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Georgia Tech

1. Schweizer, Robert Thomas. Videogame cities in motion.

Degree: PhD, Literature, Media, and Communication, 2014, Georgia Tech

Videogame cities are 'real-and-imagined' spaces whose ubiquity as a setting for games illustrates the persistent fascination with the opportunities for play in urban space. In order to describe these videogame cities, we need a framework that considers them as they relate not only to one another, but to other material and immaterial cities as well. Cities, according to landscape architect Douglas Allen, have a constitutional order that describes their structure and a representational order that fills this space with activity. While these concepts are useful for thinking about the way space organizes and afford certain activities, I pose that the addition of an experiential order better addresses the 'specificity' that makes each real-and-imagined city unique. The experience of these videogame cities primarily emerges from the movement of the player as they are embodied as something acting in the space. The videogame city in motion brings to life the 'spaces of flows' - sequences of exchange and interaction οΎ– that sociologist Manuel Castells argues characterize the city in the information/computer age. Thus, not only do videogame cities draw on existing architecture, narratives, and mediations, they exhibit the traits of networked cities in their coordinated processes. By looking at the history of the development of the open-world city, its architectural organization, visual representations, algorithmic infrastructures, and how players traverse space, it is possible to paint a picture of what kinds of places these videogame cities are and how they allow us to reflect on urban form. Advisors/Committee Members: Pearce, Celia (advisor), Bogost, Ian (committee member), DiSalvo, Carl (committee member), Flowers, Benjamin (committee member), Walz, Steffen P. (committee member).

Subjects/Keywords: Videogames; Video games; Cities; Urban studies; Infrastructure; Media studies; Architecture; Game design

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APA (6th Edition):

Schweizer, R. T. (2014). Videogame cities in motion. (Doctoral Dissertation). Georgia Tech. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Schweizer, Robert Thomas. “Videogame cities in motion.” 2014. Doctoral Dissertation, Georgia Tech. Accessed October 18, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Schweizer, Robert Thomas. “Videogame cities in motion.” 2014. Web. 18 Oct 2019.


Schweizer RT. Videogame cities in motion. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Georgia Tech; 2014. [cited 2019 Oct 18]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Schweizer RT. Videogame cities in motion. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Georgia Tech; 2014. Available from: