I read this article yesterday while digging through the Sunday Papers at RPS and found it to be quite defeatist and saddening, in that I partially agreed with some parts, but on the whole thought it was far too negative and closed minded.
If you too read it, check out Jim Rossignol's nice follow up article.
If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever
I don't want to sound rude here, and I'll elaborate when I get a bit more time but who gives a fuck? The 'mainstream' is the one part of every creative institution which harbours a ton of shit which doesn't at all represent the 'finer' parts of said insitution and besides I'd argue gaming already is mainstream. Of course it's not as 'culturally acceptable' as film because not only has it been established for years but watching a film is piss easy meaning more people can engage with it. Games will always be unaccessible to some. Is this a problem with games? No way. I wouldn't ask Picasso or Kandinsky to tone it down a bit. Some of the greatest pieces of work put up a fight. There are exceptions such as Shawshank Redemption or Portal but I wouldn't ever want something like UFO: Enemy Unknown or Solium Infernum to be dumbed down for the uninitiated.
And besides, why the hell do games have to be about something? One of the great things about games is that they're interactive things to enjoy whether that enjoyment comes from being competitive or cooperative (like sport), solving puzzles, simply playing for the enjoyment of playing or being provoked emotionally by a game mechanic or story (like traditional media).
…gngh – gotta go! I haven't finished the main article yet or read Jim's follow-up but will update this quick post later when I get a minute. I spotted both of these on RPS over the weekend but again, hadn't got round to reading them (stag-do!)
Okay so by mainstream he means culturally acceptable as well, rather than merely being successful in which case, he's got me. But my point regarding accessibility still stands and will stand until generations catch up. I mentioned in another thread that I'd been working with a young girl recently who was well acquainted with Sim City, Pharaoh and Age of Empires. That's not something I witnessed a lot of when I was her age; girl friends who enjoyed strategy games.
I really loved this bit in Jim's article which ties in with what I said above about games having to apparently be 'about something':
"But we’re not purely about language. There are other elements of culture that are being left out that don’t tell stories, which are even non-linguistic, and which are also included within the remits of gaming: music, architecture, sculpture, physical or sporting achievement, feats of logical intellect, spatial exploration, or the pure experience of novelty. All these things connect with stuff that is utterly mainstream."
As I said originally though, who gives a fuck if games never become 'mainstream' (they will, I'm sure). Some of the experiences I've had with games are entirely unique to the medium and if I have to choke back my enthusiasm around non-gamers for fear of being sneered at, so be it. It's their loss and I've got this far without anybody else's approval. I'm sure in time we'll be sat chatting with the young'uns about gaming as they take its cultural legitimacy for granted but until then we've got to hold tight and soak it all up.
Disorganized rant fragments incoming. [Image Can Not Be Found]
Videogames are not only younger than film but cover far more territory. I mean this in two broad senses.
First, while I'm sure someone has written a doctoral thesis claiming the 70s and 80s performance pieces of Laurie Anderson are somehow proto-videogames, it is true videogame is a catchall category for stuff on a screen that is not movies.
Second, things more usefully categorized as videogames have slammed claim stakes into a bewildering number of experiential places.
In the 70s Alexei and Cory Panshin wrote a book relegating all non-SF to an inferior subset named mimetic fiction. It's the ultimate defensive nerd tract. Find a copy for giggle time. Extremely popular with the crowd auditing their e-meters trying to figure out if a dog barked at mom while they were in the womb and that explained why their lunch money was stolen for seven years straight.
I am not making that claim for videogames, but I do like to think of them as the United States. Warning Forever is one state, Heavy Rain is another with pre-EU movie lust (it's a tortured analogy, film as Western Europe, but I'm almost done), Warioware and Wizard 101 are others.
Blah blah, play Warning Forever. It's free and the atomic of one state.
grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!
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