LARA CROFT IN A WORLD UPSIDE-DOWN: BAKHTINIAN ANALYSES OF DIGITAL GAMES
Tomasz Z. Majkowski (Jagiellonian University Krakow) visits Tromsø to speak about the scholarszhip of M. M. Bakhtin. This second lecture shows how Bakhtin's concepts can offer new insights into digital games and play.
Even though Bakhtinian theory was build mostly upon, and with the purpose of studying literature, its scope goes beyond the literary: not only Bakhtin himself frequently tackles practices of everyday speech and festivities of late-Medieval carnival, his concepts were subsequently applied to film and new media and digital games. Especially the latter seems to be a good fit for Bakhtinian analysis, as the theory stresses the unstable, dialogical and processual nature of the narrative.
Digital games with strong narrative and an ambition to create worlds in a minute detail can be described as a latest part of the long chain of carnivalized art forms and observed through Bakhtinian lenses. Such an analysis allows to uncover and describe inevitable parodic tensions within such games, turning the meticulously created world into a carnivalesque space of joyful relativity. This is where various ideologies wrestle to dominate both the narrative and gameplay, and mocking each other in a carnivalesque struggle. To illustrate the usability of key Bakhtinian concepts I will present the analysis of Shadow of the Tomb Raider as a carnivalized game-novel.
The lecture is an initiative of the ENCODE research network funded by ISK/UiT and is open for everyone. Also MA students are very welcome to join.
Tomasz Z. Majkowski works at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, where he is the head of the Game Research Centre. His main research interests are: Bakhtin-inspired game research, postcolonial theory in game studies and relation between digital games and the ideologies of nation-states.