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Computer fictions

Despite their visual splendour, most computer games are characterised by violent, mechanistic pleasures rather than plot and character development. But gaming is still in its infancy. Artificial intelligence and online team-play may be triggering fictional forms that we can only begin to imagine

For many people, computer games represent the apogee of the mindlessness and violence of commercial mass culture. For Henry Jenkins, professor of comparative media studies at MIT, they will become the most significant art form of this century, just as cinema was of the last. Those that condemn games tend to have had little or no experience with them. Their views are received by players with the same weary resignation that the contemporary art world shows towards blanket denunciations of its activities. To appreciate these games, it is necessary to see them from the inside, from the player’s point of…

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