The Orc—Playing the “Wholly Other”: Investigations of Kant's Sublime and The Technological Sublime in Blizzard Entertainment's Massive Multiplayer Online Game World of Warcraft

Bo Kampmann Walther, Lasse Juel Larsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

While the complicated scheme of the philosophical sublime may at first hand seem mere platitude when brought to life in computer games, this article claims that the action/adventure game World of Warcraft wedges open a space in which to operate the sublime and navigate radically “other” subjectivities. The hypothesis is that the assembly of fantastic elements in World of Warcraft duplicates the Kantian sublime while at the same time commenting upon and even radicalizing it. The Romantic tradition of the sublime as it unfolds in Immanuel Kant's third Critique is outlined followed by an attempt to topologize elements of the fantastic in Blizzard's game design philosophy leading to a clarification of what we call “the knotted point of play” where game object, game interaction, and game subject intervene. Finally, we explore how the notion of the technological sublime relates to World of Warcraft and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGames and Culture
Volume18
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)868-888
ISSN1555-4120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • computer game theory
  • object-oriented programming
  • technological sublime
  • the fantastic
  • the sublime

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