Dualing [sic] epics

Mar 31, 11 Dualing [sic] epics

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This post picks up where my last one left off, and does the heavy oral formulaic lifting I mentioned before. If we take the phrase “Playing the Past” as loosely as I think all of us here would like, playing the past is exactly what the homeric bards were doing, and the rules of that play were the system of oral poetic formulas...

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Epic choices, and the lack thereof

Mar 10, 11 Epic choices, and the lack thereof

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This post serves as a prelude to some heavy oral formulaic lifting I’m planning to do in a subsequent one, following on from the more general argument I made about immersion in my previous two posts on games and homeric epic. Hopefully, these posts will clarify both the similarities between the interactivity and immersion to be...

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Epic immersion, part 1: in medias res, not in mediis rebus

Feb 10, 11 Epic immersion, part 1: <i data-src="http://www.playthepast.org/wp-content/themes/DelicateNews/timthumb.php?src=http://www.playthepast.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Unseal_the_Hushed_Casket_by_JeanLuc761.jpg&h=96&w=238&zc=1" class="thumb alignleft lazyload" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw=="><noscript><img src="http://www.playthepast.org/wp-content/themes/DelicateNews/timthumb.php?src=http://www.playthepast.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Unseal_the_Hushed_Casket_by_JeanLuc761.jpg&h=96&w=238&zc=1" class=

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The beginnings of practomimes, whether oral traditional epics or narrative video games, can, I think, tell us a great deal about some fascinating similarities and differences among how performers through the ages–bards, storytellers of all kinds, video gamers–expressed themselves artistically. Such comparisons seem to...

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Emergent gameplay, bardic style

Jan 27, 11 Emergent gameplay, bardic style

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There’s a wonderful moment in Book 8 of the homeric Odyssey when Odysseus treats Demodocus, one of the two bards in the Odyssey (we’ll meet poor Phemius, the other one, very briefly later in this post) pretty much the way a gamer treats his or her controller, fulfilling the fantasy that herdsman from my last post has of being a...

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The gamer and the herdsman

Dec 16, 10 The gamer and the herdsman

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In this post I return to the roots of all my thought about classics and games, the striking and hermeneutically useful analogy between bardic recomposition in traditional oral epic, as studied above all by Milman Parry and Albert Lord, and player peformances in what I have come to call digital practomime–that is, what most...

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