The Imaginative Embrayage Through Gaming Deconstructions

Enrico Gandolfi, Roberto Semprebene


Imaginary and technology are recursively intertwined, and digital entertainment is exemplar regarding this synergy. The myth of photo-realism aims to replicate reality, but a divergent trend is taking a foothold - i.e., generative games that allow deconstructive practices toward 1) the agential architecture supporting a specific interaction and 2) the symbolic representation on which the gaming performance relies. Such a revealing act may have a remarkable impact on how imagination is articulated and experienced. In order to shed light on the topic, in this article a multidisciplinary framework is applied to deepen three video games that let the player have an active part in shaping the game world and its features - i.e., Minecraft, Terraria, and Super Mario Maker. Suggestions from Semiotics, Cultural Studies and Game Studies lead the analysis with a peculiar emphasis on the concepts of “sign”, “circuit of culture”, and “metaphor”. Consequently, each case study is analysed according to the dimensions of representation (aesthetics), interaction (mechanics), and linearization (trailers). Therefore, specific imaginative affordances mediated through this creative technology are outlined within digital entertainment and toward interactive media.


Imaginary; technology; generative video games; metaphor; digital environments; creativity

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