Posted on August 3, 2012
By Namir Ahmed at playthepast.org
This is a guest article by Namir Ahmed, a Masters Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Western University, London ON. He’s also the Project Coordinator for the Sustainable Archaeolgy Animation Unit, where he does really fun stuff related to the digitization and visualization of cultural heritage. He doesn’t have a blog but has a twitter: @namir
In the past the idea of thinginess has made me guffaw, scoff and deride in an endless circle of contempt. I study archaeology, I would think, hard physical facts, not this wishy-washy cultural anthropological construct. What does thinginess have to do with anything? Turns out, it has to do with everything.
It wasn’t Heidegger’s jug example, in which he defines the jug not as the spout or the handle, but the void inside. It wasn’t Tim Ingold’s kite, defined as a kite not by its construction but by the forces acting on it; the wind that keeps it aloft, the hand that plays out the string. It wasn’t either example, though both are well thought out and applied. It was “The Secret of Monkey Island”. Play the game, or play it again as I did, and you’ll see that thinginess abounds.
At its heart Monkey Island is about discovery, following and kin to Sierra’s ‘Quest’ series of games: Space Quest, King’s Quest etc. and of course The Secret of Monkey Island’s spiritual predecessors, Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle. This genre of game blends humour and intelligent puzzle design in a way few games have seen since.
More importantly and beyond stylistic similarities these games are driven by the interaction of everyday (more or less) objects. Employed is a mechanism where the narrative of the game is propelled forward as the purpose and real meaning of objects is discovered. In other words, when thinginess is defined.Read full post here (Originally posted August 1, 2012)