THE AESTHETICS OF DIFFICULTY: THEORY AND MOTIVES IN THE VIDEO GAME

Mateo Terrasa Torres



 

What makes a video game difficult? The success of video games considered hardcore such as Dark Souls, the roguelike and metroidvania genres or fumblecore, those video games with complicated and clunky controls, are just a small sample of how we understand difficulty. The difficulty in the video game has been and is a legitimizing tool both for the quality of a video game and for the player capable of mastering it. If it is difficult, it is better, we tell ourselves. It is part of the history of the medium since its beginnings in arcades, a classic game model characterized by offering a limited range of game styles that are easy to understand, with explicit objectives and severe punishments.


But the language of the video game was already broader in its beginnings, with genres such as the textual adventure, and has also evolved into other fields, with a multiplicity of proposals that force us to understand the difficulty as resistance of the game to the player. It is also a matter of wrapping. We cannot close ourselves to understanding it solely from the mechanical dimension that affects the player's ability to face challenges. We must incorporate the exploration of puzzle narratives, complex themes, atmospheric density, negative emotions, emotional involvement, philosophical references or political reflections, as well as the personal and experiential condition of the video game, to understand the difficulty in all its playful and expressive complexity.


This book addresses the experience of difficulty from an aesthetic point of view, using a broad perspective that includes both the mechanical dimension of the game and the fictional dimension (narrative, art or themes), as well as the relevant role of the player in personal experience. With a theoretical introduction that helps to place difficulty on the map of the complex, this book proposes thirty ludofictional motifs as aesthetic analysis tools that will help us better understand how and why we face (and enjoy) the difficult.

 

PUBLICATION DETAILS

LANGUAGE

BINDING

EDITION

ISBN

YEAR

PAGES

Spanish

Paperback

9788412524413

2022

252

OTHER NAMES

  • La estética de la dificultad. Teoría y motivos en el videojuego

 

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Authors: #MateoTerrasaTorres

Publishers: #Shangrila (Shangrila Ediciones)

Languages: #Spanish

Format: #Paperback

Accessibility: N/A

Year: #Year2022

Genres: #GameStudies


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