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# 1 (34) 2019: Computer Games: Game Design of Culture
pdf-icon [CONTENT] [0,5 Mb]

Topic of the Issue

Konstantin SHEVTSOV

Saint Petersburg State University of Civil Aviation, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Professor of the Philosophy and Social Communication Department
Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of Philosophy
Head of the Laboratory for Computer Games Research at the Centre for Media Philosophy
Doctor of Science in Philosophy

Game Boundaries

The article offers a general view of the nature of the game as the pleasure of subject’s presence and action in the world. The game arises due to the effects of reflection, which allow the player to master the boundary of his presence and absence, to expand the range of the developed space and live duration. In the game, the player manages to gather himself as a whole, gain an image of bodily presence and a social role, that is why the phenomenon of computer games is so significant for the modern world, as it brings new experience of sensuality and orientation in the world. If traditional games are opposed to narrative genres like non-verbal genres and verbal, and this relationship is compared with the relation of ritual and myth, in computer games the narrative element becomes a constructive component of the game world, and the game affects the story being told. As a result, the world is increasingly moving away from its own history into the space of the game, and with it the space of the game itself as an effective action with all its magism and mythology moves into the space of computer games. The game is opaque in the sense that its beginning is pleasure, and therefore all the concepts of the game remain just an analysis of the reflections that this pleasure leaves in the modern cultural field. However, computer games lead the game into a special world of digital media, where already the pleasure of playing becomes the subject of manipulation by game developers, manufacturers, marketers, etc.

Key words: game, reflection, presence, boundary, pleasure, game morphology, winning, obstacle, move, game paradox.


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Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Institute of Philosophy
Centre for Media Philosophy, Laboratory for Computer Games Research

On the Way to Media Esthesis: Production of Presence in Computer Games

The article provides an analysis of the player's corporeal experience, which forms the basic somatic matrix of a digital media user. The elaboration of the somatic constituent creates the ground of the game, and, despite the variety of intellectual exercises that computer games offer, corporeality is worked through in them in the first place. Computer games crown the history of the development of post-press media, emphasizing the tactility and the experience of engaging in game milieu instead of the experience of distance and the domination of visual function. Games return us corporeality, which photography, cinema, television, etc., alienated in the form of visual and/or acoustic images, they allow us to operate not only with symbolic structures, interpret signs and images, but also master them on a somatic level. In computer games, there is no gap between the sign and the body, the image and the presence, since the experience of interpretation in the game is performative: the gamer thinks with a bodily gesture. The unique and local experience of somatic concentration, typical for dance, performance, and martial arts, computer games make massive and accessible for a huge audience. In this regard, it is impossible to ignore the influence that they have on the formation of corporeal experience in the modern world.

Key words: computer games, interfaces, production of presence, media esthesis, procedural corporeality, imagination of body.


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Saint Petersburg State University, Russia
Institute of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy of Science and Technology
Senior Lecturer, PhD in Philosophy

Computer Games as Gesamtkunstwerk of Digital Age

Gesamtkunstwerk is a project to unite the arts (visual, theatrical, musical) in which the synthetic experience of the whole exceeds the sum of the impact of the artistic means of expression included in it, and claims to be not so much aesthetic (experience of form / experience of the limit) as mystical experience (experience of the beyond). Being a continuation of the mysterious ritual by other technological means, Gesamtkunstwerk functions as a machine of symbolic codification of death, which makes it possible to turn its destructive potential into a constructive one. Computer games are the Gesamtkunstwerk of the modern era, because they transfer the experience of death (experience of alienation, reification, emotional exhaustion) that is scattered in our culture from destructive to constructive. If other media store and transmit information, represent events, create values, then games have the ability to generate pre-predicative experience – a sense of presence, and since the traumatic, appealing to pre-discursive forms of attitude to the world in the digital environment become stronger, more attractive, more effective than discursive, the computer analyst the game will allow you to develop ways of presence in the digital reality, defining various behavioral models that can be taken into account in the field of digital economy and digital rights, digital everyday life, in practice and pragmatics of digital communication.

Key words: Gesamtkunstwerk, computer games, digital reality, media, fake, networkization.


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Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Institute of Philosophy
Centre for Media Philosophy, Laboratory for Computer Games Research

Game Artificial Intelligence as a Medium of Social World

The following article presents how artificial intelligence (AI) is used in computer games and how games help to develop AI. On the one hand, we are interested in projects aimed at training programs that are able to win a person in a variety of games (initially they were checkers, chess, go, then computer games, for example Starcraft II, replaced them), on the other hand, we are directly interested in gaming artificial intelligence, which occupies its “techno-ecological” niche among modern high technologies and has its own specificity compared to “traditional” artificial intelligence, which is not always associated with the entertainment industry and focused on the solution of the variety of computing tasks. Artificial intelligence in computer games can be used not only to reduce production costs or to empower the gaming experience (the most obvious example is procedural generation of levels, cards, objects, etc.), but also to create believable non-player characters (interlocutors, allies, enemies). Systems that work with emotions and social experience endow non-player characters with social functions, moreover, they can enter into communication not only with the player, but also with each other. The use of artificial intelligence in games contributes to the emergence of new social actors operating within the framework of the digital reality, changing the configuration of the social field.

Key words: game artificial intelligence, non-player character, social practices, computer games, media, emotional artificial intelligence, machine learning.


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Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Institute of Philosophy
Centre for Media Philosophy, Laboratory for Computer Games Research

Tamagotchi and the Myth of Cyberspace: The Magic Circle Revisited

This article, drawing on the example of non-immersive games (Tamagotchi, Digimon, Pokémon Go, pervasive games) discusses the notion of magic circle, coined by J. Huizinga, which means a boundary between the game and non-game. Non-immersive media are intended for a special mode of consumption: users split their attention between several media and activities. As a result, the fictional world and everyday life become closely intervened. Such phenomena encourage game studies scholars to criticize the notion of magic circle: they describe it as a boundary that is permeable or easily broken. A critical reading shows that this interpretation is driven by misunderstanding J. Huizinga as well as the frame theory. In non-immersive games, the difference between the game and non-game is not lost. However, their time structure allows them to assign new meanings to the everyday life, like rituals do. The legends behind Tamagotchi and Digimon suggests that non-immersive games reproduce the myth of cyberspace as a hybrid that blurs out the distinction between the reality and fantasy. In this self-reflective act, the boundary is broken only symbolically.

Key words: magic circle, frame theory, non-immersive media, digital animism, technology shamanism, hybrids, cyberspace, pervasive games, Tamagotchi, Pokémon Go.


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Vladislav ARKHIPOV

Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Associate Professor of the Department of Theory and History of Law and State
PhD in Legal Sciences

Computer Games, “Magic Circle” and Semantic Limits of Law

The article suggests an approach, according to which the problem of applying the rules of “real” law to the relationships that emerge in “virtual” game environments (that has been considered in legal sources mostly in connection to virtual property in MMORPG) is actually a part of a broader problem of search for reasonable limits of interpretation of law in the conditions of medial turn. For instance, similar difficulties appear when we try to determine in which cases the legal rules that limit dissemination of information in the Internet may be applied to fictional works. In essence, the question concerns the principles of demarcation between absurdity and common sense in application and interpretation of law, as well as in creation of law. The author rejects certain interpretations of “magic circle” in jurisprudence because they do not consider the main aspect that allows identifying absurdity in law – qualities of the object of social relationship as it is (but not subject or purposes of such a relationship). The article suggests a methodology of reconstruction of sematic limits of law that is based on two criteria. First of them – “seriousness” – is defined by social currency value of the object considered as an external referent of value for a generalized symbolic medium (T. Parsons, S. Abrutyn). The second one – “reality” – is defined by structural and functional adequacy of the object to the central meaning of the relevant legal rule (“core”, in contrast to “penumbra” in terminology of H. Hart). In a borderline situation of legal interpretation or application of law a combination of the aforesaid criteria allows to divide blatantly absurd situations from situations where “weighing” (R. Alexy) of legal values is needed and from situations where application of law would correspond to common sense. As regards the creation of law, it is the criterion of “seriousness” that is only relevant. The concept of semantic limits of law is oriented mostly to solving of the tasks of theoretical and practical jurisprudence, but it also can be useful for the purposes of general development of the medial turn discourse.

Key words: law, theoretical sociology, medial turn, magic circle, information, absurdity, common sense, semantic limits of law.


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Institute of Philosophy and Law Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Researcher, Senior Lecturer of the Philosophy Department
PhD in Philosophy

If “the World is a Computer Game”, then how to play it?

In the space of modern culture, video / computer game is such a significant phenomenon that it often turns out to be the main hero of metaphysical narratives. The paper deals with the metaphor “the world is a computer game”, which is formed by the ideas of post-humanism, as well as the modern philosophy of consciousness. The author raises the question of the ontological, anthropological and cultural potential of this metaphor. It is shown that the metaphor of the world as a virtual simulation and / or computer game in most cases “works” only in the mode of the updated idea of “the world – the machine”. Conceptual conditions are proposed under which the metaphor about the world as a computer game acquires a truly new meaning-making potential. It is associated, firstly, with ontological ideas about contingency, considered in the anthropological and existential perspective; secondly, this potential is realized due to the coming to the forefront of the analysis of the game practice itself. Thus, the main task of the research is not arguments or counterarguments in relation to the metaphysical concept of “world – simulation”, but a demonstration of the consequences that occur if the interpretation of the “world is a computer game” metaphor does not neglect the player’s (gamer’s) experience.

Key words: metaphysical metaphor, computer game, virtual simulation, gamer, contingency, virtuosity, posthumanism, philosophy of consciousness .


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Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Postgraduate Student of the Faculty of Philology

Multilinguality of Computer Game. On the Gameplay Function of Sound

Computer games are complex objects. They do not have one language, but a combination of several ones. Each of these relative "languages" has its own specific area in the complex construction of a computer game. One of these languages is sound. The significance of sound for a computer game is usually mistakenly understood only as a means of creating a realistic virtual world and as a way of immersing player into the game. In fact, the sound in a computer game can perform various functions: ornamental, semantic, and gameplay. The significance of this function has three degrees, each of which can be actualized in a particular type of game. The first degree includes games built around the fundamental importance of the sound component. The second degree includes games that initially require attention of the player to the sound. The third degree includes games in which sound works as a device. For each of the cases, a number of examples are given with their subsequent analysis. Then, the author comes to the conclusion about the significant role played by the gameplay function of sound for computer games, since it is this function that reveals the unique sphere of sound connected to a computer-game whole.

Key words: audio design, sound, music, function, gameplay, game language, interface, diegesis, computer game, video game.


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Konstantin SHAROV

M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy Department
Senior Lecturer, PhD in Philosophy

Meta-language of PC game trilogy The Witcher: Agnosticism or a new type of postmodern religious preaching?

After The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt became the game of the year in 2015, the interest of the world community to the games of The Witcher series roughly based on Andrzej Sapkowski novels, has significantly increased, both among gamers and cultural researchers. Cultural researchers and sociologists have turned to the semantic analysis of the game trilogy, studying the social contexts of The Witcher games and their relationship with social processes and institutions, as well as the phenomena of culture in the real world outside the game. In the paper, the author analyses the meta-language of the game trilogy The Witcher for the presence of religious meanings. It is shown that the script writers of The Witcher games significantly expanded the layer of religious meanings in comparison with Sapkowski’s stories. Where the novelist has only a certain religious hint, the game developers from CD Projekt RED create a quest, sometimes a chain of quests (as in the case of the Bloody Baron in Velen in The Wild Hunt). Indeed, one case is rather special—on the basis of a brief sketch in the Polish folklore about Pan Twardowski, the game script writers created an huge DLC Hearts of Stone. The author of the paper concludes that, despite the permanent heathen, magic and occult symbols of The Witcher trilogy, as well as explicit criticism of the Roman Catholic Church during the Inquisition era in the form of the Cult of Eternal Fire, the game has a deeply hidden layer of positive religious meanings associated with Christianity.

Key words: video game, The Witcher, Andrzej Sapkowski, video game narrative, Christianity, paganism, magic, preaching, perception formatting, game meta-language.


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The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Department of Philosophical Anthropology and History of Philosophy
Senior Lecturer, PhD in Philosophy


Independent Researcher, Translator, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Instrumental Basement of Organic Processes in Cinema and in Computer Games

In contemporary reflection of organic matter originates from detecting it in different life spheres, such as cultural landscapes, machine reality, camera's point of view, in networked and digitized lifeworld. Organics as an instrument or as something equipped by instruments historically almost totally decayed, but in contemporary there is a re-actualization of this term. Representation of the Instrumental Basement for Organic Processes (IBOP) we explore in productions in which humans survive on Mars. We investigate film The Martian (2015, director Ridley Scott), TV serial Mars (2016, 2018, Ben Young Mason Justin Wilkes) and computer game Surviving Mars (since 2018 till now). These pieces form a common World united by visualization, unified Mars conditions and machine environments. We conclude that in contemporary computer games determinate humans “sense of life”. Hereafter the culture is not in opposition to the nature. With time “the first culture” bases upon instrumental supporting for organic processes and “the second one” means such processes supported by instruments. Organic processes re establish their meaning as tools. For organism operated by the IBOP it should become alike it, settle into some its functions.

Key words: machine reality, camera’s point of view, Mars, digitization, gaming industry, coded experience, supply logistics, city builder simulation games, resilience, Plato’s cave, terraforming.


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Theory of Culture


Academy of Media Industry, Moscow, Russia
Professor of Department of Screen Arts
PhD in Art Studies


Academy of Media Industry, Moscow, Russia
Department of Screen Arts
Postgraduate Student

Detective Sacrifice: Genre Originality of the Series True Detective

The article is devoted to the problem of genre originality of the 1st season of the cult television series True detective. Dramaturgic, compositional, structural and other specific principles of the plot are considered in the context of the detective tradition development. Complex narrative and discursive model of True detective is built on this analysis revealing desire to reform with artistic means the established genre forms and conventions. Its particularity is determined by the following harmonic and sociocultural characteristics: symmetry as the fundamental organizing principle, the recursive logic of the dominant chronotope of "spiral-maze" and the archetypical motif of the "dying-and-rising god". Their combination has a strong influence on the series' diegesis and sign system. It also propels the destruction of formal intrigue, transforming genre story into mythological narration. Thus investigation of genre originality of True detective highlights TV-series possibilities to formulate and resolve external meta-problems, which opens up new opportunities for the detective genre.

Key words: TV-series, detective story, narrative, discourse, plot, screen arts, genre, hero, archetype, structure, myth, maze, crime, principle of symmetry, conflict, сhronos, topos, dying-and-rising god.


  • Ancyferova O. Detektivnyj zhanr i romanticheskaja hudozhestvennaja sistema / Nacional'naja specifika proizvedenij zarubezhnoj literatury XIX–XX vekov. Problema zhanra : mezhvuzovskij sbornik nauchnyh trudov ; pod red. V. N. Shejker i dr. – Ivanovo: Izd-vo IvGU, 1994. – S. 21-36.
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Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia
Research Fellow


Institute of Philosophy Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia
Department of Analytic Anthropology
Junior Research Fellow

Minimalism and Baroque. Recoding Strategies of Network Subcultures

The article considers two significant trends in the development of modern digital subcultures within the framework of anthropological analysis. The first trend, conditionally designated as "minimalism," is aimed at optimizing data flows through several communication strategies, such as: practices of awareness, attention economics and slow living culture. The second trend, in the light of the human conception of postmodernism proposed by Michel Maffesoli, conventionally designated as "baroque," is aimed at fractal multiplication of information patterns and is associated with a variety of communicative strategies, such as: hybridization of roles and identities, game participatory practices and network nomadism. Both trends are presented as diametric alternatives to the mainstream digital culture, characterized by a constant increase in the speed of data flows, rapid technicalization and dehumanization of interpersonal communication, as well as the control practices created by it. The article analyzes the connection of these trends with the classical forms of criticism of the consumption culture presented in several modern social-critical concepts, such as enoughism, anti-consumerism, anti-corporate activism and a culture of slow living. The article considers the genetic interrelation of these trends with the aesthetics of everyday life and occidental versions of Zen Buddhism on the one hand (minimalism), with communicative and aesthetic models of assimilation and transfer of information within modern subcultures and modern trends in art – on the other (baroque).

Key words: minimalism, baroque, consumer society, postmodern, information culture, aesthetics of everyday life, anti-consumerism, cultural code.


  • Gasilin A.V. Minimalizm kak jetika cifrovoj kul'tury // Filosofija i obshhestvo. 2017. #4 (85). S. 83-95.
  • Delanda, M. Vojna v jepohu razumnyh mashin. M., Ekaterinburg: Kabinetnyj uchjonyj : Institut obshhegumanitarnyh issledovanij, 2014. 335 s.
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  • Manovich L. Teorii soft-kul'tury. N. Novgorod: Krasnaja lastochka, 2017. 208 s.
  • Maffesoli M. Kazhdomu svoja triba: ot kontrakta k paktu // Posrednik. Massmedia, obshhestvo i kul'tura. M.: Valent, 2016. 289 s.
  • Maffesoli M. Okoldovannost' mira, ili Bozhestvennoe social'noe // Socio-Logos. M.: Progress, 1991. S. 133-137.
  • Onore K. Bez suety: Kak perestat' speshit' i nachat' zhit'. M.: Al'pina Pablisher, 2017. 260 c.
  • A rich life with less stuff. The Minimalists. TEDxWhitefish 2014. URL:
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  • Baroque. Les Cahiers Européens de l'Imaginaire.
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  • Fedorova A. Photos capturing the ecstasy of being a young Russian raver // Dazed. 2017.
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  • Jenkins, H. Convergence Culture Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 2006. 308 p.
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  • Maffesoli, M. L'Ombre de Dionysos. Paris: Le Livre de Poche, 1991. 243 p.
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  • Principles & Governance // San Francisco Zen Center.
  • Roszak T. The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. 346 p.
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Theory of Art

Alexandra ORLOVA

State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow, Russia
External Postgraduate Student of the Creative Problems of Mass Media, Department of Media and Popular Arts
Russian State Art Library, Specialist of the Department of Cultural Programs

Sound as a Sculptural Element of the Installation Space

The given article describes sound installation as one of the forms of sculptural art in the context of contemporary visual art. The author pays attention to those pieces where artists who work with sound either enforce their installation works with some visual material or create pieces with no visual images, so the possible audiences could imagine them on their own. This method shows the use synaesthesia and auto-curation phenomena which can be used during the interference of the audiences with such pieces of art. Representation of sound installations as a piece of art that has sculptural origin is the important part of the paper because the aesthetics of the described artists implies that. Also, the paper describes and analyzes works of artists like John Cage, Nam June Paik, Nemanja Cvijanović, Taus Makhacheva, Younes Baba-Ali, Sergey Filatov, Crys Cole.

Key words: installation, sound installation, sound, interference, engagement, viewer, aesthetics, sound environment, synaesthesia, auto-curation.


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К проблеме наездницы русского постмодернизма

Sunday, 22 September 2013 | Olga Kirillova
Посвящается В. Л. Рабиновичу Насмерть загоню? Не бойся — ты же, брат, не Брут: Смерть мала и ненадолго, Цезарь...
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Рецензия на книгу: Попова Д.Л Сакральная семиосфера северного города. - Архангельск, 2015

Saturday, 28 October 2017 | Alexander Lyusiy
Сакральная семиосфера северного города: монография/Д.Л.Попова; М-во образования и науки Российской Федер,...
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Арзрум, да не тот. Империобол как предчувствие футболистической революции

Tuesday, 26 June 2012 | Alexander Lyusiy
В основе материала — выступление автора на Международном конгрессе «Россия и Польша: память...
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Reminder about Humbert

Thursday, 05 April 2012 | Alexander Lyusiy
There are no translations available yet.
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There are no translations available yet

Friday, 01 July 2011 | Irina Sokolova
There are no translations available yet
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Oil — a metaphor for culture

Tuesday, 15 November 2011 | Anna Rileva
There are no translations available yet
Comments: 2

The Chronotope of Illustrated Magazine

Friday, 14 January 2011 | Margarita Gudova
The article deals with the industry glossy magazines as an agent of modernization of consciousness and the transition from the patriarchal and industrial models to the identification of...
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There are no translations available yet

Tuesday, 15 November 2011 | Alexey Krivolap
There are no translations available yet
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