Martin E. Roth
In this article, I develop a perspective on video game creation tools and related practices, and ask whether game creation can be a space of creative experimentation for scholars of the humanities. I argue that such questions cannot be directed at digital technologies or video game creation in general. Instead, a serious engagement with the tools and practices for creating digital space has to locate these tools and the space created with and around them within a broader context. If so, what are the building blocks and physics of game creation – what can be created and by whom? And how can they be studied and applied in, or repurposed for, the humanities? In its mixture of theoretical inquiry, empirical case study and programmatic sketch, this article is intended as a first step towards mapping game creation in its diversity and relations to other digital regions.
In this article, I perceive digital space as a space structured by different and, at the same time, related modes of exchange. Drawing on Karatani Kōjin’s model of ‘exchange’, I scrutinize capitalist exchange in digital space, data-based control on platforms, and the conditions of community in a filtered digital reality. The analysis indicates a shift in the structure of exchange in digital space. In Karatani’s analysis, capital, nation, and state form a strong alliance that maintains the present status quo. Although this holds true for digital space, the emphasis is much more on corporate and thus capitalist actors, which, in some cases, replace the state and interfere with the emergence of imagined communities. By relating the various actors and dimensions, I provide a heuristic model for the structure of digital space.