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GCG Feature: 'Up From the Feuilleton: Theory of the Filmic Game'

In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Dow Harris <a href="http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/370/up_from_the_feuilleton_theory_of_.php">argues the theory of the Filmic Game</a> by stating that “stories and gam

Jason Dobson, Blogger

May 9, 2007

2 Min Read

In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Dow Harris argues the theory of the Filmic Game by stating that “stories and games, stories in games, and games in stories are converging into a hybrid art form that blends cinematic narrative with dynamic interaction.” In his introduction, Harris reflects on German author Herman Hesse's literary classic The Glass Bead Game, a novel that not only presents a vision of the convergence of storytelling and gaming, but also serves as a prototype for the concept known as the filmic game: "Amazingly, neither a major motion picture nor a video game has yet been made based on Herman Hesse's final masterpiece, The Glass Bead Game. Hesse received a Nobel Prize in 1947, for which The Glass Bead Game was specifically cited. While sitting amongst the Swiss Alps during one of the most critical points in the twentieth century, the middle of World War II, he dreamed a powerful vision of the future that posits a complex game as the pinnacle of human mental achievements and the primary activity of intellectual elites. The Glass Bead Game is an existential commentary on the conflict of mind and body and a reflection on the disputes of the tempestuous period in which Hesse was writing. It also offers potential speculation as to why gaming has become such an overwhelming force in today's postmodern society. This effort is dedicated to popularizing Hesse's futuristic vision of Western culture. The focus will not be on the construction of an actual Glass Bead Game as much as it will be on a narrative environment in which the game unfolds. Using The Glass Bead Game as a prototype subject, a theory of the Filmic Game is offered." He later adds: "This art form resembles life more so, perhaps, than any previous discipline because it is dramatic, story-driven, moves backward or forward according to the participant's decisions and is disturbingly real. Thus, it is existential. The Glass Bead Game is an ideal narrative for this new storytelling discipline because it is an existential story about a game by one of the foremost authors of the twentieth century. And, it is a story, which, up until now, has hardly been touched by the newer media." You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature on the subject, with more from Harris on the coelescing of story and gaming into a singular art form, to which he postulates that in the future “the Filmic Game may well emerge as one of the higher art forms” (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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