If your life seems to be lacking a certain academic something, Jesper Juul of The Ludologist (among other things) has posted his conference paper from the September Digital Games Research Association international conference in Tokyo.I admit that since I'm backlogged in slogging through lots of other academic reading, I haven't had time to take a close look at it, but how bad could a paper that covers Cooking Mama, Karate Champ, StarCraft and Dead Or Alive 4 be?
This paper explores levels of abstraction: Representational games present a fictional world, but within that world, players are only allowed to perform certain actions; the fictional world of the game is only implemented to a certain detail.
The paper distinguishes between abstraction as a core element of video game design, abstraction as something that the player decodes while playing a game, and abstraction as a type of optimisation that the player builds over time.
Finally, the paper argues that abstraction is a related to the magic circle of games and to rules as such.
I have absolutely no doubt that it's more interesting than The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan; it's a text-heavy article (obviously), but hey, there are pictures!
New Paper Posted: A Certain Level of Abstraction [The Ludologist]