a truly excellent article on video games...

Discussion in 'Console Games' started by student_trap, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    #1
  2. sikkinixx macrumors 68020

    sikkinixx

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    #2
    Interesting bit, although the history student in me is cringing at the lack of citations... God I have been in school too long.

    I think he is trying to make video games special, because really, all forms of media (and literature, and art and...) use history for inspiration, though obviously to varying degrees. The obsession with WWII isn't limited to video games as a whole, put on the history channel and money says there will be a WWII based show on within the next hour. It's the defacto war.

    And WWII games are a fading breed. BiA:HH is WWII based because it has been in development for 4 or 5 years, back with WWII was still the hot thing. And CoD:WaW is set in WWII because it too was in development before the WWII fatigue set it.

    He draws a link between user-generated-content and the economic downturn. Again, those games have been in the pipeline for years and gamers are spending more money than ever before on games. Look at the huge sellers of this year (GTAIV, Gears 2, Fable II, Madden, Wii FIt, Mario Kart Wii, SSB, MGS4, endless DS games, endless hardware sales) We are obviously willing to buy many games, not just sit back and play LBP exclusively because we are broke.
     
  3. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

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    #3
    Haha. Actually, this describes me pretty well.

    P-Worm
     
  4. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

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    #4
    Interesting...


    Bless
     
  5. Mr. lax macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Me too :(
     
  6. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    #6
    augh hes one of those people who come up with bogus hidden meanings behind every piece of art
     
  7. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #7
    It's very far from "bogus", most games (and films for that matter) are based along certain ideas from concept to outcome.

    Am I the only person who does this? I was brought up being surrounded by countless games but even now I only stick to a few at a time. It's not because I'm broke but just that I want to play as much as I can and get good at it. So many people buy these ultra epic games like Mass Effect, GTA IV, LBP, Brawl and only scratch the surface of their depth and replayability.
    But then again looking at how many still play CoD4 and Halo 3 online I mustn't be the only one :p
     
  8. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

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    #8
    I get bored easily so I buy everything I want and dig my way through. When I game I play at least three games per session...I gotta keep it fresh.

    Only game I focus everything on is Horror Adventure and WRPGs like Fallout 3.


    Bless
     
  9. sikkinixx macrumors 68020

    sikkinixx

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    #9
    ^

    I'm the same. I like new games, new experiences, new stuff. After a while multiplayer games especially get too crazy as the super hardcore dudes take over (look at CS...) and besides, playing CoD4 for the 1203rd match loses something...
     
  10. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Ideas yes. Historical and philosophical meanings? Dont be silly. I know people that do art for games and they dont do that crap at all, they just try to make something that looks cool. There is no philosophical meaning behind most games and movies, theyre just trying to tell a story or follow a theme. People like him would argue that they are doing those "connections" subconcsiously but thats BS too, the only ones who make those connections are people who look too deep into things and see things for what they arent.
     
  11. Chone macrumors 65816

    Chone

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    #11
    A literature teacher once taught me something important, it doesn't matter what the developer/artist intended or what it really is (can it actually, objectively, be something anyways?). What really matters is what YOU can take out of it, it doesn't even need to have a purpose or a utility, the mere taking in of the piece and it's significance to you is the whole point.

    That's how the mind opens itself and grows.
     
  12. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #12
    Congrats. I know devs who base their games on literature and try to deepen the meaning of games and their message. Even in my current game I'm adding some depth from lectures about visual design and abstractly applying postmodern art to gameplay techniques. This all takes place under your nose ;)
    Infact there is (was?) a running competition at Tigsource.com about making games based on HP Lovecraft's Commonplace Book!

    Just don't try to base this on what a couple of artists told you. That Guardian article is gold and speaks volumes. But if you go around playing mindless games that don't have stories don't come crying, bludgening the concept that games can be anything more than mindless high-score attaining hobbies.
     
  13. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Give me a break, do you really think Valve was making a game about communists or terrorists when they made Left 4 Dead? Or CliffyB was trying to figure out a way he could express his views against Al-Qaeda by making Gears of War? Thats beyond ridiculous. They might be paying homage to older movies or stories that DID do things like that, but they themselves are not trying to make those connections, the commercial art world is not nearly as deep as this guy thinks. Theres nothing about Gears of War that isnt cliche, humans fighting monsters? Gee I wonder where they could have possibly gotten that idea from. Left 4 Dead is obviously just a recreation of the ____ of the Dead movies (obvious enough to get them sued). There might be meanings behind why people enjoy things like surviving impossible odds or saving earth but that is usually unrelated to the designers intention and is instead a cultural phenomenon.
     
  14. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #14
    Sounds like someone didn't study game design at university :D

    And of course GoW is a cliche. Not every game makes a statement. Valve being the incredibly deep designers they are likely do have an underlying statement and reference.
     
  15. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    #15
    But do you think Valve was making a game about communists/terrorists like the guy in the article says?

    If you do then you probably also think Smells Like Teen Spirit has hidden meanings in every verse and when played backwards has another message, that song is pretty popular with "philosophers" these days, of course it doesnt matter that Nirvana themselves said the song wasnt about anything and the words were only chosen because they rhymed.

    Speaking of music this stuff happens ALL the time with songs, especially with bands who are known to have some deep and personal songs. Neil Young is constantly having to tell people that some of his songs really arent about anything and are just meant to sound good, he writes a few songs about his drug addiction and political views and then all of a sudden every song is a metaphor for something else. I dont know why Hollywood or games have to be any different, especially with how commercial they are.
     
  16. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    #16
    i think that the point is less of a direct link between say killing zombies and mccarthyism, but more of the subtle sociology behind games.

    As such I personally read the article as almost an investigation of potential reasoning behind particular genres, and furthermore as an argument for games as not quite the 'mind numming' and irrelevant escapism that many people see them as.
     
  17. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #17
    This is exactly it! It's as if you only play and read about certain games. Yes a lot of games are commercial, well they all are. But there are developers out there who put more effort into their games and push them into something more than "just a game". As I said earlier, take the independent studios. They're less constrained by getting their game to the publisher on time and more focused on providing a deeper experience!
    Really now... Hang around tigsource.com or indiegamer.com and you'll soon see game development from a different angle.
     
  18. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    #18
    I realize that independent developers do this since they can express themselves freely but you said most games and films do it (which I assume means mainstream). Most professional game developers are not disturbed geniuses waiting to express themselves using metaphors, theyre regular people with regular ideas that just happen to have skills in a certain field. You could say almost every game at the store is pretty much a rehash of some other game or combination of games, people complain about the lack of original/creative games all the time, mainstream games just follow trends based on what people like, it has nothing to do with them trying to express their views on worldly issues.
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #19
    There is no doubt that symbolism and metaphor exist in video games the same way they exist in movies, books, music, etc., but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Do games like Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising disseminate a subtle bit of social and political commentary or are they merely cashing in on well established situations, scenarios, and surroundings of the zombie genre?

    Zombies aren't zombies they are jihadists. Aliens aren't aliens they are jihadists. Why no mention of the games where the jihadists are, you know, jihadists? Post 9/11 we started seeing more combat games set against terrorists in the Middle East such as Full Spectrum Warrior and America's Army (and Tom Clancy games that cover just about every geo-political hot spot). Isn't this 'just like in the past' when WWII movies were coming out in droves during the 40's and 50's?

    Finally, UGC as a reaction to the economy is a real streeeeeeeeetch. PC gamers have been creating maps, custom skins, and even total game mods for a good decade. The current economic problems and consoles finally starting to experiment w/UGC both happening now is a complete coincidence.


    Lethal
     
  20. Chone macrumors 65816

    Chone

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    #20
    My posts must be invisible because no one read what I said (apparently) ;)

    It doesn't matter what the artist intended... all it matters is what it does for you and for thought.

    The people who made the game may be trying to convey a message... even if they aren't, does that mean that you should stop searching and finding the significance of the game for you?

    This is not about finding the absolute truth, it's about seeing things from a different angle which is NOT the Author's angle but YOUR angle; all that exists is the game/book/picture/movie/etc, yourself and the significance in that relation.

    None of you is right, we can't know whether Valve consciously intended or not to reference the things talked about in the article in Left 4 Dead; therefore, what's the point arguing, what difference does it even make?

    :rolleyes:
     
  21. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #21
    So because no one can be right or wrong people can't express their opinion on the author saying things like the makers of Left 4 Dead set out to express the same social commentary that Romero did w/his zombie movies or that UGC is a direct reaction to the current economic crisis?

    I'm sure people read your post but that doesn't mean they agree w/your POV or that they are commenting on the same aspects of the article or discussion that you are.


    Lethal
     
  22. Chone macrumors 65816

    Chone

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    #22
    Maybe you should quote my entire post before commenting on and misinterpreting a little snippet.

    Because no one can be completely right or completely wrong is EXACTLY why you can find that kind of significance in Left 4 Dead or in any game or movie or book or painting or whatever and still be okay, it's not about finding the truth, it's about finding significance, meaning and emotion for you and for others.

    By the way, in case you didn't get it, the arguing I talk about in my previous post is jimmi vs stainless arguing about whether Valve did or did not actually intended to do that when making Left 4 Dead. It doesn't matter because whether jimmi is right and Valve did that consciously or whether stainless is right and it's just a game about zombies looking to make a sale, it doesn't make a difference at all and it doesn't discredit or devalue the thoughts of the person who wrote the article.

    So all I'm saying is, does it really matter what the absolute truth is? If you thought Left 4 Dead was a brilliant social commentary and you found a lot of great references and it has a lot of significance for you and then Gabe Newell tells you they just wanted to make a coop game about zombies... should that really change anything or affect your thought at all, does it mean that suddenly all that you constructed and found means nothing?

    Whose person's brain do you think is working more? The one who finds these references and bases them on meaningful arguments to find a significance in the game/movie/picture or the one who says "It's ridiculous Valve ever thought of that while making the game, it's just a game". Even if person 1 is wrong and person 2 is right... he's (person 1) still one step ahead of person 2 because art is not about finding the values of truth (true or false) and that is because they don't even exist at all.

    No offense to anyone personally.

    Before anyone comments on my post, please read it carefully and think about what I'm really saying.

    ;)
     
  23. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Does it matter that he misinterpreted your post? If yes then maybe you can see why its important to interpret things correctly instead of misunderstanding everything. I dont see how being a fool ever helps you, the person who knows the real reasoning behind a Salvador Dali painting isnt one step behind the person who thinks Dali used pink because he was scared of flamingos.
     
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #24
    Maybe you should be more clear in your posts that are you addressing one or two people individually and not the thread as whole, the most recent poster, and/or the subject of the OP (which in this case is the article in the Guardian). There is a "quote" function for a reason.;)

    So, in the name of clarity, I'm commenting on the assertions made in the article that I believe are inaccurate and you are commenting on the differing opinions of jimmi & stainless.


    Lethal
     

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