Replay. The Polish Journal of Game Studies https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay <div style="text-align: justify;"> <p><em>Replay. The Polish Journal of Game Studies</em> is devoted to interdisciplinary study of games, gaming, and gamers. We publish original research results conducted from different perspectives, cultural, sociological, and philosophical among others, with a strong focus on the history of digital games. We wish to develop a common language digital games scholars could use independently from the perspectives they employ. For this reason, we also welcome papers concerning the typology of digital games and its corresponding terminology. The journal publishes papers both in Polish and English.</p> </div> Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego en-US Replay. The Polish Journal of Game Studies 2391-8551 The art presence of videogames https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/16262 Aleksandra Prokopek Copyright (c) 2022 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2023-01-30 2023-01-30 8 1 7 16 10.18778/2391-8551.08.00 16-bit dissensus: post-retro aesthetics, hauntology, and the emergency in video games https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/13987 <p>Santiago Zabala reveals a crisis in modern society that perceives a world dominated by oppressive neoliberal ideology as acceptable and unproblematic. He claims that today’s greatest emergency is that we fail to notice other emergencies in society. To break out of this state, we need an aesthetic force to shock individuals into a new awareness. Unfortunately, while many social and global issues have recently come to widespread attention, the emergency still prevails in many forms of media. For example, the emergency in AAA video games appears in their continual push for higher resolution graphics, hyper-detail, verisimilitude, and intricate gameplay, perpetuating a hegemonic ideology. Exploitative labor practices, lack of representation beyond hetero-sexual, cis-gendered and neurotypical, and capitalist ideals are perpetuated in popular games in service of a hyper-real, high-fidelity aesthetic. One force that combats this emergency is pixel graphics and simplified gameplay, or post-retro aesthetics. While tied to the past, these aesthetics are not nostalgic but transgressively hauntological. To explore this claim, I discuss <em>Dys4ia </em>and <em>Undertale </em>as key post-retro games and reach beyond commercial indie gaming to point to hauntological work being done through DIY game making platformers such as <em>Bitsy.</em></p> Patrick R. Dolan Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-07-12 2022-07-12 8 1 17 36 10.18778/2391-8551.08.01 Play the art: Artistic value in video games https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/13994 <p>Playing a game does not mean that we are doing something childish and useless. Using a new technology to express our feelings and raise the awareness of social issues does not mean we cannot call it art. If we go back in time, we can realize that there has always been a resistance to novelty and machines. Sometimes, they were even considered harmful. The same life cycle happens with video games: they are valuable in many ways, they are far more developed than they were twenty years ago, and they have even reached a stage where we can find art in them. But how can they be art? Is the answer in the story or in the audiovisual elements? &nbsp;</p> Klaudia Jancsovics Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-07-14 2022-07-14 8 1 37 51 10.18778/2391-8551.08.02 A tale of two Eberts: Videogames and the arbitrariness of meaning https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/14256 <p>The article revisits and examines in detail the so-called Ebert debate: an exchange of polemic voices between Roger Ebert, his opponents and supporters, on the issue of the relationship – both actual and potential – between games and works of art. Initiated by Ebert’s famous remarks that games can never be art, the debate offers a variety of views on the nature of art, the role of experience in art and games, the possibility of artistic expression in games, and the autonomy of art. The main point of the article is not so much to compare these views as to explain the contradiction at the heart of Ebert’s own argument: the critic seems to be constantly torn between the idea that games cannot be art <em>in principle</em> and the more practical view that it is impossible to know for certain that no games will <em>ever</em> become art. This contradiction seems to stem directly from Ebert’s inconsistent views as to the source of meaning in games, and it allows us to shed new light both on the nature of games as a medium, and on fundamental issues with contemporary games studies/criticism.</p> Paweł Kaczmarski Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-09-13 2022-09-13 8 1 53 82 10.18778/2391-8551.08.03 Playing distressed art: Adorno’s aesthetic theory in game design https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/14108 <p>The discussion on games as (not) art has been raging for decades without reaching a&nbsp;consensus. It is argued here that the ontological status of games is irrelevant for the perception and development of aesthetic experiences in videogames. Instead, game design should be regarded as ripe to convey the experience of art according &nbsp;to established aesthetic theories. The essay presents Adorno’s aesthetic theory and highlights its reflections in the games&nbsp;<em>Papers, Please</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Observer</em>.&nbsp;It then describes how they were synthesized into a&nbsp; critical gameplay experience in the author’s game&nbsp;<em>Distressed</em>. The latter may be regarded as an example of a&nbsp;method in game studies in which the aesthetic potential of games is explored by creation rather than analysis. Arguably, this reveals the importance of epistemological approaches &nbsp;towards games and art instead of the predominant ontological ones.</p> Benjamin Hanussek Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-08-09 2022-08-09 8 1 83 97 10.18778/2391-8551.08.04 The aesthetics of speedrunning: Performances in neo-baroque space https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/14685 <p>Speedrunning describes activities related to the development and performance of strategies to complete games quickly, and is a valuable source of historical and technical information, while producing specialized aesthetic explorations of a videogame’s environment. Most research on speedrunning emphasizes its metagaming or documentary function. However, speedrunning also changes the aesthetic experience of gameplay, both for players and in spectated performance. Aesthetic investigation informed by art historical perspectives, such as Angela Ndalianis’ theory of the Neo-Baroque and H.S. Becker’s study of Art World formations, offers new insights into the experience of speedrunning and how discontinuous and disjointed simulated space is experienced and appreciated as aesthetic phenomena by players and spectators. While Nidalianis has applied her theory to videogames, among other types of contemporary entertainment, further investigating speedrunning performances through this lens extends her analysis and problematizes the idea of a videogame as a singular aesthetic work, instead drawing attention to alternative aesthetic experiences videogames can offer.</p> Emilie Reed Copyright (c) 2022 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-10-25 2022-10-25 8 1 99 115 10.18778/2391-8551.08.05 About Game-Satires https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/10540 <p>This paper proposes introducing a new category to describe certain digital games – “game-satire” (“<em>gropowiastka”</em>) – similar to literary philosophical satires. The author takes as his point of departure the term “game-story” (“<em>gropowieść”</em>) proposed by Tomasz Z. Majkowski, which usually refers to games that are rich in meaning and leave the player with a large margin of freedom. In contrast to the game-stories, the game-satires impose both the order of overcoming challenges and a particular flow of narration; the vision of the gameworld suits the thesis assumed by the creators. The term “game-satires” can include, for example, adventure games, autobiographical games, newsgames and “walking simulators.” The proposed concept would make it possible to challenge the rigid division of ludic software into “games” and “non-games” and more easily incorporate them into artistic discourse.</p> Filip Fabian Jankowski Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-11-21 2022-11-21 8 1 117 128 10.18778/2391-8551.08.06 Feeling the narrative control(ler): Casual art games as trauma therapy https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/Replay/article/view/15546 <p>Through a combination of aesthetics and game mechanics, casual art games offer unique engagements with trauma, allowing players to practice grief or empathise with the traumatic experiences of others. Both “<em>Spiritfarer” </em>(Thunder Lotus Games 2020<em>) </em>and „<em>Mutazione” </em>(Die Gute Fabrik 2019) utilise similar aesthetics (2D art, pastel colours and calming music) alongside agency-driven gameplay mechanics (choosing when to let spirits go or how to react to a character’s trauma) that create a safe space. This is possible because neither game is competitive, nor does it allow the player to lose. Instead, agency is given to the player through narrative choice and exploration of the beautiful storyworld. We argue that games like <em>“Spiritfarer” </em>and “<em>Mutazione” </em>can be used as models for the further development of casual art games that can be used as art therapy through their emotional connections embedded in both the aesthetics and gameplay.</p> Hailey J. Austin Lydia R. Cooper Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-11-21 2022-11-21 8 1 129 143 10.18778/2391-8551.08.07