Freshly published: Explorative spatial analysis of the function of landscape in video games

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Dominik Kremer, Daniel-Harald Sonnenwald, Blake Byron Walker have published their research in ZfdG.


»Experiencing visual landscape in the sense of newer cultural geography means relating socio-cultural context and environment by individual sense-making. Landscape is therefore not considered pre-given, it is discursively constructed in the very moment of watching. In the context of digital landscapes, little is known of the individual sense-making. Do landscapes only set the scene in video games? Are affordances set on the horizon? Or do the players create their own ways of enacting? Our methodological approach to answer these questions is doubly experimental. First, we extend the method of text-based close reading in its variant of close playing to digital walk-alongs in the sense of geographical field research. In a second step we use the established inventory of image schemata for the annotation of key frames extracted from observed screencasts. As main findings, we found that it requires a certain skill level to enact landscape any different than simply compliant to the game mechanics. Secondly, we found that depending on the style of playing, landscape can be enacted as an aura that not simply frames the game as distant scenery, but also influences the mindset for all further interactions with the game.«