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The phenomenology of Angry Birds: Virtual gravity and distributed proprioception in video game worlds

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This article explores the nature of sensation, perception and proprioception in contemporary digital and mobile culture, as exemplified in digital games. It argues that the application of theories of the phenomenology of perception to digital media and games needs to be extended and adapted to acknowledge and describe the sensing and proprioceptive abilities of technological bodies (both hardware and software) as well as human bodies. The article explores the idea that the embodied ‘feeling’ (proprioception) of virtual physics, particularly gravity, in gameplay experience must be understood as distributed across and through human and non-human sensing bodies. It will take the popular mobile game Angry Birds as a starting point, but will then explore the achievement of distributed proprioception in other games and games hardware more broadly.
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Keywords: machine sensing; phenomenology of perception; postphenomenology; video games; virtual gravity; virtual physics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Southampton

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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