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First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game Paperback – March 3, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0262731751 ISBN-10: 0262731754

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First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game + Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media + Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (March 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262731754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262731751
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

" First Person makes an invaluable contribution to the current discussion surrounding new media narratives, computer games, and the performative ties that bind them. The anthology brings together major players in the field who discuss their ideas in the appropriately open-ended format of statements and responses, all of which shed light on the aesthetic and social implications of our new experiences of stories." Christiane Paul , Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art



"You have entered the rotunda of a gleaming, new conference center. Above you hangs a banner: 'Welcome to First Person.' In front of you, you see doors leading into separate conference rooms, each of which is marked with a sign in large, Futura Bold letters: 'Cyberdrama,' 'Ludology,' 'Simulation,' 'Hypertext and Interactives,' and so on. You soon discover that every room in this virtual conference called First Person is filled with informed discussion and lively controversy from major figures in the emerging field of Game Studies. Some are arguing that digital games (as the heirs of the novel and of film) constitute the next great arena for storytelling; others respond that games are not narratives at all and require a different theoretical framework and a new discipline. Still others are describing their own exciting contributions to interactive fiction, poetry, or visual/verbal art. By the time you return from this virtual tour of the world of Game Studies, you realize that all of these rooms (and all these topics) are connected in an intricate and compelling architecture of ideas. You begin to understand the rich possibilities that computer games offer... as drama, narrative, and simulation. You come to appreciate the great theoretical task that lies before us in exploring both the formal properties and the cultural significance of computer games." Jay David Bolter , Wesley Professor of New Media, Georgia Institute of Technology

About the Author

Noah Wardrip-Fruin is Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the coeditor of four collections published by the MIT Press: with Nick Montfort, The New Media Reader (2003); with Pat Harrigan, First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game (2004), Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (2007), and Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives (2009).

Pat Harrigan is a freelance writer and author of the novel Lost Clusters. He is also the co-editor, with Noah Wardrip-Fruin, of First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game (2004) and Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives (2007), both published by the MIT Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Tresca VINE VOICE on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm always wary of collections of essays, if only because the quality of writing can be so uneven. First Person takes the many dissonant voices of its collected authors and goes one step further, allowing them to disagree with each other in a running commentary along the bottom of each page.

First Person starts out very promising, beginning with Janet Murray on cyberdrama and Espen Aarseth's ergodic literature. The lovefest is interrupted by Markku Eskelinen who, contrasting the earlier authors, seems particularly cranky about the whole field. Eskelinen then becomes the nemesis for much of the rest of the book as different authors obliquely and directly take him on. If there's one consistent theme throughout First Person, it's that there's a lot of passive-aggressive hostility between scholars.

Unfortunately, First Person suffers from several problems. Some of the academics use jargon that only other game scholars would understand. On display in First Person is a battle of survival for the various authors, who are attempting to invent new words to describe what may or may not be a new medium. As a result, each essay disagrees with the next on how to describe key concepts. This makes reading First Person a challenge. Some authors seem dead-set on not being comprehensible except by other experts in their field, which makes their inclusion painful to read.

The responses, which could provide a really interesting point and counterpoint, are often snide brush-offs that amount to, "that's not what I said," or "we agree." That's nice, but it doesn't make for compelling reading and certainly doesn't justify the space these counterpoints take up in the book. I found the division between lower and upper portions of the book difficult to follow.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Crumpton on June 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A great overview of the intersections of games, linear stories, and interactive artworks. This book almost inevitably leaves you with a richer perspective, because the range of articles (the uses of voice synthesizers to the Sims) makes it unlikely that you are familiar with all the terrain. The commentary discussions parallel to the main text give a feeling like chatting with your smart friends about some brilliant lecture you just saw. Thought provoking and fun.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kim Flintoff on October 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What has particularly excited me is the opening chapter on "Cyberdrama"... it discusses approaches to story, game play and engagement in terms that echo what we are trying to achieve in Drama education. Throughout the book (and this is from preliminary browsing) there are discussions about narrative and simulation and disticntions being drawn bewteen perceptual positions of players ... the writers that have contributed to this book have a very clear sense of the notion of "role" and I am starting to think that this book may well serve as the basis for investigation into the role of technology in Drama ( and possibly other) education for the next few years. Other promising looking chapters include such discussions as "Moving Through Me as I move: A Paradigm for Interaction", "Unusual Positions: Embodied Interactions in Symbolic Spaces", "Narrative, Interactivity, Play and Games: Four Naughty Concepts in Need of Discipline", " Videogames of the Oppressed: Critical Thinking, Education, Tolerance and other Trivial Issues", "A Preliminary Poetics for Interactive Drama and Games"

The authors contributing to this book are well known to anyone who's started looking into Drama and technology - Janet Murray , Espen Aarseth and Brenda Laurel are all there, alongside more familiar "drama' voices such as Richard Schechner...

As a high school drama teacher, I have a keen interest in new media applications in Drama education - it seems that many of our number are still focussed totally on their Drama classrooms and while they have an interest in technology are not actually making much headway with developing knowledge in the area - this retards developing discussions when there isn't a common language and some basic concepts upon which to build our discussions and investigations...
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