The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Erik_Twice
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Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming culture

by Erik_Twice Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:21 am

Dsheinem posted a very interesting article in his Game Studies thread about attitudes found towards game studies that I find very applicable to gaming culture as a whole. Here it is:

http://gamestudies.org/0802/articles/zagal_bruckman

LIMITED HORIZONS

The article remarks how difficult it is for students to step out of their confort zone. They have been playing all their life, how can you say they don't know enough about them? This seems a recurring topic in the article:

"they [students] don't know enough about games when they start studying games. They don't know enough about the history of games, not only computer games, but other types of games as well. One way of putting it is that they haven't played enough games, to be more precise, they haven't played enough different types of games." While students often have over ten years of experience playing videogames, that experience can be limited in diversity. [...] Lance describes how students "actually get angry, 'cause they think that they know games. They really get confused, angry, and frustrated, because they've been playing games all their life!"


This is an issue, not with students, but with game culture. There's a thread in Neogaf that complains about Sonic being "unfair" because "it punishes you when you hit an obstacle" and there's another in the Shmups.com forums ranting about how Fez is a terrible game because it "takes no skill". Both short-sighted complains arise from having a very narrow idea of what a game should be like, dimissing anything that doesn't fit their preconceptions.

(Personally, this explains my issues with RPG elements, combos and execution barriers in fighting games or movie-driven narratives in games. They are taken for granted because the pool of reference is very small.)

The narrow view on what a game is, in my very modest opinion, the single most important issue cultural analysis of video games. I've written elsewhere that critics need a wider knowledge base (http://eriktwicereviews.com/feature-40- ... lay-intro/) but this applies to any other anaylsis, not just criticism.


The reason for this narrow view is, in my opinion and; perhaps, the article's, is the lack of a higher frame of reference. You can quickly check which films are considered historically important and you can read long-winded analysis of any film consired so. Not so with games. There's no canon and there are no books written on Ghost'n Goblins or Xevious and most analysis are amateurish (including my own).

TL;DR:

Our understanding of games is heavily limited by small reference pools and the lack of previous analysis of the subject matter.

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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Ack Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:05 am

But what did you expect of an emerging field of study?

Having read the same article, let's be frank: video games are a very wide and diverse medium, with many faucets that some of us will never venture into for a variety of reasons. I've never cared for many sports, so those games hold no appeal, despite my acknowledging that there may be some absolutely wonderful gems hidden within. And there are other genres that hold a barrier of skill or talent that I seem unable to overcome. While I've finally managed to beat a few SHMUPs this year, I still lack the chops to take on some of the best known and loved examples. I can attempt to explore these genres, but there's a wall keeping me from really doing so, and with so much diversity throughout, I can easily go focus on something else.

And admittedly this narrow focus can also be found in other fields, along with such specialization. A Proust scholar may have an incredible knowledge of literature but struggle with the Japanese haikai form. A software engineer may know C++ but haven't a clue how to operate in FORTRAN. The important thing for now, at least in my opinion, is not to declare that such specialization is wrong, but instead to work to establish a minimum baseline of education, which admittedly is what you've done with your games list and also what Ds is doing with his students. But this is a conversation which will continue to evolve for the forseeable future.

And even once that baseline is set, we may never experience it because the depth of a field is so great. I spent years in school studying literature across genre, region, and time period, yet I've never read any work by Ernest Hemingway. Despite my love of adventure tales, I've only ever read one work by Jack London. I've read more Algernon Blackwood than I have HP Lovecraft.
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Erik_Twice Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:42 pm

Ack wrote:But what did you expect of an emerging field of study?

Well, to be frank I didn't expect anything, I just thought the article was interesting :oops:

You are right, of course.
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Ack Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:46 pm

General_Norris wrote:
Ack wrote:But what did you expect of an emerging field of study?

Well, to be frank I didn't expect anything, I just thought the article was interesting :oops:

You are right, of course.


Sure, sure, but you're also right in pointing out the issues currently at play, because without acknowledging them, the study may never evolve beyond this point.
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Hazerd Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:15 pm

General_Norris wrote:Dsheinem posted a very interesting article in his Game Studies thread about attitudes found towards game studies that I find very applicable to gaming culture as a whole. Here it is:

http://gamestudies.org/0802/articles/zagal_bruckman


I read a bit of this, and im lost for words, video games were meant to be enjoyed for what they are, if i was to take these "courses" or whatever they are, i think playing a NES or whatever would lose its appeal to me, i mean were not dissecting frogs here.

As kids we dont think of the science or "study" behind a video game.

It's like, why dont we study why female breasts are so attractive, i dont give a shit why they are attractive, i just like them!

:roll:
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Ack Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:16 pm

Hazerd wrote:
General_Norris wrote:Dsheinem posted a very interesting article in his Game Studies thread about attitudes found towards game studies that I find very applicable to gaming culture as a whole. Here it is:

http://gamestudies.org/0802/articles/zagal_bruckman


I read a bit of this, and im lost for words, video games were meant to be enjoyed for what they are, if i was to take these "courses" or whatever they are, i think playing a NES or whatever would lose its appeal to me, i mean were not dissecting frogs here.

As kids we dont think of the science or "study" behind a video game.

It's like, why dont we study why female breasts are so attractive, i dont give a shit why they are attractive, i just like them!

:roll:


We don't need science either. After all, the world works, right?
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Hazerd Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:18 pm

Ack wrote:
Hazerd wrote:
General_Norris wrote:Dsheinem posted a very interesting article in his Game Studies thread about attitudes found towards game studies that I find very applicable to gaming culture as a whole. Here it is:

http://gamestudies.org/0802/articles/zagal_bruckman


I read a bit of this, and im lost for words, video games were meant to be enjoyed for what they are, if i was to take these "courses" or whatever they are, i think playing a NES or whatever would lose its appeal to me, i mean were not dissecting frogs here.

As kids we dont think of the science or "study" behind a video game.

It's like, why dont we study why female breasts are so attractive, i dont give a shit why they are attractive, i just like them!

:roll:


We don't need science either. After all, the world works, right?


I try not to think when i play video games for the most part, take it as you will.
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Ack Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:22 pm

And that's fine, but many of us do, so we'll politely ask you don't knock it when we do. Because you may not realize it, but you're also knocking art as a whole, be it film, literature, poetry, theater, painting, and so forth. Games may be a strange addition to our means of expressing and conveying ideas, but they are a part of it nonetheless.
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Hazerd Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:25 pm

Ack wrote:And that's fine, but many of us do, so we'll politely ask you don't knock it when we do. Because you may not realize it, but you're also knocking art as a whole, be it film, literature, poetry, theater, painting, and so forth. Games may be a strange addition to our means of expressing and conveying ideas, but they are a part of it nonetheless.


How am i knocking art as a whole, how stuck up can you be, im just trying to be more down to earth, while your head is above the clouds.
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Re: Attitudes towards game studies and general gaming cultur

by Ack Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:31 pm

Hazerd wrote:
Ack wrote:And that's fine, but many of us do, so we'll politely ask you don't knock it when we do. Because you may not realize it, but you're also knocking art as a whole, be it film, literature, poetry, theater, painting, and so forth. Games may be a strange addition to our means of expressing and conveying ideas, but they are a part of it nonetheless.


How am i knocking art as a whole, how stuck up can you be, im just trying to be more down to earth, while your head is above the clouds.


Because you're asking what's the point of considering or thinking about games at all. And as games are a form of expression, then you are implying that expression shouldn't be considered. Your "down to earth" is to have the intellectual curiosity of a rock.
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