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The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames

Re: The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2013, 11:13:59 pm »

For example, the early silent film Fire! has an odd chronology. It shows the building catch fire from the outside, its occupants flee in a panic, and the fire brigade arrives. Subsequently, it shows the occupants inside, when the fire starts, and fleeing. Finally, it shows the fire brigade hanging around in their station and being alerted to the fire.

Did you mean a different film? I just watched Fire! and it makes perfect chronological sense. Policeman finds a building on fire, runs and tells the fire brigade, they rush to the fire and save the people inside.
It's viewable here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPylDE7Rc-I

Even assuming you're mistaking it for a different film, it makes no sense to me that someone could not understand how to chronologically link a narrative with thousands of years narrative art before them. Unless they simply ignored it, as I believe Jeroen was getting at. Sure, Fire! isn't nearly as good of a narrative as, say, The Heart of Darkness, which came out at about the same time, and I understand what you're saying there. But I think the medium is more mature than you give it credit. Going from a purely chronological standpoint (although I believe it's a fallacy to do so as this ignores the broader historical context), more complex (narratively or otherwise) video games have been around for what, about thirty years now? Thirty years after Fire! you have filmmakers such as Buñuel and Cocteau. And sure Memento might not have worked in 1901, but Un Chien Andalou, which I think is a far more advanced film than Memento, would probably have worked just as well as it did in the 30s.
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Re: The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2013, 02:18:46 am »

Mr Snell, you are correct. I meant a different film; I knew when I looked up Fire! on the Wikipedia I should make sure and watch it to make sure it was the same one. Apparently it was not the film I saw, and I apologize! I shall seek to find the film I meant and post it soon.

And the idea is not that they did not know how to make a chronological narrative. The idea is that, at the time, the idea of showing, for instance, the fire start inside, followed by a shot of the fire outside, followed by another shot of the characters inside, had not yet been established as a convention. He had footage of the inside on a strip of 35, and the way the director chose to combine with the footage of the exterior was simply to concatenate the two reels. This was, I argue, simply because the more complicated convention hadn't been established.

I thought about discussing Un Chien Andalou in the original post; I decided against it for two reasons: one, I had not seen it (I since have); two, I knew that Memento was on point. I wouldn't say that Memento was a more complex film than Un Chien Andalou; Nolan is not nearly that good of a director. I chose Memento because it directly related to my point about chronology; Un Chien Andalou does not. I also doubt that Un Chien Andalou could be understood as well by its 1929 audience as by a 1901 audience, but I cannot argue that here.

Furthermore, while Un Chien Andalou certainly bears a complicated message (if it could be said to bear one at all), it is, formally, very conventional for a silent film of the period. There is none of the flaunting of convention present in the French New Wave; there is no reversal of expectations as in A Movie By Bruce Conner; and there is no wild challenge to the very nature of film present in Mothlight.

Un Chien Andalou is, in effect, a surrealist painting that you watch like a normal (albeit well-done) silent film. This is rather like the idea of the Charles Lamb essay that plays like a normal game. But we here are not seeking merely to change the content of games, a task to which gaming has been equal ever since Two played Tennis. We wish to change the very form of gaming itself. Certainly there is groundwork to lay; if there we not, there would be nothing to change!
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"Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."
--H.P. Lovecraft

Call me Dale Smiley
Re: The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2013, 06:44:47 am »

I must apologize for my poor journalism; there is no excuse for it. The film I meant to refer is Life of an American Fireman, from 1903, not 1901. I watched it for real this time; both versions, linked below. I must admit that even the correct film does not exactly match the description I have given.

However, the history of this film still serves my point. The film's rescue scene was cut together from two shots -- one from the inside, and one from the outside. This technique that we take for more than granted today was hailed as revolutionary in this film...until it was discovered that the film was probably re-cut an unknown time after its release. They determined that the 1903 original showed the rescue from start-to-finish twice, from two different camera angles. Not only was this curious organization simply the result of no established alternatives, but also the faked, cross-cutting film was legitimately thought of as innovative.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 07:00:14 am by [Chris] Dale »
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"Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."
--H.P. Lovecraft

Call me Dale Smiley
Re: The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2013, 08:37:11 am »

I can agree that it would be wise to introduce the audience to our ideas gently,  with pieces that are not too extreme - although I don't think this is a universal requirement: I want to see more extreme pieces too, there's far too few of those either.

But we should be careful not to conclude from this that our work should be more game-like. Games are an ancient form that is only tied to videogames as a medium by historic coincidence. While humans certainly enjoy games, I don't believe this is why they are attracted to videogames. We need to exploit the unique qualities of videogames.

To ease a larger audience into this work, we can use things they are already familiar with in videogames. But there's many such things that have nothing to do with formal games. Dear Esther is a good example: it uses controls and aesthetics that are familiar to many gamers, but have nothing to do with goals, rules, rewards, etc.

We should make compromises with the elements in videogames that serve our purpose, not with the ones that defeat this purpose. I believe there is a great medium hidden inside of videogames. We only need to peel away the game layer to allow it to bloom. And I believe there are ways of doing this so that existing gamers still enjoy the work,  without even noticing that "it's not a game".
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Re: The Audience's Goodwill in Notgames
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2013, 02:03:14 am »

I can agree that it would be wise to introduce the audience to our ideas gently,  with pieces that are not too extreme - although I don't think this is a universal requirement: I want to see more extreme pieces too, there's far too few of those either.

But we should be careful not to conclude from this that our work should be more game-like. Games are an ancient form that is only tied to videogames as a medium by historic coincidence. While humans certainly enjoy games, I don't believe this is why they are attracted to videogames. We need to exploit the unique qualities of videogames.

To ease a larger audience into this work, we can use things they are already familiar with in videogames. But there's many such things that have nothing to do with formal games. Dear Esther is a good example: it uses controls and aesthetics that are familiar to many gamers, but have nothing to do with goals, rules, rewards, etc.

We should make compromises with the elements in videogames that serve our purpose, not with the ones that defeat this purpose. I believe there is a great medium hidden inside of videogames. We only need to peel away the game layer to allow it to bloom. And I believe there are ways of doing this so that existing gamers still enjoy the work,  without even noticing that "it's not a game".

Yes, I agree. Thank you for the reminder. Smiley
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