The Aesthetics of Games and the Pleasure of Governance

by David Elliot; Posted on June 7th, 2013

C. Thi Nguyen (Utah Valley University) and Jonathan Gingerich will be delivering a talk on the aesthetics of board games and video games titled “The Aesthetics of Games and the Pleasure of Governance.” The talk will be today (June 7) at 3:00 in the UCLA Department of Philosophy, Dodd Hall 399, and they would welcome the attendance of anyone interested in game design or the aesthetics of games.

In this talk, they will attempt to provide a partial answer to the question: what makes a game a good game? They will begin by describing a common view of games in the literature on game aesthetics: that texts provide a good metaphor for games and that the aesthetic quality of games as games depends largely on representational or narrative features of games. They will argue that this text-metaphor view of games does not capture some of the most important aesthetic features of games. They will suggest that the text-metaphor view should be supplemented with a different view: that governments provide a good metaphor for games and that the aesthetic quality of games depends largely on how they guide and structure choices that their players make. They will develop our argument by showing how our theoretical framework provides for an attractive and intuitive aesthetic evaluation of a complex, multiplayer board games using Michel Foucault’s account of techniques of government that he calls “apparatuses of security.”