Metaphysics of Morrowind: Interactive Texts

I found this a few years ago and thought it was really interesting.It’s an analysis of the video game TES 3: Morrowind. It’s a little bit Lacanian, as it delves into the concept of the Real in later sections. Now, I submit it under the umbrella of cultural criticism. Anything can be a text! I leave it to all of you whether you buy it or not.

2 thoughts on “Metaphysics of Morrowind: Interactive Texts

  1. Wow, I was planning, ironically, of writing something very similar about a little MMO (Massive Multi-player Online games) called City of Heroes that was shutdown (killed by greedy suits) last year.

    Part 4 of that series was what I was (am?) planning to talk about. What I call “Creative Co-Feeding”

    “This is not just why TES is special, this is why gaming is special. Collaborative creativity. The sharing of the “divine” act of creation through play. Authorial control is not lost, it is multiplied – we are all part of the Godhead… ” …It’s creating a dream, and sharing it with other dreamers, who then make it their own and share it back.”

    This occurs in many single player games; usually it is confined to the players head or occasionally the realm of fan-fiction. City of Heroes (COH) was unique among MMO’s in that the players could create content (missions) in the game that others could experience. This system was used by many players to extend some of the storyline that the developers had started, as well as to branch off of them and to rewrite the story line into how the player wanted it to go. The Developers themselves even played through some of the player made content and had started to reference some of it in their own content. This is what I call “Creative Co-Feeding” the developers of the game created a world, a starting point, for the players to inhabit with whatever they could imagine. The lore of the game, the back story of it, even it, supported the bringing in of characters from outside of the game world and provided the (plausible) means for those characters to exist within the COH world.

    I myself played it off and on from its release; by the time the shutdown was announced I had created about 25 characters. Of them five existed purely within the COH world. The other 20 came from a world I created, one that had no base in a preexisting work (insofar as that is possible, I am after all human). Those characters, they are precious to me, I lived through those characters. I was THERE when Victoria Von Heiliwig challenged a god of death and won. I was THERE when Rae, The Valkyries Executor, stormed the 5th Column base and deactivated the doomsday device.

    Through those experiences I came to know the characters I had created, I came to understand their personality, who they were, what drove them. Although this was all done with the “game”, within the imaginary world of COH, the more I played my characters the more I came to learn not only about them but also the world that I had created for them. The world I thought-up when I created the character was more like a nebulous collection of ideas, by the time I had “beat” the game with a particular character I had a true understanding of that world.

    I don’t think I could have done that without the framework of COH to build on. Its rather like an outrageous idea you come up with when you’re talking with your friends, and you just keep build off of what each other is saying until its truly outrageous. I.E.

    Guess what I’m saying is that in the coming years Literary analysts will have a hell of a time trying to figure out if the latest poetic epic is the result of a a 6 pack of beer and a WOW dungeon raid some night after work or the authors tragic abusive childhood and parental issues.

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