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Real|Unreal: Crafting Actuality in the Documentary Videogame

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Real|Unreal: Crafting Actuality in the Documentary Videogame

Poremba, Cynthia K (2011) Real|Unreal: Crafting Actuality in the Documentary Videogame. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Real|Unreal examines the emerging phenomenon of documentary videogames—specifically, how gamemakers can craft a stronger understanding of actuality in these works. To do so, gamemakers must first find ways of reclaiming indexicality within a digital medium, and second understand how games work as expressive, meaning-making frames. Using a framework based on theoretical work drawn from documentary and game studies, Real|Unreal presents an analysis of three documentary videogames that pick up key aspects of the indexical/expressive relationship: JFK Reloaded, which uses an algorithm as the indexical grounding in a re-engagement of a well-known archive; games in the commercial Brothers in Arms series which, by juxtaposing extensive archival and making-of documentation with third-person gameplay, create a phenomenological shift in which we view the later as-real; and Escape from Woomera, which enables an experience-centered performative inquiry within a re-created environment. In conjunction with these three analytic case studies, it presents a practice-based case study consisting of topical design sketches within the context of an original documentary videogame, with a goal of moving beyond known methods and exposing practical challenges of documentary game creation. By interweaving framework, analysis and creation, Real|Unreal gives documentary videogame creators the theoretical, analytic, creative and pragmatic support needed to further exploration of the genre.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Poremba, Cynthia K
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Humanities
Date:27 June 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Simon, Bart
Keywords:documentary, interactive documentary, videogames
ID Code:15136
Deposited By:CYNTHIA POREMBA
Deposited On:22 Nov 2011 08:43
Last Modified:10 Jan 2012 08:47
Additional Information:Submitted with associated documentation.
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