“Once the Author is gone, the claim to “decipher” a text becomes quite useless. To give an Author to a text is to impose upon that text a stop clause, to furnish it with a final signification, to close the writing. This conception perfectly suits criticism, which can then take as its major task the discovery of the Author (or his hypostases: society, history, the psyche, freedom) beneath the work: once the Author is discovered, the text is “explained:’ the critic has conquered; hence it is scarcely surprising not only that, historically, the reign of the Author should also have been that of the Critic, but that criticism (even “new criticism”) should be overthrown along with the Author“
Stop. Now read the quote again. Barthes is making a point fitting to a T for this blog. He makes the argument that with writing, the Author dies when he then spins his web of words to be read. The Author and the Critic die as the reader/player is
born.To find the authorship of any work, if not already specifically named, is superfluous, because the interpretation is now simply speculation. I thought this was pertinent to bring to this discovery in order to establish the boundaries of this inquiry. As I have now established that this argument a fruitless endeavor, I may now proceed .
Well, lets start with how much of a noob I am. I ordered Civilization VI for the PC on Amazon a couple weeks before we began this choice game. It was only after trying to insert the game into my 2012 Macintosh laptop that I came to a Simpson Homer “dope” moment. If you are ignorant to the fact that PC games do not work on the Mac like myself, then now ya know. Oh, and did I mention that the software update on my Mac needed to play Civ VI crashed my hard drive. So I eventually went to the App Store on the my new stupidly expensive Mac (not happy Apple) and purchased the correct version of Civilization VI and returned the useless PC game, well useless for me. For those who have yet to play this game, please do. Basically you start in a mysterious spot on a map with a random arrangement of continents and resources such as horses, iron, marble, fish, etc.. You then compete online or against a bunch of AI controlled Political leaders to grow and fight for resources, land, and advancement of your culture. Awesome.
As you can see from the list on the left in photo 1a, it is quite obvious through one Google search who these particular companies/people are. When I tried to look on some forums and such to find individuals contributions, and finally found a video of the artist from before the game was released. What’s that you say, it says there is specific artist and designer? Indeed, in the Interview of Brian Bussatti he goes into detail the changes from Civilization V and what specifically they did in in cooperation with the design team , although never specifically mentioning Ed Beach. That leads me to the logical conclusion that this game took many teams of artists and designers, as told by the credits.
So then who is the “author”? Is it the Developer Firaxis games, which orchestrated the creation or Ed Beach and / or Brian Busatti’s teams? Good question. Is it right to attribute the authorship of this game to a single perspective, a single person or even a small group of people? Good question. I would answer to the second question, no. It would be a detriment to the entirety of the Civilization VI game to narrow the perspective of the collaborative success. It would be better, in my opinion, to indeed think of the author as a meta-being that encompasses every person that touched the game and furthered it to its end by invoking their personal perspective/style. Because you simply cannot, CANNOT, claim the specific from that which was created by the general. In that, to name one person/company is simply a lie.
Now that I have established the “author” of both Civilization and this blog post, it would be wise to partially retract my 1st objection in the name of the dialectic argument of authorship in respect to video games. The creation cannot be treated simply as an author of one essay, but instead as a Collective Activity as described by Howard Becker. The shear amount of work and man power needed to produce the games we see today with all of their aesthetic trimmings and wonderful design.