Pixel In a Half-Shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and early Cross-Platform Media in Video Games

  • Posted on: 4 December 2014
  • By: dcollins

11 December 2014:

Pixel In a Half-Shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and early Cross-Platform Media in Video Games

James Kerr, Co-Director, Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture & Arcade Champ

https://www.facebook.com/events/567377393394889/

ABSTRACT: The quality of the video game didn't matter - if it was based on a toy, comic book or cartoon show then it would sell. However, in some cases, despite the odds, the game was great. Explore the relationship video games have with other media, the back-and-forth of video games and cartoon programmes, and the relationship video games have with greater media both yesterday and today. As a centre to the argument this analysis will mostly concern the bizarre success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise in video game history, with a full range of Ninja Turtles games available for play. Cowabunga!

Featured Games: TMNT (Arcade), TMNT (NES), TMNT: The Arcade Game (NES), TMNT: Turtles in Time (SNES), TMNT: Tournament Fighters (SNES), TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan (Gameboy), and mention of some non-turtles titles such as Batman Returns (Sega Genesis), E. T. / , The Extra-Terrestrial (Atari), and The Lego Series (Multiple Platforms)

Beercade! Happy Birthday Nintendo + Info Session

  • Posted on: 27 September 2014
  • By: dcollins

Join us 2 October 2014, 8pm, at Sadleir House for our first event of the 2014-15 academic year as we celebrate the 125th birthday of Nintendo!

We'll have our Nintendo systems out and ready to play all night long. We'll also be able to answer any questions you may have about the Centre for Pixel Culture, our Critical Play Seminars, our Research Collections & more!

Further info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1492204477715179/

Critical Play Seminars 2013-14

  • Posted on: 1 November 2013
  • By: dcollins

The Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture is dedicated to the preservation, collection, study, and appreciation of video games and related ephemera as important cultural texts. Through talks, seminars, and curated play exhibitions, the Centre for Pixel Culture encourages interaction with these pixel texts and promotes recognition of the video game medium.

 

7 November 2013:

Beat 'em Up: Brawling on Renegade Pixel Streets for the Final Fight!

James Kerr, Co-Director, Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture & Arcade Champ

ABSTRACT: The most popular genre of video game in the late eighties until it was killed swiftly in 1991 by a street fighter, Beat 'em Ups ruled the arcades and home consoles with brutal action! Though nearly as mass-produced as the Atari library, there are many Beat 'em Ups work revisiting. Explore the history and development of the genre, it's victories and game overs, and come to appreciate a computer-rendered version of what constituted "tough" in the late 80s - headbands and denim jackets with no sleeves.

Game List: Game List: Kung fu (1984, Irem), Renegade (1986, Taito), Double Dragon (1987, Tenchos Japan), Riven City Ransom (1989, Tenchos Japan), Final Fight (1989, Capcom), Golden Axe (1989, Sega), Streets of Rage 2 (1992, Sega), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (1992, Konami)

 

5 December 2013:

Gender Roles in Videogames

Zara Syed, Trent University, (Cultural Studies Undergraduate Programme)

ABSTRACT: This seminar presentation will explore aspects of various gender representations in videogames. Innovative games such as Heavy Rain have received high gaming reviews and critiques. Encountering a critique of the controversial female character in this game, however, is scarce in comparison to the hype surrounding this game. The argument lying in female representations in these fields, how they are represented and if it is a safe space for them are questions being proposed in Anita Sarkeesian’s work. The seminar discussion will focus on the role genders play out in this formerly

Game List: Heavy Rain, Alice The Madness Returns, Mass Effect 3, Fable 2.

 

9 January 2014:

Playing in Circles: Repetition and Narrative in Videogames.

Dwayne M. Collins, MISt., Co-Director, Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture

ABSTRACT: Often cited as presenting the audience with an ‘illusion of choice’ over their narratives due to their interactive nature, many video games provide a concrete storyline that is interspersed with moments of repetitive activity as players complete levels, quests, or complete various similar tasks. Using the style of the Final Fantasy series of games as an example, this paper posits that, when it comes to the narrative of the game, these choices may be less illusory than they may at first appear. Drawing inspiration from recent work by Mary Douglas on ring cycles and repetition in oral poetry, this paper investigates moments of repetitive interactivity and choice as potential sites where the audience is welcomed and encouraged to impose their own narrative structure on top of that of the authors. These sites result in the video game emerging as a form of narrative expression where traditional oral and literate techniques are blended together to present a story in a new way.

Game List: Final Fantasy series

 

6 February 2014:

Pokémon & Spiritual Animism: Eastern Spiritualism through Video Games

James Kerr, Co-Director, Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture & Arcade Champ

ABSTRACT: The kami of your toaster has animated on it's 100th birthday and is determined to attack your salad with electric power. Except, the electric bolt is only half as effective against the salad's leafy green defence! Where is all this coming from? Religion! Come and learn just a little about the spiritual underpinnings of many of your favourite video games, the most prominent of which is the Pokemon series, and their connection to totemic animism, Shintoism, and Japanese folklore.

Game List: Art of Fighting (1992, SNK), Pokemon (1996-onward, Nintendo), Okami (2006, Capcom), Dead or Alive 2 (1999, Tecmo)

 

6 March 2014:

Literary Genre & MMORPGs

Sezen Turkmen, Trent University, (Theory, Culture, and Politics MA)

ABSTRACT: This seminar is focusing on the physical and aesthetical similarities and differences between the fantasy genre as a literary genre and Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games with their use of the fantasy genre in creating the 'worldness' aspect. Comparing some of the distinctive elements of fantasy literature and the MMORPG game 'Lineage 2' from which I drew my examples, I am trying to pinpoint at the commonalities and dissimilarities in the fantasy reader's and the MMORPG player's experiences.

Game List: Lineage 2

 

3 April 2014:

TBA

Contact us with a short abstract if you are interested in presenting a Critical Seminar on this date!

 

All Seminars @ 7:00pm

Sadleir House Lecture Hall, 751 George St. N.

 

Find out more online:

http://www.sadleirhouse.ca/pixels.shtml

http://www.facebook.com/CentreForPixelCulture

http://www.facebook.com/CentreForPixelCulture/events

 

 

Critical Play Seminars 2012-13

  • Posted on: 25 October 2012
  • By: dcollins

The Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture is dedicated to the preservation, collection, study, and appreciation of video games and related ephemera as important cultural texts. Through talks, seminars, and curated play exhibitions, the Centre for Pixel Culture encourages interaction with these pixel texts and promotes recognition of the video game medium.

 

1 November 2012:

Playing & Ritual: Digital gaming mimics spirit possession

R. Travis Morton, Trent University (English/Public Texts MA Programme)

ABSTRACT: In Homo Ludens, Johann Huizinga discusses play spaces as ritual courts. This is a notional agreement between all players who enter it that they will play by the rules. In my brief talk, I wish to discuss how this is similar to spiritual possession, where priests and parishioners invoke and play host to a temporary and enlightening experience at the hands of a (sometimes) benevolent spirit. I would also like to discuss the ways in which possession is similarly invoked in theatre spaces, and most significantly, in digital gaming.

Game List: TBA

http://www.facebook.com/events/291155024324572/

 

6 December 2012:

Toolbox I: Video Game Studies - Overview & Resources

Dwayne M. Collins, MISt., Co-Director, Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture

ABSTRACT: Video Game Studies is a relatively young discipline. This critical play seminar will provide an overview of video game studies with a light to providing attendees with theoretical ‘tools’ for use in the study of games. A general overview of available academic resources will also be provided.

Game List: OPEN play.

http://www.facebook.com/events/287339351377482/

 

10 January 2013:

Playing Gender

Evelyn Deshane, Trent University (English/Public Texts MA Programme)

ABSTRACT: Gender is not fixed in video games. This critical play seminar will look at how gender is constructed, performed, and interacted with in video games. I'll introduce a basic model of gender performativity from Judith Butler and Julia Serrano and show how choosing a gender in a game can be similar to choosing and performing a gender in real life. From this discussion on role playing, we can also bring up the critiques on the methodology used by Anita Sarkeesian and her studies with gender in gaming. I will put forth that Sarkeesian's methods have been viewed negatively because she assumes a monolithic audience to gaming and because she implements representational, content-based analysis for her own reading of gender in games. Sarkeesian is looking at one part of the whole and developing conclusions from it, whereas this seminar will strive to look at how gender and the audience interaction all works together into forming a conclusion about the game and the gamer. 

Game List: Mass Effect

http://www.facebook.com/events/363443857076331/

 

7 February 2013:

Jumpman, Jump!: Aesthetics and Kinaesthetics

Brendan Main, Trent University (Frost Centre for Canadian Studies & Indigenous Studies PhD Programme)

This talk will consider the foundational videogame experience of motion in space, typified by a mysterious phrase seen written on the side of a Donkey Kong arcade machine: “Press A To Make Jumpman Jump!”  Drawing from the formal aesthetics of dance, I will consider how the kinaesthetic experience of a game – even something as simple as pressing a button to jump – affects and reflects its content in meaningful ways. This will be followed by a brief review of gaming’s kinaesthetic history, across a number of established and emergent forms. Though this will be principally centered on two- and three-dimensional platforming, brief attention will be paid to racing and flying games, action/adventure games, first- and third-person sandbox games, and bullet hell shooters. A critical play seminar will follow, with multiples games on multiple systems, representing a number of the games mentioned in review.

A partial list of games to discuss: Pong, Asteroid, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania, Metroid, Super Metroid, Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, NiGHTS Into Dreams, Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Gravity Rush, Super Meat Boy, Cave Story, Knytt, Project Shrine Maiden, QWOP, Bayonetta, Super Smash Bros., Portal, Mirror’s Edge, Assassin’s Creed, Dishonoured, Far Cry.

 

7 March 2013:

The Aesthetics of Bomberman: Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Brendan Main, Trent University (Frost Centre for Canadian Studies & Indigenous Studies PhD Programme)

This seminar will follow the aesthetic evolution of Bomberman, a franchise now represented by over 70 games across over 30 systems. Principally, it will consider how the central gameplay mechanic of "bombing" is represented in play spaces, and how this representation has changed over time. This discussion will introduce Sutton-Smith's performance theories on "the ambiguity of play," in his work on play epistemology, and Virilo's cultural theories about the dark symbolism of technology, power and violence, as well as a brief discussion on one of the central symbolic systems of play: the representation of dying and death. Ultimately we will consider how a combination of aesthetic factors, from Bomberman's cutesy "kawaii" graphics to its multiplayer gameplay, work to recontextualize one of the most powerful and problematic images of our modern age: "the bomb."

Discussion will be followed by a play session, where a selection of Bomberman titles will be available for single or multi-play.

Games to discuss: Bomberman (any)
A partial list of games to be mentioned: Eric and the Floaters, Dynablaster, Zero Wing, Mortal Kombat (SNES port,) Super Smash Bros.,Death Race, Carmageddon, Tank Wars, Gorillas, Pokemon Snap, Gal*Gun, The Saboteur, Plants Vs. Zombies, Crush the Castle, Angry Birds,

 

4 April 2013:

Arcade At Home: The History & Development of the Fighting Game Genre

James Kerr, Co-Director, Sadleir House Centre for Pixel Culture & Arcade Champ

Not just a history lesson, this critical play seminar will explore the layers of experience between rival versions of the same game, their design process' and how the genre evolved through relationships with other media, other video game genres, and the gritty real-life setting alive in the arcade experience. Explore the rise of fighting games as the most popular video game genre in the early 90s, until its decline into obscurity. This Barthes-ian style talk will explore the fighting experience from Insert Coin to Knock Out.
Discussion will be followed by a tournament-like play session, where only the toughest survive on pixel streets.
Games most discussed:
Karate Champ, Street Fighter II, Final Fight, Renegade, Mortal Kombat, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, King of Fighters '94, Samurai Showdown, Fighter's History, Power Instinct, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Darkstalkers, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel vs. Capcom.

https://www.facebook.com/events/433106720111402/

 

All Seminars @ 7:00pm

Sadleir House Lecture Hall, 751 George St. N.

 

Find out more online:

http://www.sadleirhouse.ca/pixels.shtml

http://www.facebook.com/CentreForPixelCulture

http://www.facebook.com/CentreForPixelCulture/events

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