Sunday, January 20, 2013

So what is a game? Don't ask Kellee Santiago

Here's stuff for a new article. It's a reply to some comment posted in Kellee Santiago, dreadful Avatar of VGA.

The comment in itself isn't particularly original, nor stellar might I add, but it nonetheless remains a good excuse to clarify a position about what the question of video games and art.

So basically, here's the anonymous comment:

You know nothing of art, whether it be film, literature, or games. What makes a game is its interactivity. The fact that you must play it. Unlike every other medium, nothing will happen unless you pick up the controller or football. Art can not be so easily defined, but most consider it to be the intentional composition of elements around a sole idea. All parts of a game must serve the overall thematic idea before they can ever be art. Most don't with the exception of perhaps a few exceptions. Many of those exceptions are indie titles. Kellee Santiago does make games that are also art. The playability makes it a game and the mechanics complete focus on the games overall purpose elevates it further to art status. Whether or not the game is challenging doesn't define it as a game.
3 January 2013 04:20

You vermin didn't even listen to your priestess' litany. She doesn't even claim to make games first, dipshit:
thatgamecompany sucks at making games
Therefore, I would obviously beg to differ on who really understands art here. As now, I can tell that you're still crawling in a cesspool of ignorance and idiocy.
Perhaps one day, when you'll know how it feels to be like a deity, you'll start to see what I mean. Because real gods do beauty and complexity, they don't do vomit and feces. They're ruthless but they know how to reward those who are willing to be part of their intricate universes, those ready to do their best to stand above others, as champions.
See, if we want to consider what makes a game artful, then we need to really understand what a game is. It's not the paint. It's not the pixels. Aside from the overall consensus that fun has to be part of it, what is absolutely clear is that the closer you get to throwing dice, the farther you are from a real game.
The nature of a game isn't primarily found in its prettiness (the visual -and even auditive- coating), but in the perfection of the challenges put forth by the rules and how players can literally bond with the game, in a way that is almost biomechanical. There's something promethean here, get it?
The creator and the player are complementary to each other, the maker and the subject. You can't pretend having a good game with mediocre designers and weak players.
Or perhaps you can, but it would be stuff for amoeba.
For the real matter at hand here, we're talking about playful and real challenges, in a complex ballet where the hero, the player, reads the game, learns it, faces difficulty and fights. The fluid complexity put into motion becomes a beauty in itself as the player is symbolically sweating in beating the monsters animated by the electronic cogs of the code.
There is no challenge without both real obstacles and the mastery of play that is required to give life to the game. You cannot cheat on that.
Such concepts are entirely absent of TGC's games, which are dumbed down, pussified kindergarten occupations pretending to be mature about something they completely ignore. They're almost non-games made for hipsters, themselves pretending standing above the masses, and they progressively lead the militant cohorts into a the new age of gaming stalinism, where you could "democratize" the capacity to create good games, and therefore artful games, merely by hiring a bunch of inspired graphists. TGC's software is at best defined as flashy interactive experiences. Proof being that Santiago can't even define what a game is, and gets all her priorities wrong. It's quite pathetic.
And let's not stop here.
You speak of interactivity.
Oh yes, such a thing is essential. But pick Flow, Flower, Flowerer, Journey... it turns out that most of the code that is ran owes more to noise, a simplistic batch, than anything meant to orchestrate meaningful play.
Santiago claims to have embedded interactivity at the heart of their so called games. Sure? Despite her claims, said interactivity is absolutely minimalistic. So what are we left with? Video and music. The cables that support part of the interactivity if you want, and that's all. Fuck that, let's watch a movie, with some real plot if it's not too much to ask for.
Santiago and pals focus on the *video* aspect and completely forget the *game* one. Visuals and sounds constitute a vital wrapping, but a game is first and foremost defined by its mechanics. Those who make good games know that, and for some reason they often found to be the wisest of the lot, not bothering people with silly debates on what art in games should be, nor fighting for a two minutes of exposure on a soapbox. Wise, the blokes at TGC aren't. They're absolutely oblivious to the fact that video is the adjective, yet they treat it as the main substance. As long as they remain so deluded, not only they will keep putting the industry at risk and make it bomb (and all varieties of crooks will keep raising them as new prophets according to a rinse and repeat template already used for the establishment of modern art), but real game designers will have to oppose them with all they have if they honestly care about the reason of their very existence.
The truth?
As it is, there's barely any gaming to be found in the sum of TGC's software collection, their products just stand a notch above those abject apps you can buy on the appstore produced by Gree or Pocket Gems, all pretending being games.
TGC sells empty shells in game booths, golden eggs with rotten flesh inside.

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