Ecocomposition: writing ecologies in digital games

Abstract

This paper contributes to digital writing studies and the emergent field of game composition by exploring how writing in the PC and console editions of Mojang Studio’s Minecraft reconciles putative antagonisms between nature and technology. I suggest that writing in Minecraft models Sidney I. Dobrin and Christian Weisser’s concept of ‘ecocomposition’, which theorises that nature and discourse are co-constituents. Players’ discourse consists of the rocks, trees, dirt, water and biological matter, and this discursive matter provides a set of symbols with which they can write shelter, tools and media. Additionally, I suggest that Minecraft’s writing technology entangles writing surface and practice with nature by extending the surface of the ‘crafting grid’ across its environment. I conclude that while Minecraft’s model of ecocomposition encourages writing studies of digital games that show the connections between writing, nature and materiality, much of this early eco-game media is entrenched in Cartesian notions of plant, animal and mineral agency that reduces ecological complexity.

Written by Kyle Matthew Bohunicky.


Bohunicky. Ecocomposition: writing ecologies in digital games