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Ecooperatic Music Game Theory

David Kanaga

Computer games can be approached as musical forms. Considered in this light, they operate at a number of scales that are typically considered hierarchically distinct, functioning at once as instrument, composition, notation, robotic musician(s), and ecosystem or ‘total music space’. The totalizing image is central, as the marriage of musics with games presents us with the possibility of composing works as ‘total artworks’, operatic toys assembled from a diverse set of interactive and deterministic algorithmic components. This understanding of games is grounded in the concept of affordances as drawn from ecological psychology and explicitly contrasted with the totalizing psycho-social economism implied by game theory’s rational agents. The purpose of this chapter is to attempt a description of computer games in such a way as to aid in conceptualizing a pluralistic ecological ‘totality’ vis-a-vis the computer game medium’s essential musicality.

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