Human Pratice - How the Problem of Ergodicity Demands a Reactivation of Anthropological Perspectives in Game Studies

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

This article presents a critical review (not a rejection) of the concept of “ergodic literature”
when applied to computer and video games. Therefore it goes back to some of
the sources Espen Aarseth triggered when he appropriated the term from physics in
1997 for the subject of cybertext and explains the necessary consequences of the term
“ergodicity” for literature and games when it is not merely used metaphorically. A more
cautious use of terms and concepts from other disciplines is suggested, especially as the
term “ergodic” in physics has a different but relevant meaning in the context of these
games. The article tries to mediate between some of the general anthropological claims
of cybertext theory/game studies and the understanding of “ergodic systems” in thermodynamics and statistical physics. The problems that result from this mediation can be
seen as symptomatic for the challenges of game studies in the more general mediation
between different perspectives on games.

(Source: Author's abstract)

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Stig Andreassen