inar ce Sem James Ash

OpenSpace Seminar
James Ash
(University of Northumbria)
Wednesday 10th November 2010
2:00pm – 4:00pm
Library Presentation Room
Lunch from: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Commodifying Affect: videogames and the technics of affective amplification
14:00pm – 16:00pm
This paper examines the industrial art of videogame design and production as an exemplar of what Jenkins has termed ‘affective
economics’. Through examining a range of different videogames the paper argues that videogame designers utilise techniques of
what I term affective amplification that seek to modulate a range of affects that are central to the commercial success of these
games. I thematise these myriad techniques under three headings: ‘progression’, ‘modification’ and ‘contingency’, which are used
to attempt to produce affects such as pride, achievement and success. Unpacking examples of these techniques I argue that
videogames are such popular commodities because they involve the building, modification and exploration of different worlds
whose very structure are designed to elicit and amplify these affects. In closing I reflect on the relationship between processes of
affective amplification and the question of ‘attention’. Rather than consider attention as a digital process (in which one is either
attentive or non-attentive), I argue the question of attention is better rethought through the concept of ‘bandwidth’.
Keywords: videogames, affect, technology, attention, affective amplification
About OpenSpace:
The OpenSpace Research Centre promotes research on geographical and environmental concerns.
Founded in 2009 to promote research into geographical and environmental questions.
For more information see Openspace website:
OpenSpace Centre Director: Prof Steve Pile