Nick Montfort and I have endorsed the coupling between material constraint, creativity, and culture under the name “platform studies,” a mode of analysis that explores how understanding a computer platform is vital to a critique of the particular works, genres, or categories of creative production built on top of it. For example, the nature of the Atari Video Computer System’s (VCS) graphics registers constrained Warren Robinett’s adaptation of Willie Crowther and Don Woods’s text-based Colossal Cave into the graphical adventure game Adventure, in doing so establishing the conventions of the genre. In platform studies, we shift that focus more intensely toward hardware and software as actors.
Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.
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