This talk explores what it means to consider games an aesthetic form—something akin to literature, music, or film. That this is the most appropriate category within which to place games seems like an emerging consensus. But what does it actually mean? Are only video games an aesthetic form, or do non-digital games also deserve that status? Are the aesthetics of games a hybrid blend of other forms or a distinct form unto themselves? Do they express a new aesthetic fresh-born of the computer age or a primal, fundamental aesthetic that computers have amplified and brought into focus? The talk will examine these and other related questions.
Frank Lantz is the Interim Director of the NYU Game Center. For over 12 years, Frank has taught game design at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. He has also taught at the School of Visual Arts, and Parsons School of Design. His writings on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of publications. In 2005 Frank co-Founded Area/Code, a New York based developer that created cross-media, location-based, and social network games. In 2011 Area/Code was acquired by Zynga and is now Zynga New York. Frank has worked in the field of game development for the past 20 years. Before starting Area/Code, Frank worked on a wide variety of games as the Director of Game Design at Gamelab, Lead Game Designer at Pop & Co, and Creative Director at R/GA Interactive. Over the past 10 years, Frank helped pioneer the genre of large-scale realworld games, working on projects such as the Big Urban Game, which turned the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul into the world’s largest boardgame; ConQwest, which featured the first major application of semacodes in the United States, PacManhattan, a life-size version of the arcade classic created by the students in his Big Games class at NYU, and many other experiments in pervasive and urban gaming.