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Games inferior as art?


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#41 opus

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:31 PM

QUOTE (Cunningham @ May 27 2009, 05:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do remember the gaming press publishing very strong criticism when FFVIII came out, but I agree with the article, that there was some very strong storytelling in the game. I remember especially the parts of the game that were sort of playable dream sequences, where you would control Laguna and co. The way that vignette ended up integrating with the main story line was really cool I thought. The world-building was also really good. Maybe one of the earlier mainstream steampunk worlds?

I think that FFVII had some stronger steampunk influences than FFVIII, though I'd hesitate to call either game truly steampunk. But that being said, I do love the worlds of the Final Fantasy games and their eclectic blends of various cultures, technology levels, etc. On paper, the discrepancies, anachronisms, and whatnot shouldn't work, but in the game, it comes off as exotic and intriguing.

#42 Cunningham

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 09:26 PM

Whether or not games can qualify as art, Tycho proves here that *writing* about games can qualify. Seriously, I love this guy's writing, one of the most unique voices I've encountered on the web:
QUOTE
I have been emotionally ravaged by a total of two games: the first is Silent Hill 2. I've been to enough conventions and talked to enough people about it that I know I am not alone in this. There are many ways to interface psychologically with the game, but if you are a sentimental husband with a young, beautiful wife, the game is precisely calibrated to annihilate you.

The second game is Shadow of the Colossus.

The dread starts at the very beginning, simmering in your gut, and it never gets better ever - hour upon hour. You know immediately that you are engaged in something like evil, if not evil itself, but our appetites as players demand that we seek objectives and conquer them - and the game scourges us for this dereliction of conscience. The technology at work often obscured the game itself, but the emotional wavelength has resounded years after the fact. At this late hour, I can recall no camera foibles or performance valleys. All I can recall now is the black bargain, and concentric waves of anguish.

The experiences they create are groundbreaking, incredible. They arrive on some alien schedule, like comets, governed by whimsy or an inconceivably complicated schema which is indistinguishable from randomness. The end result is that we are given the opportunity to ache for them: two teams are not toiling in parallel to ensure that each holiday deposits an appropriate manifestation in this industry's pagan observance of the Winter Solstice. It is actually possible to miss their work, to long for it.

Edited by Cunningham, 09 June 2009 - 09:28 PM.


#43 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:10 AM

Seth Schiesel - Supreme Court has Ruled; Now Games Have a Duty - The New York Times -

It is now the law of the United States that video games are art. It is now the law of the United States that video games are a creative, intellectual, emotional form of expression and engagement, as fundamentally human as any other.

“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world),” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the Supreme Court on Monday, in a case that arose from a California effort to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. “That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

... Yet the real importance of Monday’s decision does not rest in practicalities. Laws both reflect and shape the societies that create them. This decision reflects society in that video games have already become the most vibrant new form of media entertainment in decades.

The real question is how this decision now shapes society. The video game industry has long reveled in its adolescent gripe that “they just don’t understand us.” That has led game makers, like sulky teenagers, to act out in some ways, promoting, for instance, some antisocial games with zero redeeming value.

Now that the industry has finally gotten what it’s asked for, it can no longer play the aggrieved, misunderstood victim. It is time to grow up and show the world what you can do with your newfound respectability. Will you use it as cover to pump out schlock or will you rise to the opportunity and respectability that has been afforded you?

The court has ruled that games are art. Now it is up to designers, programmers, artists, writers and executives to show us what art they can produce.

James Bowman - Decline and Fall - The New Criterion -

Among those protected books, plays and movies, we know, are a number of artefacts, including many of the viler forms of pornography, that most people would hesitate to classify as "art" in any but the most descriptive sense. Most people use the word in a normative way in order to exclude dull, incompetent, inferior, kitschy and offensive works from classification as "art" alongside the kind which they admire. I think we can still use it in this way to exclude video games without running afoul of the law and the Constitution. Yet if Mr Schiesel is as usual eager to claim too much on behalf of video games, it has to be admitted that Justice Scalia himself does provide some warrant for his opinion.

Certainly (he writes) the books we give children to read — or read to them when they are younger — contain no shortage of gore. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers "till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy." . . . Cinderella’s evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves. And Hansel and Gretel (children!) kill their captor by baking her in an oven.

There is more in the same vein — Homer, Virgil, Dante, William Golding — but we get the point. We can also see at once that there are certain differences between Hansel and Gretel and Grand Theft Auto, among them the fact that it is the malefactor who is killed in the former but the one who is doing the killing in the latter. Also, the reader is encouraged to identify himself with the endangered children in Hansel and Gretel, and to rejoice in their escape; the player of Grand Theft Auto, by contrast, is encouraged to identify himself with the killer and to glory in his slaughter. The same differences apply to all the other works cited by Justice Scalia.

Devin Monaghan -

With the Supreme Court striking down a California law prohibiting the sale of mature video games to people younger than 18, controversy has again been aimed at video game violence and its impact on youth. But those decrying violent shooter games are off target with their concern. Video games haven't turned our nation's youth into serial killers. Rather, video games have transformed much of our nation's youth into zombies.

One example of electronic obsession is "Call Of Duty: Black Ops," a game played mostly by 18- to 24-year-olds, an age group I belong to and look forward to exiting. According to Activision (the game's publisher), "Black Ops" earned $360 million on the first day of its release, and it took less than a month and a half for sales to hit the $1 billion mark. Within that month and a half, nearly 70,000 man-years of time, or 600 million man-hours, had been spent playing "Black Ops" online. It's been nearly eight months since "Black Ops" was released.

This is time spent playing just one game, let alone "World of Warcraft," or games on hand-held devices. What begins as a youthful hobby (remember Pokémon?) develops into full-blown addiction. Much like delayed contact with drugs lessens the likelihood of addiction, early exposure to video games assures a lifetime of screen time.

... Mine is a generation that levels up in video games but stagnates in real life. While competing in virtual worlds, they become less competitive in the workforce. Many say our schools fail to prepare children for the reality of a global economy. But what can a teacher do when students spend more time with game controllers in their hands than they do with books?

... History has taught that change must come from personal choice, not government directive. Let's acknowledge that parents are enablers, since many make the counterintuitive decision to reward academic performance with devices that hinder it. This is like rewarding good health with junk food. Too often as a society, we focus on knee-jerk reactions and sweeping changes, but forget that the big picture is composed of individuals, and thus, social progress originates from parents, not Big Brother or Uncle Sam.