“Towards a New Understanding of Games: Auteur Game Criticism” as PDF file.
This thesis examines the adaptability and applicability of auteur theory to video games. Auteur theory is used as a critical method to analyze films as art works and can be applied to video games. Video games are not only commodities which are used only for entertainment purposes, they can also be considered as works of art. This analysis defines games in the field of popular art and focuses on different dimensions of games, such as simulation, software, rule-based system in relation to the potential of games as art works. The analysis of art and video games relationship focuses on the different valorization methods of art works and the art value of games in different perspectives.After studying art and video games relationship, I present the historical background and key concepts of auteur theory. Starting with the transformation of artisan as craftsmen to artist, theories around auteur as film artist are examined. The changes of the theory, the effects of the theory in different times and places, and different uses are introduced to draw the borders of the auteur concept.The impact of auteur to the field of games and theories around authorial methods of game making comes next. I criticize the idea of promoting game makers to auteur level and then I propose the use of auteur theory as a criticism method. Instead of defining game auteur as a genius artist I suggest to revaluate games and reality relationship. Then, to develop the auteur game criticism I examine expressive uses and possibilities, also narrative and formal aspects of video games. Differently from the original auteur theory, I define the possibility of player as auteur.After the reconceptualization of auteur theory, I propose an example of how this criticism method could be applied to video games. I take Gonzalo Frasca as an auteur and criticize his games. I use both game elements defined as aesthetic variables in the control of game auteur, and also Frasca’s own perspective and methods described in his writings.