Mads Haahr, April 27, 5pm, Skiles 002, Saving the Dead Girl: Emotion and Gender in Ant Attack and ICO

Mads Haahr, Trinity College Dublin
April 27, 5pm, Skiles 002

Title: Saving the Dead Girl: Emotion and Gender in Ant Attack and ICO

Abstract: This talk is concerned with two games, Ant Attack (1983) and ICO (2001), which despite differences in time, origin and technical sophistication share remarkable similarities in their approach to story, aesthetics and gameplay.  The two games are of particular interest because they have been successful in evoking sadness and
loss, which is a part of the emotional spectrum not easily accessible to game designers.  The talk subjects the games to analysis in which a framework of Jungian archetypes are used to deconstruct story, aesthetics and gameplay and to show how the sophisticated use of archetypes strikes such powerful chords in the human psyche that it can explain the unusual degree of emotional involvement felt by players.  The talk concludes that the careful use of archetypes is an untapped resource, which can help increase the emotional palette available to designers and hence help games mature as a medium.

Biography: Dr Mads Haahr is a Lecturer in Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin. He holds BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Copenhagen and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin.  His research interests include mobile and ubiquitous computing, self-organising systems, interactive and location-aware narrative, computer game studies and artificial intelligence for games.  He edits a multidisciplinary academic journal called Crossings: Electronic Journal of Art and Technology and also created and operates the true random number service RANDOM.ORG.

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