Christopher Goetz, “Fantasy in Videogames and Cinema: The Ludic Body in Media Convergence”

This talk identifies and analyzes a fantasy shared between videogames and cinema. In this fantasy– a “fantasy of bodily transcendence”– players and spectators identify on a bodily level with a figure that transcends space and corporeal limitation in a series of leaps, collisions, and eruptions. I argue that action games like Infamous can be understood best as transcendence fantasies, as play in which bodies soar through the air, scale skyscrapers, and channel electricity through fingertips as an extension of player desire in an agonistic or competitive space. Recent action cinema—beginning with The Matrix and continuing through the rash of superhero films in the 2000s—should be understood as narrative frames constructed to support similar bodily fantasies. This research proposes new terms in conversations about videogame and cinema convergence.

Christopher is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation explores how analogizing fantasy and play can generate new ways of thinking about the relationship between cinema, videogames and other leisure technologies.