Code, Games, Puppets, and Kleist

Stephen Ramsay, The University of Nebraska—Lincoln

“Code, Games, Puppets, and Kleist” uses Heinrich von Kleist’s 1810 essay, “On the Marionette Theater” as an analogy for understanding the discourses around modern video game development. Ramsay suggests that innovations in game technology follow an arc that is unlike that of almost any other artistic medium, with profound implications for the way we think about games as cultural objects. To get at those implications, though, we need to look far beneath the surface of games into the nature of code and software itself.