The study of game aestheticsis a very recent practice, spanning less than two decades. Unlike game studies in mathematics or the social sciences, ........ are much older, games became subject to humanistic study only after computer and video games became popular. This lack of persistent interest might seem odd, but only if we see traditional games and computer games as intrinsically similar, ........ they are not. We might try to explain this lack by noting that games are usually seen as trivial and lowbrow by the aesthetic and theoretical elites ........ cultivate the analysisof artistic mediaobjects: literature, the visual arts, theatre, music, etc. But this does not explain the fact that aesthetic studies of games are now not only possible, but even encouraged and supported with funding. What happened to cause this change?
A possible explanation could be that digital games, unlike traditional games or sports, consist of non-ephemeral content (stored words, sounds and images), which places them much closer to the ideal object of the Humanities, the work of art. Thus, they become visible and textualizable for the aesthetic observer, in a way the previous phenomena were not.
However, this sudden visibility, probably also caused by the tremendous economic and cultural successof computer games, produces certain blind spots in the aesthetic observer, especially if he/she is trained in textual/visual analysis, as is usually the case. Instead of treating the new phenomenacarefully, and as objects of a study for which no methodology yet exists, they are analyzed with tools that happen to be at hand, such as film or narrative theories. Therefore we need to outline and promote a methodology for the aesthetic study of games, which, given the current nascent state of the field, will doubtlessly give way to more sophisticated approachesin the years to come.
Adapted from: Aarseth, Espen. Playing Research: Methodological approaches to game analysis.
Select the alternative which presents only nouns in their plural forms.
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