Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World: An Experiment in Real Exploration, Actual Travel, Constructed Worlds, and Emancipation (in/from Japan)

in Asiascape: Digital Asia
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Abstract

This paper experiments with the idea that travel writing could be a valid and useful mode through which to study certain videogames. By embracing the notions that space is a social construction and that the virtual worlds of some videogames constitute architectural spaces in a manner that is more than analogous to an urban space, it maintains that these constructed worlds are real places to visit, and hence that exploration within them is also real. Furthermore, the paper considers the ways in which travel in general, and travel in(to) videogames in particular, contributes to the experience of emancipation in technology-rich societies. Using the example of Japan (as one of the global powerhouses of videogame creation and consumption), the paper considers the interaction and intersection of the virtual and the actual, in mutually enriching and liberating ways, which are viewed in terms of their social and political function. It also cautions about the ethics and politics of knowledge involved in the deployment of travel writing as a method in the interrogation of videogames, concluding with a methodological sketch for a way ahead. It illustrates and demonstrates its argument with three original travelogues.

Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World: An Experiment in Real Exploration, Actual Travel, Constructed Worlds, and Emancipation (in/from Japan)

in Asiascape: Digital Asia

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References

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6

These are well considered in Campbell (1998). Of special note on Mandeville is Higgins (1997). Or on Marco Polo the wonderful creative and critical Calvino (1974).

13

I presume that Tim Youngs (2013) is thinking along similar lines in his important book when he devotes the final chapter ‘The Way Ahead: Travel Writing in the Twenty-First Century’ to the idea of cybertravel. However for Youngs cybertravel is characterized by technological facilitation of almost instantaneous ‘travel’ around the globe through the internet. For me here the interesting feature of computer technology is actually in the generation of new spatial architectures in the virtual world which travellers can explore in surprisingly conventional ways.

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