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It recognizes excellence in independent work in the cutscenes categories and sciences as well as in high-end commercial productions in the film, advertising and entertainment industries. In this category, artistic originality counts just as much as masterful technical achievement. In recent years, computer animation has become a driving force for many new areas that go beyond screens, both artistically and technically. Entries can be of any length, however, if the entry is longer than 30 minutes, you have the following choices:. Each submission will be judged on its own merit, and should stand alone. There are no requirements as to theatrical release.


The technique of cutscenes, as typically found in story-based action games, is placed within a wider discursive problematic, focusing on the role of pre-written narratives in general. Within a theoretical framework raised by Espen Aarseth, Markku Eskelinen and Marie-Laure Ryan, I discuss the relations between the ergodic and the representational, and between play and narration.

I argue that any cutscenes categories event is also a representational event, a part of a typical and familiar symbolic action, in which cutscenes often play a crucial part. Through cutscenes, the ergodic effort acquires typical meanings from the generic worlds of popular culture. Ergodics, narrative, rhetoric, representation, genre, popular culture. In his excellent article about configurative mechanisms in games, The Gaming Situation [5], Markku Eskelinen rightly points out, drawing on Espen Aarseths well-known typology of cybertexts, that playing a game is predominantly a configurative practice, not an interpretative one like film or literature However, the deeply problematic claim following from this is that stories "are just uninteresting ornaments or gift-wrappings to games, and laying any emphasis on studying cutscenes categories kind of marketing tools is just waste of time and energy" This is a radical ludological argument: Everything other than the pure game mechanics of a computer game is essentially alien to its true aesthetic form.

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Cutscenes categories his concept of the ergodic Aarseth has provided an invaluable tool for investigating games as a unique form of expression, a distinct category of cultural activity not reducible to other and more established. The ergodic ifies the general principle of having to work with the materiality of a text, the need to participate in the construction of its material structure.

Some ergodic works lead us towards a fixed solution a jigsaw-puzzleothers can be unpredictable and open-ended an experimental hypertext novel. As a discursive mode, the ergodic can be contrasted to narrative discourse, where the user is invited only to engage in the semantics of the text and does not have to worry about its material configuration.

Reading narrative is, as Eskelinen says, a purely interpretative practice. In narrative discourse the user is only a reader, not a co-constructor, not a player.

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In any game, the ergodic is the defining discursive mode, not the narrative. This means that the user is basically involved as cutscenes categories player doing ergodic work on the materiality of the textnot as a reader interpreting on a semantic level. This may sound obvious games are gamesbut it is an important theoretical premise if we are to avoid studying computer games as if they were just another narrative genre. Following the general perspective raised by Aarseth, both Jesper Juul [9] and Gonzalo Frasca [6] has developed more specifically game-oriented ideas about how to understand this basic distinction, centred around the Latin term ludus, both as a mode of textuality and as a mode of activity on a more general level.

Correspondingly, all game research, including the study of computer games, would be labelled ludology. There are good reasons why the ludic dimension of computer games deserves considerable theoretical attention. The field is still developing through an early stage, and it is important not to leave it open to affirmative appropriation by established disciplines and theories.

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On the other hand — does it follow that other modes of discourse in a computer game are accidental to the gaming experience and hence less interesting to computer game theorists? Should computer game studies be a sub-category of general game theory?

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Radical ludology only takes us so far, mainly for two reasons:. Play is transformed by the computer technology, producing distinctive new forms of challenge and attraction that can not be understood through concepts and theories developed to investigate non-computerized play. Although not the subject of this brief cutscenes categories, both the procedural logic and the spectacular responsiveness of the computer as a media technology has indeed created unique, although not entirely new, textual attractions.

In fact, game genres offering ergodic challenges within a fictional universe known from other media make up a large portion of the games that people actually buy and play today sport and driving games being the other major commercial category. The marketing of these genres addresses the buyer primarily as a reader, packing their games with heavy intertextual references, most often based on expensive licences from the film industry. Already a standard convention, narration of events within this fictional universe is typically conveyed cutscenes categories cutscenes — cinematic sequences adressing the reader, putting the player on hold.

Within the radical perspective raised by Markku Eskelinen inspired by Aarseth this category of games can be nothing but a bastard discourse, an impure commercial practice that may well be appreciated by mainstream consumers, but cannot be taken seriously by computer game studies, other than as a discursive misunderstanding that probably will go away as games mature or, admittedly, will live on due to the inherent corruption of mainstream entertainment.

Expanding this logic, one could say that not only cutscenes, but any pre-written narrative, fixed path, scripted event or movie-based character is a of immaturity, a dependence on film parallel to the way much early film was dependent on the conventions of staged drama. A mature, involving gameplay would not need any "You are James Bond" or the like, especially not when forced upon the player through elaborate and game-spoiling cinematic narration. Originally suggested as tools for the study of computer game aesthetics, the concepts of ergodics and ludology turns into self-contained arguments for advocating the purity of games, targeting a broad category of games story-based, single player action games as unworthy of serious attention.

Alternatively, the purist can be less categorical, and argue like Aspen Aarseth [2], seriously doubting the feasibility of games that try to integrate filmic narration:.

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Arguing like this, having no empirical evidence, or even indications, of what different kinds of audiences will actually want or not, is not as hazardous as it may seem. It is based on the assumption that two distinct discursive modes — of which the basic theoretical principles have been soundly established — cannot be mixed into new, stable, meaningful and enjoyable cultural practices.

Consequently, a game read: the cultural product should stick to being a game read: the discursive modein order to avoid being a confusing half-game. In this paper, this is not an empirical question about modes of reception in actual users however interestingbut rather a call for a stronger interest in a typical textual practice, at once configurative and interpretative, both unique and intertextual. The most accentuated expression of such an impure duality is found in the oscillation between cutscenes and play in typical story-based action games. These games offer a highly structured, linear and progressive gameplay, framed by a pre-written story.

What can possibly be the reason for cutting up the players configurative activities with close-to-parodic, B-movie-type cinematic sequences? Let me first briefly look at some gameplay considerations, questioning the assumption that cutscenes are irrelevant or destructive to gameplay. Framing gameplay in a single, linear story is convenient. A game within this genre needs cutscenes categories system of progression with a clear goala reward structure, and the regular introduction of cutscenes categories elements levels, enemies, weapons, skills. A simple, action-based story takes care of all this, offering a narrative project as a unifying logic.

This narrative is pragmaticas far as it serves as a plausible excuse for the construction of an interesting gameplay. The cutscene is an efficient tool for conveying this story, being more visually interesting than purely verbal narration, and more uncomplicated than distributing the necessary information through scripted events.

But cutscenes also have strengths of their own, serving gameplay functions that cannot be taken care of through other means. A cutscene does not cut off gameplay.

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It is an integral part of the configurative experience. Even if the player is denied any active input, this does not mean that the ergodic experience and effort is paused. In any case, it can not avoid affecting the rhythm of the gameplay.

This need not be in the negative sense.

For example, in the arcade-inspired James Bond in Agent Under Fire [12] a fun game that makes up in spectacle and atmosphere for what it lacks in gameplaythe numerous but short cutscenes provide regular moments of release from intense action. As a player you quickly learn the code, constantly being thrown rapidly in and out of bodily ergodic effort. Notably, it may work cutscenes categories surveillance or planning tool, providing the player with helpful or crucial visual information.

Both techniques are elegantly implemented in the gangster-themed Grand Theft Auto III [11], a game successfully combining story-based mission structure and a more open-ended gameplay.

Media in category "cutscenes"

This unusual mix is enabled through the impressive simulation of a big, populated city for the player to play around in. The game also illustrates a ificant gameplay-function of good cutscenes: reward by entertainment. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good, but you will never know before you get there. This may not be a very sophisticated technique, but it adds extra motivation and satisfaction to the game.

Chasing new cutscenes can be more fun than chasing bigger guns.

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Being both a simulation run by the physics engine and a sheer spectacle to sit back and watch, these jumps provide a striking illustration of the duality of computer games: At once representation and action, reading and configuration, communication and event, mediation and play. Doing away with the communicative dimension of computer games can only be a provisional, pragmatic tool, intended to highlight ergodic mechanisms.

Neglecting reading and mediation altogether le to an unnecessary pessimism towards the collaboration between narrative and the ludic as discursive modes. When Markku Eskelinen points to the fact that playing with a ball and telling stories are two different things [5, 1], he is certainly making a relevant argument as far as discursive modes is concerned, but still his choice of example very conveniently hides the very contradiction and sometimes dilemma that makes computer games so fascinating as a peculiar textual practice: Unlike for example a game of football, they are representational events.

A ball is not ait is a ball. Football is cutscenes categories narrated, because it is not an utterance in the first place.

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The easiest way to write off narration in a computer game, then, is to deny its relevance as an utterance. Being an act of ification, a computer game is what Kenneth Burke calls a symbolic action [4].

Much in line with Wayne C. Because they are symbolic actions, holding pre-configured, rhetorical meanings, computer game events are not events like any events cutscenes categories the world. The actions I perform when I play, because they also have meanings within a pre-configured fictional world, are a part of a symbolic action of someone else.

I may not pay any attention to it being too busy playingbut my own actions speak to me in a voice which is not mine. Espen Aarseth, although stressing that game events is a mode of textuality, nonetheless constructs a non-representational event-space within computer games.

Given this premise, he can argue, as Eskelinen has done after him, that narration and play cannot co-exist on the same level in discourse. He claims that narration can only be about the events in a game, and that thinking otherwise would be to confuse the representation of an event with the event itself [2, 35].

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He is obviously unwilling to grant any ificance to the fact that events in a non-abstract computer game are already representational, and therefore communicative, as they happen. Symbolic action is inscribed in all representational events. In story-based games, this symbolic act includes a narrative act.

S in category "cutscenes"

Narrative meaning does not depend on the user to perform a rhetorical reconstruction. My interest in the pre-configured textuality of computer games is partly based on an empirical speculation: People buy and play computer games because they want the illusion of playing in fantastic, but familiar worlds.

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When they play, people do not generally want to be artists, expressing themselves in new ways.