Computer Games-- any comments?

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alexanderthesoso
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Postby alexanderthesoso » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:12 am

Jan wrote:
Thats really very very cynical. Theres a sequel to the movie My Fair Lady.

If only I had known that.

I haven't seen it, but I want too, becuase reading Pygmalion, I became rather attached to the characters.

Good for you.

Does that make Pygmalion not art?

:?:

you seem to insinuate that becoming attached to the characters makes it not art for games. I want to know why the difference.

And you are assuming. Assuming that that didn't create questions, or an opportunity to learn.

Narrative entertainment, along the way, can raise questions and create opportunities to learn that may even be important for simple-minded people, kids and so on. But what is intended as entertainment (FF7) is not art.


Really? Moby Dick was written because monster stories and ocean stories were making money at the time. Its well documented, Melville wrote it not to make some commentary, but to sell popular entertainment and make money. You'll have a hard time telling a lot of people that that makes it NOT ART.

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Postby alexanderthesoso » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:15 am

Barber wrote:
alexanderthesoso wrote:Reconcile radio commercials with Mozart. Both are musical media intended to convey information of a sorts. One is art, the other, many would say is not, although we are getting disturbingly close to "Demolition Man" where those old jingles were the top 40 hits.

Not all games are art, no, but its a media that is capable of being art, depending on the circumstances. Would you agree with that?


I disagree with your initial postulate that somehow radio commercials and Mozart come from a similar intent. The radio commercial is not designed to create art, it is designed to get attention for the express purpose of selling a product/service. Mozart did not write his compositions with the intent to sell a product, but to create something for the sake of creating.

And yes, I agree that the medium may be capable of being artistic, but so far it has not produced anything I would describe as a unique art form. While many films don't qualify as "art", filmmaking is an art form. And I think this last part is where we differ.

People make art to express artistic visions. If a video game maker works from that criteria then what they accomplish may be called art.

(But they don't, they approach it from the aspect of what makes a good game. The visuals may qualify as art, the "story" may even qualify as art -- but the parts may exceed the whole in this respect.)

Again, I have to go back to my D&D example -- which I do only because it's the best analogy of an interactive video game I can come up with -- and ask: is the game itself art?

And, IMHO, it isn't. Nor are Warcraft, Final Fantasy, or Super Mario Fillintheblank.



(Necessary caveat: There is a thing called videogame art, which is essentially created by rewriting the games involved -- and it is done for artistic purposes since it cannot be sold or otherwise distributed. The fact that the user is doing the work simply to do it adds credence to this being an "art".
(Also, computer-created art is, IMHO, an art form. http://www.Renderosity.com is an excellent example of how good this sort of thing can get. My entire issue is with calling video games art. Even though they are comprised of art forms, they are not -- or have not yet become -- one in and of themselves.)


Are you familiar with LARP? Live action roleplaying. The entire point of the "game" which is based much on how d and d works, is for a group to get together, and, within the confines of the rules of the game, tell a story. It is a more elaborate version of the story told in D and D. D and D, and other roleplaying, is the Dungeon master, whatever they may be called, creating a world, and the players creating and controlling characters within that world. How is this different from a play, or a novel? It is storytelling, which is an art.

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Postby alexanderthesoso » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:18 am

Barber wrote:Hmmm.

I'm really trying to keep an open mind about this but still don't see it.

This might be a very thin hair I'm splitting, but if an interactive video game is developed strictly for the artistic experience of the thing I might see the application of "art" being used.



Why? would you hold any other art form to that standard? because not a single other art form can meet it.

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Jan
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Postby Jan » Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:28 am

You inserted comments of your own into the section quoted from me. Better not to do that.

Its well documented, Melville wrote it not to make some commentary, but to sell popular entertainment and make money.

I don't think there is any doubt that Moby Dick is primarily entertainment. The first duty of any novel has been and still is to entertain. But when serious writers try to entertain themselves, as they usually do, they're still operating on a higher level than Tom Clancy. In Melville's case, he also wrote about what he knew about, and there was something very authentic about the book.

you seem to insinuate that becoming attached to the characters makes it not art for games. I want to know why the difference.

If somebody makes you interested in his or her characters that doesn't mean he or she is creating art. There is no difference.

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Postby alexanderthesoso » Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:31 pm

Jan wrote:You inserted comments of your own into the section quoted from me. Better not to do that.

Its well documented, Melville wrote it not to make some commentary, but to sell popular entertainment and make money.

I don't think there is any doubt that Moby Dick is primarily entertainment. The first duty of any novel has been and still is to entertain. But when serious writers try to entertain themselves, as they usually do, they're still operating on a higher level than Tom Clancy. In Melville's case, he also wrote about what he knew about, and there was something very authentic about the book.

you seem to insinuate that becoming attached to the characters makes it not art for games. I want to know why the difference.

If somebody makes you interested in his or her characters that doesn't mean he or she is creating art. There is no difference.


Doh. So I see. mea culpa, a dozen lashes. Sorry. that looks like crap to read ugh.

That arguement makes no sense. He wrote what he knew, so that made it more compelling, and made his story art? The point is, Moby Dick is an entertaining work, written as such, that was a miserable failure in his lifetime, and not until decades later suddenly brought back out, investigated, declared art, and marched before our eyes.

As for my statement about caring, Briansieno has made the statement in this thread that video games can't be art because they aren't compelling enough to make you care about the characters. I call that bullshit, on a variety of levels. Seriously, I have yet to see a single definition of "this is what art is" and a thought out, accurate statement of why video games can't or don't fall under that umbrella.

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Postby Jan » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:37 am

Moby The Dick may be art or not - I haven't read it and I haven't heard it declared art. I wouldn't be surprised though, because literature is a genuine art form that allows writers to express themselves and their ideas within a framework (usually) of entertainment. Good novels are a meaningful experience.

Writing-what-you-know is an mportant aspect of literature as an art form because literature benefits from a degree of authenticity and observation.

Computer games are, first of all, games. They are currently being created for entertainment only. Computer games in particular seem to lack meaning, artistic maturity, and a single vision for reasons I already mentioned. I think people are decades away from having a good grasp of the technology in order for someone to really be on top of it and to find ways to fill their product with meaning. Few enough people are on top of simpler forms such as writing, painting, or filmmaking.

I've been repeating myself, so I don't think we can carry this much further guys. Unless of course, you show me some games, computer or not, that are art. I hate to be challenged on a level of vague resistance. As for my definition of art (what's yours?), I think enough of that is implied by my statements, and my statements are as "thought out and accurate" as they're going to get. Sorry. I haven't seen any serious statements from you or Brian that I can recall right now.

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Postby Moderator » Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:57 am

Huh?

Moby Dick not art?

(Jan, get a copy and read. It's art. Trust me, it's art.)
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Postby Moderator » Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:06 am

The "art world" is rife with examples of something that was a failure when it first saw the light of day only to become a "classic" in the genuine sense.

Moby Dick is one. The films Wizard of Oz and Blade Runner are two others.

But some of what you all are pointing out goes back to my comment that an art form and the term art aren't synonyms (that's not how I put it, but it's the gist).

Re-using my example: a child's stick figure watercolor is technically in the same category as Renoir's Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette.

Technically both works would be considered "art" because painting is considered an art form. The child's painting, however, wouldn't be considered "a work of art" (other than maybe by the parents), even though -- in the very basic sense of the phrase -- it is.

I think this discussion has reached the point where the best course of action is to quote Deep Thought's comment that "I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."

Define art.
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Postby FrankChurch » Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:36 am

I hate when they overrate crap like Shrek.

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Postby Jan » Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:25 pm

Steve, at present I'm kind of busy reading books I don't know the plots of.

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Postby Moderator » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:22 pm

Jan wrote:Steve, at present I'm kind of busy reading books I don't know the plots of.


I know the plots of most books I read. It's the ending I worry about knowing in advance.

:idea: SPOILER ALERT -- SPOILER ALERT -- SPOILER ALERT :idea:

But yeah, the whale wins.
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Jan
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Postby Jan » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:15 pm

:shock: May I ask to what powers of the mind you attribute this knowledge? Can it be, perhaps, that you are not aware that plot includes the ending as well as the twists and turns leading up to it?

The pattern of events or main story in a narrative or drama.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/plot

Plot is how writers navigate through the story.

What normal people like me have in advance is an idea of the story.

Don't hit me.

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Postby Douglas Harrison » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:16 am

Moby Dick is my favourite novel. (And I have few favourite anythings.)

One can know the whole plot and still be amazed by it. It is a rich, rich work, and many who have read it consider it one of the great novels in English.

It is beyond mere art.

D.

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Postby Douglas Harrison » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:30 am

Douglas Harrison wrote:One can know the whole plot and still be amazed by it. It is a rich, rich work, and many who have read it consider it one of the great novels in English.

It is beyond mere art.

D.

But don't take my word for it. Here's Harlan from his response to a question in his recent A.V. Club interview: "My feeling is that any species that can paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling and write Moby Dick and put someone on the moon does not have to settle for McDonald's toadburgers, novels by Judith Krantz, and American Idol."

D.

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Postby alexanderthesoso » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:43 pm

Jan wrote:Moby The Dick may be art or not - I haven't read it and I haven't heard it declared art. I wouldn't be surprised though, because literature is a genuine art form that allows writers to express themselves and their ideas within a framework (usually) of entertainment. Good novels are a meaningful experience.

Writing-what-you-know is an mportant aspect of literature as an art form because literature benefits from a degree of authenticity and observation.

Computer games are, first of all, games. They are currently being created for entertainment only. Computer games in particular seem to lack meaning, artistic maturity, and a single vision for reasons I already mentioned. I think people are decades away from having a good grasp of the technology in order for someone to really be on top of it and to find ways to fill their product with meaning. Few enough people are on top of simpler forms such as writing, painting, or filmmaking.

I've been repeating myself, so I don't think we can carry this much further guys. Unless of course, you show me some games, computer or not, that are art. I hate to be challenged on a level of vague resistance. As for my definition of art (what's yours?), I think enough of that is implied by my statements, and my statements are as "thought out and accurate" as they're going to get. Sorry. I haven't seen any serious statements from you or Brian that I can recall right now.


Stories and novels are created primarily for entertainment. Where is it said that something created just for entertainment cant also be art? What is the difference between them other than, "They are just different because I say they are". The vague resistance is going both ways.

Writing what you know. Because Harlan, for examples, KNOWS so much from experience about ancient gods coming to life and buying magical gee gaws from stores that aren't there a moment later....

And I already HAVE presented in this thread a game that is basically just art.

http://intihuatani.usc.edu/cloud/flowing/

And your definition of art does seem to be quite simple. Art is whatever you say it is, and not what you say its not. That just doesn't sit with me as a definition. You list out different reasons why they can't be art, and not a single one of those reasons are unable to be applied to things that ARE considered art.


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