Somaesthetic Experience of Augmented Bodies and their Environment in and Through Digital Science-fiction Games.

Activity: Talk or presentationConference presentation


Within digital games located in the broad narrative context of highly technologized environments
and science-fiction, the implementation and representation of human augmentation is a typical
element to diegetically pick up the game mechanics of skill adoption and related player decisions.
In examples as System Shock and its spiritual successors, this implementation is however not only
used as a diegetic explanation but is further made a key-element of the game’s discourse on biomodification of the human body. Further, players are not only confronted with the general processes of decision-making and digital embodiment, but also a visual and narrative representation,
which is aimed at evoking emotional reactions and reflections within the player. This interplay of
embodiment, digital presence, as well as emotional and somatic reactions marks the point of
origin for the following research.
Starting from the representation and implementation of augmented bodies in System Shock
(1994/2023), Prey (2017) and SOMA (2015), the proposed presentation will explore the experience of and interaction with them based on the four elements of control, violation, (dis)alienation, and empowerment. The analysis of these experiences is conducted with a focus on the somaesthetic qualities of these aspects and framed by Max Ryynänen’s concept of ‘somavision’, as
well as Mario Perniola’s philosophy of media comprehension.
With System Shock and Prey this research puts a specific focus on the game design concept of
Immersive Sim, motivated by the concept-typical implementation of body modification in connection with branching narratives and alternative solutions, intensifying the commodification of
bodily choices of players into ludic decisions. The additional example of SOMA provides a further
perspective on the radical loss of agency in experiences of augmented bodies and ludic action,
while explicitly dealing with techno-political myths of posthuman hybridity.
Period17 Oct 2023
Event titleNordic Workshops on the Philosophy of Games. Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, and Existentialism for Games
Event typeConference
LocationJyväskylä, FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Country of activity

  • Finland

Nature of activity

  • Scientific