture. A Journal of Interactive Media (Sage Publications).

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