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1  General / Introductions / Re: Hello from Montreal on: January 06, 2015, 07:07:24 PM
Salut Lazlo! Bienvenue à Notgames!
2  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals on: June 10, 2014, 03:08:46 PM
I suspect, but cannot yet prove, that all narrative requires closure to be satisfying.

Quote from: Michael
the sun on our skin, the wind in our hair, walking barefoot in the sand, swimming, etc. Maybe videogames can be more like that.

That sounds fantastic, though. Please do that!
3  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals on: May 21, 2014, 04:06:40 PM
Well, I think if you can have a closure with a painting you can easily have closure with a game, even one that is substantially different with each playthrough. We appreciate games not wholly by the specific decisions we make, but by the way those decisions relate to the entire possible world of decisions we might have made. When a player is satisfied with their understanding and appreciation of the relationship between different possible playings of the game, closure is achieved!
4  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals on: May 20, 2014, 03:38:42 PM
There are definitely some instances where I agree with you, like Dead Esther. I prefer to think that each time I play the game represents another cycle of the protagonist through the island, repeating endlessly. At the same time, I definitely feel like To The Moon had real closure. I think closure has mostly to do with narrative.
5  Creation / Reference / Re: Battlefield & Call of Duty are underestimated on: May 06, 2014, 04:15:42 PM
I think the success of Call of Duty-type games is the amusement park-type pace and the "on rails"-ness of them. Objective-oriented, and not at all driven by exploration.

I don't think that's a problem, though. I much prefer on-rails-type, objective-oriented notgames (like To The Moon or 30 Flights of Loving) to exploration-driven games. I think they have equal artistic potential, depending on what the player wants out of an experience.

But maybe you weren't saying that as a criticism and I'm just being contrary; if so, my apologies!
6  General / Check this out! / Re: Tale of Tales 10 year anniversary Experiments & Prototypes bundle on: December 20, 2013, 03:53:23 PM
This is awesome! I'll be picking this one up shortly!
7  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Dealing with player failure on: June 07, 2013, 01:50:57 AM
I've always thought that the feelings caused by someone being worried they'd lose progress in their game weren't really the same emotion (difference of kind) as fear for their life, such as you can simulate with a creepy atmosphere (difference of degree).

I totally agree one can't keep that fear up indefinitely — but maybe one shouldn't be trying to! Maybe when the fear runs up, it's a good time to wrap up the story. That's how they do it everywhere else, after all!

That said, all of your ideas definitely can make for compelling gameplay. I especially love supposed-to-lose situations Wink
8  General / Check this out! / Humble Bundle 8 contains two notgames! on: May 28, 2013, 09:01:18 PM
Your friends and mine at have got Dear Esther and, if you pay above the average price, Proteus, in their latest offering!

So check it out, make a purchase, and adjust the sliders to show exactly where you place your support!
9  Creation / Notgames design / Re: The trouble with immersion? on: May 19, 2013, 09:12:58 AM
Sadly, I often wonder whether even the legitimate artists who find their way into the videogames industry are the right people for the job.
10  Creation / Notgames design / Re: The fourth wall does not exist on: May 19, 2013, 09:11:15 AM
The fourth wall, in this case, isn't meant to represent a separation between the action and the player — it's meant to represent the belief the player has that they are controlling something real and meaningful. The fourth wall separates the game-game, the fictional game, the "diegetic" game, from "non-diegetic" things like saving, loading, adjusting the volume, &c. That's why most tutorials wouldn't be accused of 'breaking the fourth wall', but that bit in one of the MGS games where the bad guy threatens to have deleted some of your save games is.
11  Creation / Reference / Re: IGF 2013 on: March 29, 2013, 03:27:56 PM
Walking Dead. Kentucky came out this year, didn't it?
12  General / Check this out! / Re: My presentation "Mobile Gaming & the Avant-Garde on: March 11, 2013, 08:16:59 PM
Bump! Here's a link to the rough of the presentation; I'm giving it on the 21st!

Any feedback appreciated.
13  General / Check this out! / Re: In Defense of Notgames on: March 07, 2013, 03:22:22 PM
Thank you, Mr de Figueiredo! I was worried my constant rebuttals were tiring you.

I think again we mistake each other's terminology; when I refer to aesthetics in the context of the aesthetic interest, I do not refer to anything so specific as beauty or design. I agree that under such a conception of aesthetics, a graphic designer would find himself an artist. But when I (and Beardsley) refer to the aesthetic interest, I refer to the broad and multitudinous ways in which a person might be moved, impressed, made to feel &c, by a work of art or otherwise (e.g. a sunset). If you did not misunderstand, and you believe this to be art's lowest common denominator, then I fear we will have little common ground on which to continue this discussion. The Beardsley distinction: an artwork is created for the specific purpose of causing such a reaction. With something made by a graphic designer, e.g., it is plain to see that this was created to sell items over the internet; any attempt at exciting the aesthetic interest was a means to an end. This distinction is fuzzy, I agree. I don't believe Monroe Beardsley's definition is the end-all be-all of definitions; I cite it as my working definition, and this is because I know any true definition would be more nuanced. Nonetheless, I find its inclusiveness appealing, as I feel there is little to be gained from being cautious with what counts as art.

As for your second point, re: the fallow orchard, I am afraid I am not sure of your meaning. Are you to say, for instance, that some novels are art, and some are not? I suppose I recognize that this may not be a merit-based definition, but it is nonetheless a definition I would categorically reject. If perhaps you mean instead that the novel is not an art form until some particularly artistic novel comes along, and then all of the novels that ever were become art along with it, then...well, I should very much like to learn more of this theory!

However, I think we are at least in agreement that, though the field is lush and green, the orchard is nowhere in sight.
14  General / Check this out! / Re: In Defense of Notgames on: March 06, 2013, 06:30:50 PM
The experiential difference between text and speech is conceded.

I can see how the specific & historical account of the origin of the term "video game" would be of use in the analysis of why the medium evolved along gamic lines, but it doesn't change whether it makes sense to classify videogames and notgames as a single medium, which is the basis of the article. In this sense at least, the medium to which all extant and hypothetical videogames belong is considered to be one of objective boundaries, which we are to discover through analysis. This realism of this model may be in question, but for this simple purpose I think it suffices. It may be that the interplay of Baer's personal vision to the market as a whole was integral in steering the medium to where we now see it, but charting and explicating that process was at best a minor goal of the article, as I don't believe that process can be said to have any effect on whether notgames count as videogames, because, as I have said, I don't think that story can change what counts as videogames.

While it is nearly certain that Beardsley never discussed videogames, in his article explicating his definition of art, it seems that one of his specific goals in this definition was that it should serve us as art evolves beyond its conceptions at the time; thus I do not believe his definition is less useful to us.

I do not doubt that Bateman's games are themselves fairly conventional; his preferences in games is fairly conventional. I refer to his arguments as a philosopher of art, such as in Imaginary Games; I do not even particularly find much to like in what I know of that argument; suffice it to say that multiple arguments that videogames are art exist, and at least some of them are worth consideration.

Finally, it seems we are talking somewhat at cross-purposes. For my own part, I have never bought into merit-based definitions of art; and the tradition in which I am writing, Western analytic aesthetics, has sought to distance themselves from such definitions since the 1950s. Indeed, a dissatisfaction with contemporary, evaluative definitions of art seems to have led to the very birth of modern Western aesthetics. I do not mean to argue that the evaluative view is objectively wrong--it is certainly consistent with popular usage--nor indeed without its uses, but I do not count analytic philosophy among its uses, and such philosophy is my goal here.

As regards subjectivity: well, in the modern schools of analytic aesthetics, very little in the arts is considered to be subjective. Demarcations of type, definitions of art and artforms, and in many cases even evaluations of quality are considered to be objective, or at least attempts at an objectivity. This method appeals to me, even if perhaps it is misguided.

There is a great gulf between how artists, critics (in most cases), and philosophers view art. I am inclined to agree with the philosophers, but maybe they're just the best at rhetoric.
15  General / Check this out! / Re: In Defense of Notgames on: March 06, 2013, 04:15:40 PM
I suggested that video was challenged by Colossal Cave Adventure because of just such a thing as Real Sound: Kaze no regret. Colossal Cave Adventure could easily exist without a visual component, even if it has one in its normal form. My suggestion was not that text isn't visual - it was that language can be communicated in ways apart from text.

Also, I was fairly up front at the beginning of this article that I do not consider the question of whether videogames are art one worthy of serious discussion; I can see no legitimate objections to that status. I might cite the works of Grant Tavinor or Chris Bateman, but that seems entirely unecessary to me. I vaguely address the claim in the About page, where I cite Monroe Beardsley's aesthetic definition of art: art being something created intending to satisfy the aesthetic interest, so-called. Under this definition it would seem baseless to deny this to videogames.

As for the specific origin of the phrase videogame, I don't think it is terribly pertinent to the discussion. Anyone might have coined it, and whoever they might have been would be equally wrong. Though it is perhaops of academic interest, it seems improbable to me that the term's origin should be relevant to accuracy.

One other reason I did not argue that videogames are an artform is I did not believe anyone who would read my blog would need to be convinced of this; and it seems to me that aesthetics and criticism are rather dependent on art, and therefore my blog would have no reason even to exist if videogames were not art.

However, thank you for your time and feedback; it is much appreciated!
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