Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

In The Future, We Will Play

Michael Abbott.

Playing is not reading. Yet, increasingly, videogames are challenging us to reassess the ways we think about storytelling, meaning, and representation. Aside from their obvious popular appeal, recent games such as "The Sims," "Beyond Good and Evil," and the "Final Fantasy" series test our current ways of understanding semiotics and engagement with the "reader." Increasingly, videogaming can be seen a convergence point, where media as diverse as film, literature, music, and design, meet and coalesce to form a new, unique art form...but one that fits squarely and comfortably within the Humanities.

The Humanities must develop a methodology for "reading" videogames that affords this new medium the regard it richly deserves. This paper explores a variety of ways to accomplish this--borrowing, adapting, and revising familiar methodologies, and proposing new strategies for seeing and critically comprehending videogames.


Michael Abbott  (United States)
Professor of Theater
Theater Department
Wabash College

  • Videogames
  • Gaming
  • Play
  • Representation

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)