CATS Logbook – Session 1 – Introduction

Our first CATS session served as an introduction to the module. The session set out to give us an idea as to what CATS is about and to answer any questions we may have had about CATS.

CATS is the study of how, when, where and why certain cultural products were created. It’s purpose is to understand why cultural production changes over time, how the work that we are doing in games design relates to the works that came before it and along side it, learning the language that we should use to describe our works to others and to describe the works that others do and to gain the knowledge and understanding necessary to be able to analyse art and design.

The session also raised common themes and issues within games, which are as follows:

  • What is a game? Is it a cultural artifact, part of material culture, media practice, form of entertainment, commodity?
  • What issues effect game design and game play?
  • Narrative/Storytelling
  • Immersion/Environment
  • Interactivity/Creativity and “Flow”
  • What is the relationship between game and gamer?
  • Individual Subject
  • Psychology and game play
  • Social impact and wider effect on the world beyond virtual reality.

The module aims to provide us with the knowledge required to answer these questions and talk into further detail about the themes and issues mentioned above.

The rest of the session went further into detail as to what exactly technology is. The OED definition of technology is “The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry”. To expand further on this, we looked into the definition of ICT (Information Communication Technology), which is any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in digital form.

We then discussed the rise of Digital Culture. Digital Culture can be defined as the rise of the internet as an everyday piece of technology, rather than a novelty. This has become even more apparent since the rise of the smartphone. Now, everyone carries the internet with them in their pocket.

To conclude, we looked into the history of technology. Starting with the modernist vision of the future and the old media technologies of the time and leading into the 70s and beyond (postmodernism, rise of digital culture, new media).

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