Problems of Prestige, part 2: Wearing It on Your Sleeve

Jan 16, 13 Problems of Prestige, part 2: Wearing It on Your Sleeve

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One of the most obvious forms of prestige is that of armor. Even in Homer from where I am drawing inspiration for this series, armor is an important visual component linked to an individual. For example, nearly an entire book of the Iliad is dedicated to describing the shield that Hephaestus makes for Achilles. In beautiful poetry,...

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Epic Life: Back to Bungie 3

Nov 14, 12 Epic Life: Back to Bungie 3

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With the notion of playing HALO as doing humanities broached, it’s time to discuss the precise nature of the humanistic study in which HALO-players engage. Several times already I’ve alluded to the fashioning of Western selves. In this post, I’ll read a single performance moment of HALO: Combat Evolved within a...

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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 immersion, part 2: the interactivity of the homerids

Feb 24, 11 Epic immersion, part 2: the interactivity of the homerids

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I think it’s fairly easy to see that the story of an adventure video game comes to be about the person playing the game—especially when we think of the various sorts of games that fall into the RPG (role-playing game) category in one way or another, in which a player generally plays a character over whose composition he or she...

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

Feb 10, 11 Epic immersion, part 1: <i>in medias res</i>, not <i>in mediis rebus</i>

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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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