Justin Carpenter, GI resident and First Person Scholar Editor, will be presenting a paper at this year's Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) conference in Toronto, November 15-18. His paper looks at how the games Mountain (2014) and Everything (2017) by Irish artist David OReilly challenge players to reconsider notions of consciousness, things, and nature.
Carpenter argues that both games are "meditations on games as a medium":
OReilly uses simplistic graphics and absurd design choices to dissect the qualities typically associated with video games, namely player agency, immersion, and identity. Through this self-reflexive approach OReilly's games are able to represent matter as mindful, challenge anthropocentrism, and reconsider the problems of hyperobjectivity and nature.
This talk is a spectacular fit for the SLSA conference theme "Out of Mind". Carpenter will explore how OReilly's design choices in Mountain and Everything emulate the philosophy of panpsychism - the idea that all matter has some form of mind.
For game studies and game science scholars, this talk is of particular interest because Carpenter will present ways that Mountain and Everything's disruption of conventional video game tropes leads to deep and engaging philosophical criticism.
How does the parody subvert player expectations? And, furthermore, how does the violation of player expectations force them to engage with unfamiliar philosophical ideas?