[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy roleplay forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Pash'nar on May 10th, 2012, 6:17 pm

And now I think there's lunch on my keyboard because of pycons. :thumbsup:
User avatar
Pash'nar
There's always room for more.
 
Posts: 471
Words: 295535
Joined roleplay: May 1st, 2011, 3:51 am
Location: Where the tide washes.
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Featured Character (1) Extreme Scrapbooker (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Montaine on May 11th, 2012, 2:36 pm

Video Games

Image


Starting off with a duo of thanks first, a thanks to dear Eche for grading Production Like Clockwork and shiny new Arcane for Monty's Fortune. These were really good fun and allowed me to see Monty develop two very different relationships, should be interesting to see how they grow. Also a quick apology for my recent slowdown of activity, I have been travelling and revising the past few days, well revising in inverted commas, and will be continuing to do so until my final exam next Wednesday. Then my birthday is on the Monday after that. I have a solo in the works, as well as my two threads with Eru, and I know Anselm and Tock both want threads, an I owe one to Pash and Eri too, but supposedly earning qualifications comes first. Pfft.

So this time I'm going to talk about video games. It might sound odd but choosing the title of this post was the most difficult thing. There are just so many awful, awful gaming puns that I couldn't choose, so I went with the simplest, non-pun-based title I could think of. I've loved games since I was quite young and had a rather nostalgic conversation with some friends of mine the other day about the ones we played as kids. I'd be interested to know if any of you recognise my earliest games: Little Big Adventure 1 and 2, Crystal Rainforest, Day of the Tentacle (I would seriously let Tim Schafer do stuff to me, I love his games that much) and the timeless Zoombinis. Games have evolved quite a bit since then and I missed out on the previous generation's classics but these were mine, my starting point, my favourites. I still attest that DotT, and any Schafer game really from the Monkey Island series to Grim Fandango and more recent underrated masterpieces like Psychonauts, is one of the best, funniest games I've played, and that Zoombinis is an excellently crafted piece of educational gaming software.

Now, I don't want to sound like one of those irritating people who decries modern games for their mainstream sycophancy at the expense of good story and gameplay. It is understandable that game companies need to make money and if people really find it enjoyable to play things like Modern Warfare they should certainly be catered to, but not to such an extent that games that are targeted towards different, smaller audiences suffer for it. So long as Neil Gaiman is still churning out irreverent, darkly comedic fantasy I'm more than willing for Stephanie Meyer to dump her literary leavings on people's bookshelves, and in much the same way I'll happily sift through copies of Call of Duty to find the next piece of the Bioware canon.

Ah Bioware, wonderful Bioware. Their game design may be shoddy but their stories are fun. I haven't played Mass Effect 3 yet, and there have apparently been qualms about the ending, but just because it's an interactive story doesn't give the consumer the right to govern the writers' hands. That sentence got away from slightly, I was going to say that I haven't played ME3 yet because of EA's desire to promote their software distribution...software, Origin. I'm sure it's fine and dandy but I just have a certain distrust for it given all the bad press, and I suppose at heart I'm a bit of a Valve patriot. My knowledge of inter-company politics is severely lacking, in truth.

Now the reason I love games, as I have mentioned in previous posts, is for the storylines. People can often be quite snide about the possibility of regarding video games as an art form, but if we can consider great works of literature or cinematography as such, how can we ignore the stories of the gaming world? Sure the plot of any given Mario game might not be up to the par of Dickens but tell me you watched the final cutscene of Mass Effect 1 and your heart wasn't pounding. Tell me you played through the Milkman stage of Psychonauts and didn't laugh out loud. Tell me you worked your way through Portal and didn't fall in love with GLaDOS. I know people who skip cutscenes, who don't care about the characters or the world behind the scenes, who just want to play the game and level up and complete it as fast as possible. I know these people and I can't help but think they're missing out on what the medium has to offer. Just as I think those who disregard video games as a viable method of story telling are missing out by snubbing it.

Word of the day: pandiculation, the act of yawning and stretching simultaneously.

-Monty
Last edited by Montaine on May 13th, 2012, 9:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Montaine
The Glass Boy
 
Posts: 399
Words: 306099
Joined roleplay: April 6th, 2012, 9:23 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Donor (1) Extreme Scrapbooker (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Minerva Agatha Zipporah on May 11th, 2012, 8:21 pm

We've actually discussed this sort of thing in my Philosophy of Aesthetics class. A lot of it comes down to your definition of "What is art?" Which is something even the great minds of the field rarely agree on.

Clive Bell wrote an essay on the "significant form" of an artwork being its defining quality. He was quite focused on the idea that the lines, colors, and other visible attributes, when arranged in just the certain way by the artist, is what makes a piece of art BE art. Something I heartily disagree with, since it doesn't account for the emotional aspects of art.

Other artists and philosophers consider that you must understand the meaning and history behind a piece in order to know it as art. Go Google Picasso's "Gernika" (sp?), which is a rather famous piece of art about the ravages of modern warfare just before the start of WWII. It's a piece that has a great deal more meaning if you understand what went into it. For example, on one side of the painting is a dying horse, which is much more moving if you know about Picasso's earlier experiences painting horses as symbols of freedom and power.

I think this sort of argument could be made for video games as art, too. There can be a lot of symbolism and meaning in them if you understand why the designers made certain decisions. A couple of quick examples can come from Final Fantasy X (I'm a huge FT Fanatic). Such as the use of Tidus' dreams throughout the game, in building up to the fact that you later learn he is a dream. Or game changes that were made, like the changing of the name of Kimahri's ultimate weapon, which originally drew its name from Christian mythology, but was then changed for fear of offending Western audiences. I'm sure with further research, even stronger examples could be found.

There is also Noel Carroll's theory of "Mass Art," which is any art designed for mass distribution. This includes anything from posters, to mass produced trinkets and goods, to radio, television, and even video games. One of the core principles of Carroll's theory is that Mass Art needs to be "easily understood by the bulk of the population." Mass Art, by its very definition, needs to be art that the average Joe cam appreciate. Complex art, deep and meaningful works that you need to study to understand, can be lost to the general public. Mass Art fills this void. Even simple, low-quality games like Wii family games can fill this definition of art.

Then there's my personal definition of art: Art is anything you create, which generates thought and opinion in those that view it. If people can walk past it without giving it a second glance, without giving it consideration, then it isn't art. But it people consider it, if it generates thought and discussion, and even if it generates arguments about whether or not it is art, then that means you have created something that moves people. That is art.
Minerva Agatha Zipporah
Quirky Gadgeteer
 
Posts: 2027
Words: 1329519
Joined roleplay: April 21st, 2012, 4:50 am
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 3
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Echelon on May 12th, 2012, 1:29 am

hehe Minnie, so what you are saying is art is quite literally power. If you can exert force on another person in any way then it's art. Very interesting.

I think art is an oversimplification. We spend so much time arguing about the art, when I believe it would be easier for us all to just accept the fact that we like different things. People love being able to say "I love art," then they find something somebody else calls art and they hate it. natural conclusion is it is not art, it's crap. Well this leads to a lot of really time consuming and pointless arguments. What they are really trying to say is they think what was created is crap. I strongly believe that when a vague concept is insufficient you should abandon it for a more specific one, not to try to amend it till it fits the situation.

But, people seem to have an innate reservation when it comes to difference. If you are seeing there with a friend and go wow that person is hot, and they disagree it can quickly turn into a argument. Same with food, or colors, or religion. People are different, and I think once we can revel in that fact, instead of feel fearful, shameful, and angry about it then we will have much healthier relationships with other people.

All this aside however, the really important thing is that... yes Bioware does rock.
User avatar
Echelon
Pew~Pew!!
 
Posts: 603
Words: 238195
Joined roleplay: March 9th, 2012, 5:21 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Staff account
Office
Scrapbook

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Minerva Agatha Zipporah on May 12th, 2012, 1:54 am

Art is most definitely power. Going back to the Guernica example, there is a copy of that painting at The United Nations. They had to cover it up with a curtain when the UN was discussing war stuff, because the imagery was too vivid during press conferences on the subject of war.

Music especially is very powerful. Just look at all the protest music that was made during the Vietnam war. Many of those songs are still extremely popular today.

Plus, if you've ever heard a song so powerful it made you cry, or cried because of a movie, painting, or anything else, then you've experienced the power of art.

P.S. Monty made me cry. In his flashback where his Mom died.
Minerva Agatha Zipporah
Quirky Gadgeteer
 
Posts: 2027
Words: 1329519
Joined roleplay: April 21st, 2012, 4:50 am
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 3
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Montaine on May 12th, 2012, 10:55 am

It is a common point of contention between a me and my friend as to whether the Twilight series is justifiable. We're both literature students used to studying Shakespeare, Austen and the like, so something so objectively poorly written as Meyer's work doesn't exactly compare. But my view of literature, of art I suppose, is that the most important aspect of it is the personal enjoyment of the audience, of the viewer, of the reader, whereas to him and most literature students it is the message of the work, the symbolism and the discussion it brings forth. As such, a work like Twilight that brings joy to many, many people but is not written well at all cannot be seen as a good book by the standards of a literary scholar, but to me its existence is warranted by the happiness it brings to people. People with little literary taste, I grant you, and I can say that, I've earned my literary snobbishness through intense study (and or sleep).

And I don't really cry, which I suppose isn't too great a surprise. I think I cried twice in the last decade? I might reserve crying for a whole topic actually, there's a sweet story that goes with it that made my friends go 'awww'.

Also, I'm loving that a post on video games instigated a discussion about art. You guys are the best.
User avatar
Montaine
The Glass Boy
 
Posts: 399
Words: 306099
Joined roleplay: April 6th, 2012, 9:23 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Donor (1) Extreme Scrapbooker (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Minerva Agatha Zipporah on May 13th, 2012, 1:34 am

We actually discussed this EXACT thing in one of my writing classes a couple of months ago. The teacher proposed a question to the class: would they rather write a piece of crap like Twilight and make millions of dollars off it, knowing that in twenty years their work would be forgotten, OR write a brilliant yet under appreciated book that doesn't become famous until after you die, but then lives on for generations, influencing the lives of many as a pure work of art.

Not surprisingly, most said they'd take the money. Society today is often geared in such a way that people don't care about the impact of their work, as long as they make the big bucks.

And part of the reason the conversation went this way is that I just got done a full semester studying art philosophy, a class called "The Writer's Mind" ( which was truth in packaging), and the principles of publication layout and design. So this is right where my brain has been lately.

And as another point, I'd like to point out that from a Philosophical perspective, one must hold a distinction between the questions "What is art?" And "what is GOOD art?" Most of the philosophers I've read agreed that while they were trying to come up with a "definition" for art, that only had to do with recognizing a thing AS art, not speaking of its quality.

Along those lines, I have to say that Twilight IS art. It moves people, it generates discussion, and it has the qualities of emotion and appreciation (whether positive or negative) that makes it art.

I just think its crappy art.
Minerva Agatha Zipporah
Quirky Gadgeteer
 
Posts: 2027
Words: 1329519
Joined roleplay: April 21st, 2012, 4:50 am
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 3
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Montaine on May 13th, 2012, 10:16 am

A quick note to say that I'll be missing for large swathes of the next four days, exam on Monday, exam on Wednesday, major cramming sessions today and Tuesday. I'll be ecstatic on Wednesday evening though, so I'm sure I'll catch up relatively swiftly.
User avatar
Montaine
The Glass Boy
 
Posts: 399
Words: 306099
Joined roleplay: April 6th, 2012, 9:23 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Donor (1) Extreme Scrapbooker (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Montaine on May 17th, 2012, 12:58 am

Okay, so my exams are over and due to the heavy coursework based third year of my degree I am finished with exams permanently. However, due to my current *ahem* post-celebratory state I'm probably in no condition to post tonight.

Also, Cas' drawing of Pash is too adorable for words, and Monty needs one of his own.

That is all.
User avatar
Montaine
The Glass Boy
 
Posts: 399
Words: 306099
Joined roleplay: April 6th, 2012, 9:23 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Donor (1) Extreme Scrapbooker (1)

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Pash'nar on May 17th, 2012, 3:08 am

You know, I'm sure Cascade would be happy to draw one of us together. So, be careful of what you ask for. *coughs* Or what I just asked for.

|:)
User avatar
Pash'nar
There's always room for more.
 
Posts: 471
Words: 295535
Joined roleplay: May 1st, 2011, 3:51 am
Location: Where the tide washes.
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Featured Character (1) Extreme Scrapbooker (1)

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests