Serious about her games

Oct 02, 2003, vol. 28, no. 3
By Terry Lavender

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SFU Surrey's second master's graduate, Cindy Poremba, is serious about computer games.

In her thesis for a master of applied science degree, Player as Author: Digital Games and Agency, Poremba, who graduates from the faculty of applied science's school of interactive arts and technology on Oct. 3, says that increasingly the game player is just as much the author of the game as the game designer.

Her thesis - probably one of the few that invites its readers to “Press fire to start” in the introduction - describes how computer game players modify the games they play through add-ons or modifications. In so doing, she says, they become co-authors of the game experience.

She gives as an example The Sims Online, a web-based version of Electronic Arts' popular lifestyle simulator.

“The proliferation of player-created game additions and tools are a significant presence online; so much so that it has been said that players created The Sims Online before lead designer Will Wright.”

Poremba is only the second graduate from the school's graduate program. (The first, Adrian Jones, graduated at spring convocation this year.) She's now a lecturer at the school.

She came to SFU Surrey when it was still the Technical University of British Columbia after earning a BA in English rhetoric and professional writing from the University of Waterloo.

She worked on some of the early prototypes for TechBC's proposed graduate program and enrolled in the program herself as “it was the only university in Canada that offered advanced degrees in new media.”

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