Starved for Art

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Bocam

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Normally when a game is released, there's a reasonable expectation that a small section of X game's fan-base will evangelize it as well as try to push that there's only one right way to play. Just to name a few examples: any MGS game and no kill runs, the Souls games and their various "respected" builds, and even Persona 4 suffers from this. Normally this stuff is pretty easy to ignore but when it comes to "art" games this problem seems to be exponentially increased by how niche a game is.

Look at any play-through of Undertale, if the person playing it isn't going for a pacifist or genocide run, they're playing the game wrong. This mind-set seems to push by the creator as well, as naming one ending the "true" one, they just give more fuel to fire.

Then there are games like "The beginner's guide", "Gone Home". or even "Depression Quest" where any criticism toward them is met with a variety of back handed insults that have nothing to do with said criticism. (To be clear, by criticism I don't mean "X is not a game." or "They're just walking simulators")

Video games will never be considered art until the people who play them grow up and understand that a piece of art is never universally praised and that criticism does not equal outright hatred.

Sorry if this seems like rambling but I just wrote it as means to get my mind off the fact that I might not be able to use my legs in a few days.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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@bocam said:

Look at any play-through of Undertale, if the person playing it isn't going for a pacifist or genocide run, they're playing the game wrong. This mind-set seems to push by the creator as well, as naming one ending the "true" one, they just give more fuel to fire.

I understand why some designers might make multiple endings for games but what I don't understand is why they would do that, and then go on to say that only one ending is true. If you have a specific story to tell, tell it; if you have multiple endings, embrace the multiple endings.

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Justin258

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#3  Edited By Justin258

I might not be able to use my legs in a few days.

I'm sorry! :( This isn't a permanent thing, is it?

Video games will never be considered art until the people who play them grow up and understand that a piece of art is never universally praised and that criticism does not equal outright hatred.

If there's one thing that humankind has difficulty doing, it's understanding that not everyone thinks the same way and that what's right for one person might not be right for another. For some reason, it's just an incredibly difficult concept for most people to grasp. I don't think that video games will escape this problem anytime soon. They may never do that.

Group mentality is unfortunately a thing that people tend towards - it's way easier than thinking for yourself - so you wind up with groups who are fans of niche games, who are loud in their support for those games, and who are especially loud in their support for a certain way of playing these games. These people are best ignored and left to their own little worlds. They're not necessarily stupid, they just let themselves get caught up in a certain way of thinking that's common in their preferred company and they just don't realize that someone else is different, feels differently, and plays games differently. It's a real shame about the Undertale guy.

What could possibly be the problem with Gone Home, Depression Quest, etc.? OK, there's an argument for those games not being "games" - as stupid as the term "interactive experiences" sounds, it's a much better description of what those things are all about. They've eschewed the concept of being a "game" almost completely. Still, we have so many different kinds of games available these days, and such easy access to all of them, that there's no point in complaining about their existence or making fun of them or whatever. Sure, write a blog criticizing them if you want to, or go do something you actually enjoy for an hour or two.

And finally, video games do need to grow up, but that's more a problem with the internet in general - most of the people who hang around the video game focused corners of the internet are young and dumb and not very mature at all.

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StarvingGamer

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I dunno, people arguing over wildly different interpretations of a thing sounds exactly like art to me.

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liquiddragon

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are you going to be alright? what happen to your legs?

i've been having my own share of health issues lately and really makes you think (bell's palsy made the left side of my face paralyzed for a month in july and my wrist has been hurting for the past 3 weeks). life seems to stop when health issues come up.

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Bocam

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@liquiddragon: @believer258: I have to have spinal surgery that a 25% chance of paralysis. It was better than my previous option that had a chance of death instead.

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456nto

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I agree with you to a certain extent.

People have a tendency to latch on to certain forms of media - shows, music, books, movies, video games - and use them to build their identity. That's why the word "gamer" exists - people define themselves by the things they do and don't enjoy. So when a game they are invested in gets criticized, they are very quick to consider it to be a personal attack against their character. In fact, people are quick to become offended when anybody criticizes the video game industry in general, not just specific games.

But again, I don't think this problem is exclusive to video games. There are sizable groups of people who will complain about other people listening to MP3 files instead of buying vinyl records. There are sizable groups of people who will complain about other people watching dubbed foreign media. There are sizable groups of people who will complain about other people "binge watching" their shows. These people all display the exact same attitude that people do when they whine on about "you're not playing the game right". People refuse to view things from different perspectives.

One thing I totally don't agree with is using the word "art" in an argument. The term "art" has no solid definition, it can be whatever you want it to be. Lauding your own doodie as an artistic masterpiece on par with the Mona Lisa is entirely valid because there's no way to disprove it. Why people still debate "is x art?" is beyond me. Waste of time of an argument. Even if video games were not art, what difference does it make? Zero.

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#8  Edited By mike

@bocam: Hey dude, I've been there. I suffered a broken back in Afghanistan after surviving a helicopter crash. I spent a long time stranded in a hospital room and even longer bedridden at home, unable to move. Then I spent the next couple of years undergoing physical and drug therapy in order to regain mobility and to control the pain, which I'm still dealing with this very day.. If things get bad and you need someone to chat with, please feel free to reach out.

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audioBusting

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Dang, hope you'll be ok with the surgery duder.

I get you about that stuff. Undertale in particular bugs me. One of the main themes of that game is your determination to follow your heart, telling other people how to play it "the right way" is a little antithetical. But I get why people do it and I definitely have done something like that before. I think there's some sort cultural thing that pressures you to "defend" the proper way to play games. It's almost like proselytism. I've certainly had friends try to tell me "the right way" to read the Bible.

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liquiddragon

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@bocam: oh damn, i have a friend who had spine surgery last summer. it's real serious stuff but gotta get the done man. hope everything goes well.

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Mathematics

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I have been playing games since the days of the Intellivision, and I can tell you....games are not art. If you think they are, you need to grow up.

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@bocam said:

Normally when a game is released, there's a reasonable expectation that a small section of X game's fan-base will evangelize it as well as try to push that there's only one right way to play. Just to name a few examples: any MGS game and no kill runs, the Souls games and their various "respected" builds, and even Persona 4 suffers from this. Normally this stuff is pretty easy to ignore but when it comes to "art" games this problem seems to be exponentially increased by how niche a game is.

Look at any play-through of Undertale, if the person playing it isn't going for a pacifist or genocide run, they're playing the game wrong. This mind-set seems to push by the creator as well, as naming one ending the "true" one, they just give more fuel to fire.

Then there are games like "The beginner's guide", "Gone Home". or even "Depression Quest" where any criticism toward them is met with a variety of back handed insults that have nothing to do with said criticism. (To be clear, by criticism I don't mean "X is not a game." or "They're just walking simulators")

Video games will never be considered art until the people who play them grow up and understand that a piece of art is never universally praised and that criticism does not equal outright hatred.

Sorry if this seems like rambling but I just wrote it as means to get my mind off the fact that I might not be able to use my legs in a few days.

Hunh. That's not where I expected you to go with that from reading the first two paragraphs.

If what really matters in art is how it makes you feel, why would it be any different with games? Don't worry about "true" endings or "perfect" playthroughs, if those don't interest you. Don't let them depreciate the experience that was your own.

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vsharres

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Hey dude, what a bummer, hope everything turns out okay for you man!

As of the topic, as @starvinggamer mentioned, if something has a lot of different interpretations of the same thing, and people endlessly debate about that, that something is probably art related. If you study art history (which I would greatly recommend) you will notice how art is always debating itself about its own nature, and videogames have been doing that a lot in last 10 years or so. Going Home is a excellent example of that, even some AAA games, such as Bioshock have approached this subject.