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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/4370
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- GTA 3 and the politics of interactive aesthetics
- Finn, Mark
- Perhaps more than any other medium, computer games represent the essence of convergent entertainment. At their most basic level, games combine computer technology with audio and visual media to create a form that is clearly more than the sum of its parts; a complex palimpsest that is both reactive and transitory. Superficially at least, games can look like television or cinema, and can sound like radio or compact discs. They can possess narrative elements that closely mirror traditional film, or be based upon elements of skill and chance like sporting events. However, while games incorporate various facets of these other forms to provide their entertainment, they do so through a level of interactivity that makes them qualitatively different to any other form of media. This difference between games and traditional media is clearly not lost on regular consumers of game content; indeed it is the interactivity that constitutes the medium’s most attractive feature. Policy makers, on the other hand, seem to be struggling with how to effectively classify something which looks similar to other forms of content, but which engages the consumer in a totally different manner. The problems faced by policy makers was lucidly illustrated by the 2001 decision by the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to issue a “Refused Classification” notice for the Playstation 2 game Grand Theft Auto 3 (GTA3). The decision once again highlighted the problems associated with the much-debated system of game classification in use in Australia, and served as a rallying point for those consumers proposing an overhaul to that system. This paper offers an examination of both the decision and the events that followed, focusing primarily on the way in which the OFLC attempted to codify games by simply transposing frameworks developed for other media. Drawing on recent work in the field of what could broadly be termed “interactive aesthetics”, the paper argues that the GTA 3 decision was based upon a misinterpretation of the “narrativity” of the text combined with traditional media effects discourse.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Proceedings of the 2003 Communications Research Forum, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, 01-02 October 2003
- Publication year
- Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2003. The published version is reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.