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25-06-2020 | Research | Issue 3/2020

The Computer Games Journal 3/2020

Monitoring Simulated Worlds in Indigenous Strategy Games

Journal:
The Computer Games Journal > Issue 3/2020
Author:
Joshua D. Miner

Abstract

Though all video games require the player to observe the game state, the strategy genre relies on an experience of managing rule-based simulations that model real-world material systems. Designing for this experience produces a mode of interactive vision that structures gameplay as management: gamic monitoring. This article aims to develop a theory of gamic monitoring and explore its features through settler and Indigenous strategy, simulation, and resource management games. Games scholarship has yet to fully account for recent developments in Indigenous video games or how they relate to mainstream genres. Four comparative examples demonstrate how Indigenous games speak to settler-style gameplay, particularly its dynamics of monitoring and managing populations and resources. Due to their divergent frameworks for action, Indigenous strategy games intervene in mainstream genre conventions by shifting informatic play toward relational procedures of observation and decision-making. They express a paradigm of reciprocal interaction through how they mediate and critique codified game systems. Because Indigenous strategy games reconfigure resources and political engagement according to distinct models of managing the game state, they remain useful for further research in developing alternate models of strategy gameplay.

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