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This website hosts the materials and research for a project entitled ‘Digital Transformations: Reading Games as (Authorless) Literature’. The project is running from February to July 2012 and the findings will be disseminated at conferences in September 2012 and January 2013.

The project is being undertaken by Dr Julian McDougall of the Centre for Developmental & Applied Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton and Dr Richard Berger of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) at Bournemouth University. Find out more about the research team.

 

What is the project?

This research project explore the ways in which gamer-students and teachers might work with the game L.A. Noire to reconfigure dynamics of expertise, begin a remediation of the English Literature curriculum and respond to the digital transformation of what we think it means to ‘read’ in order to think differently about the function of books and the nature of textual authority in the digital age.

 

What is L.A. Noire?

The videogame L.A. Noire was released for Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 in May 2011. The game is set in 1947 and appropriates conventions from American film noir texts of the 1940s and 1950s, as well as later texts such as Alphaville (Godard, 1965) and L.A. Confidential (Hanson, 1997). The novels of Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy also contribute to this ‘sphere’ of influence.

Unlike these novels and films, this videogame is an author / auteur-less digital text which is pre-designed but ‘written’, in narrative terms, only when read (played). However, its highly ‘LITERARY’ and ‘FILMIC’ nature would seem to be ‘useful’ for teaching / learning in the English Literature curriculum.

This project will explore the ways in which gamer-students and teachers might work with L.A. Noire to reconfigure dynamics of expertise, begin a remediation of the English Literature curriculum and respond to the digital transformation of what we think it means to ‘read’ in order to think differently about the function of books and the nature of textual authority in the digital age.

 

Key Research Questions

This project addresses the following research questions:

1. What is the videogame L.A. Noire’s potential as a learning tool and how does it function as a (digitally transformed) book (in the form of a novel)?

2. In what ways could L.A. Noire function AS a book (novel) to facilitate traditional literary analysis within an adapted version of the English Literature curriculum? In what ways would the English Literature curriculum, assessment and pedagogy need to ‘remediate’ for L.A. Noire to be taught and studied.

3. Can young people be re-engaged with other literary texts through gaming and what potential does this provide for a digital transformation of the English Literature curriculum?

4. Can a game text be ‘taught’ without being ‘read’ (played)?

 

Funding

The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the Digital Transformations theme. View more information about this theme.

 

Acknowledgements

The researchers wish to thank the following people who participated in the research or offered consultation / advice: Russell Goffe-Wood, The English and Media Centre, The Arts and Humanities Research Council, Tony Fahy, Pritpal Sembi, Wayne O’Brien, Hywel Dix, Pete Fraser, Oliver Zaki, Maddie Saunders, James Dunning, Christopher Cockbill, Rachael Reynolds, Angela Downes, Russell Healey, Ross Took and Rockstar Games.

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