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46  General / Check this out! / Re: The Only Thing I Know on: February 13, 2010, 03:34:23 AM
Michael, it's actually quite great that parents react that way. This means some of them have some brains left under their skulls Wink I would definitely prefer my kid to play in your forest than keep running killing boars in WoW.

Talk about practice is theory : P

Ok.  You seem quite interested in discussing existing works, and I am appreciative of many that you have linked to, but I must say talking about these works is, for me, further away from my practice (making games), than many of the other discussions that are going on around here.

There is a huge difference between academical theory and theory arriving from practice. Also, again, I didn't mean to offend or criticize anyone, I just wrote how I feel about those discussions. If they (discussions) help you, I'm fine with that.

And yes, I prefer discussing anything on examples, ideas, prototypes, etc. Although the reason why I really give links to things is that I find those things interesting or inspiring, and why wouldn't I share it with others hoping for the same impact? Smiley
Talking about them is further from your practice? Sure, it is. And that's why I find it more inspiring than talking about making things. Want to talk about making music? This sound here, this sound there? Get off my private intimate creative space, you bastard!


And last thing. Alternative to thinking is feeling.
47  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Rewarding the notplayer... on: February 12, 2010, 07:54:52 PM
Experience is the ultimate award.

Again, do you give candies to the audience in the theatre between acts because "yeay, they made it from there to here!". If you will look at player-rewards you will see how offending this system is. And how much it defines videogames as something that _indeed_ doesn't deserve to be treated with respect.
Again, rewarding a person for playing is offensive to this person. Sure, it feels cool because we got used to it. Sure, it is like a carrot. But if it is like a carrot, who the hell are we? Mules? And we follow whereever our master manipulates us to go? Master = designer. Designer manipulates because he wants money and some shallow fun out of his work (and if he doesn't work 16h a day he gets it). And in the end it seems like we are not in charge of our free time at all.

God... Videogames reached the level of craziness when it comes to treating them seriously long time ago.

Experience should be the only award. Experience is the fuel for passion.
48  Creation / Reference / Re: Games that had impact on you on: February 12, 2010, 07:41:25 PM
Also, I don't mean that any of the games I mentioned were designed to teach me anything (I'm pretty sure they weren't). But they still did.

I see. I think this is a very important distinction to make!
Most of these so-called art-games seem far too much "on purpose" to me. Almost, indeed, didactic. The creators seem to have a kind of message or lesson, and then they will teach it to you. That's what it often feels like. I don't like being taught like that. (If I want to be taught, I want an academic context, I want it to be dry, hardcore, focussed. Not playful.)

But learning something form experience, that's a whole other matter!
And I agree that there's a lot of potential for this in interactive media. As designers, we should focus on creating opportunities for experiences. Not on broadcasting some message or teaching people the result of our own experiences.

I would personally use the word "grow" or at least "change" instead of "learn" in this context.

Give some examples! Discussing about things we do not make but we can make without any examples or ideas is not only dry but pointless. Talking about abstracts without trying to give it a imaginary shape or colour of any kind doesn't lead anywhere, really.
So, first of all I do not agree that art games are created "on purpose". Look at origins of The Passage (Rohrer) or Aether, Coil (2x McMillen) or Edmund (Greasley). I can't agree at this point. They all seem to be created quite spontaneously, be manifestations of feelings (death of old neighbour, childhood, mother's dealing with divorce) or something that the origins I don't know of (rape) but it definitely doesn't try to teach us anything.

I think that this whole "teaching" that you talk about is close to a story with a moral. Author can build a story because he has a moral or perhaps find it during writing. Or even do it unawarely. If the story is written well and told for some more reasons than just lecturing the reader about right or wrong, it is most likely that we will approach the moral the way we can think of it and the way it can inspire it. I would even go further and say that it is like idea that Aristotle had. Want to teach your kid something? Don't ever say "see son, this is how you NOT do it" but become an example for him. Do things as you want him to do and he will follow you. Perhaps it's the same with the story. If author is natural in his writing and the reason why the moral exists at the end of the story originates from his experiences and his behaviour, not theoretically created rules that written on paper looks terrific but he is unable to follow them in practice, then the moral appears much more appealing to us, readers.

Now, is moral exactly a teaching? I don't think so. Teaching happens in or outside of schools and is based on talking about certain subjects. There is always theory and it is sometimes followed by practice (I would say that history is highly theoretical but archeology will follow second path: theory followed by practice). That's what teaching is in it's most well-known form.
But morals appear in stories. Telling stories is not teaching. Stories that have hidden messages are not teaching. Is "Alice in Wonderland" somewhat political even though it was created for a young girl? Is "Winnie the Pooh" highly taoistic even though kids read it around the world having no idea about that? See, no one says "Do as Winnie!". Instead, book describes fascinating way of intuitive reasoning that Winnie practices. In an enjoyable way. And it is fascinating for both children and for adults (incl. those interested into Eastern Ancient philosophy). So it teaches! But only in a way. It teaches if you want to be taught. Message is hidden and it doesn't shout right into your face, right? It seems to be there not because the author had an idea of putting it there but because it seemed natural for him to write the character the way he felt he should be and act (Winnie).

Now, how can we know what a reader/player/interactor shall learn from experience, Michael? Honestly, I don't know. People are sooo different and they change all the time. For example, I've seen "Marley & Me" last year in the cinema. I found it touching like many other people but most valuable thing I have found in the movie was an image of a family of two adults and 3 children that were capable of staying calm and reasonable most of the times. I come from a country where people are stressed way too much and often happen to create much more problems than they really have. And this was different to me. Especially that movie was based on real characters. From the other hand, some people find the movie not even touching but boring. How can anyone know what a reader/viewer/player will feel and think?
I think that there is no way to predict it. We can do something the way we feel it and the way it makes us feel and only optionally keep our fingers crossed that on the other side of the screen someone shall feel/think the same. I say "optionally" because I really believe that a creator that is not an entertainer should care not at all about what audience thinks. That's the thing with being NOTentertainer. You have your reasons, you have your vision. Satisfy yourself, it's hard as it is to fulfill your vision and realize it. Why would you have to deal with people that don't even know you?! And shall never meet you. It also reminds me of Brad Bird saying (in making-of "Ratatouille") that he found out it is not really reasonable to bother with thinking what audience will think or feel if they will see it in 2 years. We make our (not)games faster but still, sometimes the very idea comes way before we begin to work on something. Maybe even 2 years before someone sees it. Why bother? There is like a chasm between how we perceive our work and how they can perceive it. All those saying how audience knows best is a bullshit for entertainers. Imho Smiley

I agree that we should create opportunities for experience. But I have found out that if there is a message (and message comes quite naturally if an author has something to say [generally, something to say]), the experience might be only much more valuable. Message doesn't necessarily has to be something strict and awkward, it doesn't have to be a restriction. It can be hidden behind the canvas, influence the canvas and be there but stay invisible for most of people. More precisely, for those who don't want to see or are unable to see (e.g. their world-view differs so strongly that they perceive things differently).
I find that message is a valuable thing, and that there is plenty of space for several messages in one creation. Simply, if one puts his heart, mind and soul into his creation, it appears and it is there. But, it makes creations much more personal and from what I observe most of authors do not want it or don't do it for other reasons. I find my creations empty if there is not me inside them, but perhaps it is just me.
49  General / Check this out! / Re: The Only Thing I Know on: February 12, 2010, 05:05:01 PM
As for the talking and not doing, I don't think anyone here is guilty of that. We are all very active. I find talking among artists interesting because it can speed up the doing by allowing us to skip over some steps.

I do not blame anyone for anything, I simply shared my personal opinion.
It seems that what speeds you up slows me down Smiley

Nature of nature is difference.
50  Creation / Reference / Re: Games that had impact on you on: February 12, 2010, 01:47:14 PM
This is sad but I got to be honest. None.

I play videogames for about 16 years and none of them had really any serious impact over me. Strategy games made me think that it's a modern way to fulfill the desire of commanding and conquering (I believe some of humans have it and I base my opinion on the history of mankind). That there is beauty in strategy I know for sure. But in the end it is "Art of War" that makes me think "Hmm... how to make a game that would follow those ultimate guidelines" rather than writing 'second' "Art of War" after playing Starcraft. Starcraft is much more entertaining and I played it for 2 years. I read Art of War for several days, perhaps. But in the end, it's Art of War standing on my shelf, not Starcraft.

Several games had impact on me as a designer but that's it. Even "The Passage" that watered my eyes didn't really make me think much about anything rather than game can be touching. It's funny but actually even a scene from silly "Kung Fu Panda" where old wise turtle turns into flowers (which is a symbolical death of his) made me think more about death as a beauty of dying, of changing form, of traveling beyond physical restrictions than "The Passage". One verse of David Sylvian's "World Citizen" song: "Why can't we be without beginning, without end" made me spend about 5 minutes on several lectures about modern Japanese music that I was doing couple of years ago, but if I would be doing a lecture/panel about art games and give Passage as example, I would probably not be able to say as much and try to inspire people to think as much as basing on just this one verse.
And finally, this thread (as you can see) gave me more than any videogame ever. Encouraged me to think and express myself, thus to discover a bit more about myself.

Sad Smiley
51  General / Check this out! / Re: The Only Thing I Know on: February 12, 2010, 01:34:30 PM
I believe people today are in desperate need of ways to deal with the complexity of our contemporary lives. And I believe thoughtful games can fulfil this role.

This is interesting and important. It's actually a huge topic to discuss but... I remember that when I studied philosophy I was encountering similar thing that I encounter now on these forums. Just like them, you guys like to talk a bit too much (for my taste, of course) about theory, not about practice. Like the idea to create notgames because you THINK it might be great. Practical way would be to do it because you find it better or more accurate to your needs. In other words: searching through practice is more exciting and gives better results as searching through thinking. The difference would be like between a person who tries to paint something on canvas and person who writes long books about it but sits in his academic room.
And I remember that the only period of human thought that I ever found really inspiring and amazing is Ancient times. Ancient Greeks were trying to answer the question "how to live a good life?". And they were actively looking for this answer. Somewhere later in the history of humanity this question was lost or forgotten or (how?!) were suddenly considered not important or already answered (again, how?!). This question is what is so fundamental for us, humans. How to achieve happiness and not lose it? How to stay in constant feeling of goodness and pleasure, whatever we find pleasurable and good. Is it harmony? Is it chaos? Is it active creativity or laziness? Is it learning or teaching? Or perhaps is it playing latest PS3 hit?

I find this question so fundamental that I think it would be appropriate for parents to encourage their children to first answer this question in their lives before making any serious decisions. Finding the way before walking forward.

Now, I highly, highly doubt games are capable of helping people organize their lives, finding answers. Look at us right now. Do we make games about this subject or do we use the internet and use English language to communicate? We meditate and philosophize (is philosophy the answer? Smiley). Use of language in many mediums is what makes those mediums really valuable. Theatre and literature. So old, and so experienced in asking and answering many questions. Finally cinema that follows the same path as videogames. Technical excellence over plot. And it is plot that is capable of carrying everything that valuable and enriching. I think that videogames are lost. It's enough to me to see how many copies of Modern Warfare 2 has been sold already and, basing on it, how does "your typical gamer of 2nd decade of XXI Century" looks like. He isn't really another Socrates Smiley

But, I believe that notgames (or however we are going to call them) are capable of it. And that serious, interesting, encouraging to think and fulfilled with emotional content interactive stories can be (in the same time) entertaining. And I do not necessarily think of "boom boom bang bang" entertainment. "Lethal Weapon" isn't really the way (although it isn't completely worthless). But perhaps "Shawshank Redemption" is ("Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes, really. Pressure and time"). Perhaps "The Prisoner" ("I'm not a number!") or "Evangelion" ("Humans found a god, and thus tried to obtain it. As a result humanity was punished. The god that they found vanished."; ironically, there is a lot of "boom boom" in this one). Perhaps many others. Not to mention movies, plays and books considered classics.

How could games be capable of doing something like that? Do we get a candy every for every minute of movie we have watched? We don't, and that's how games work. They do not really nurture our inner child. What they do is they infantilize (reduce to an infantile state) teenagers and adult people. Winnie the Pooh (original books) is capable of nurture our inner child but I believe it's due to the fact Winnie the Pooh is really a taoistic wise man, not an equivalent of Spongebob Squarepants.

I see no hope for videogames. But I see hope for what videogames not stand for. Maturity.
52  General / Check this out! / Carbon on: February 12, 2010, 08:32:45 AM
First I have found this: and I really loved it. Interesting picture carrying some sort of a message, symbolical and metaphysical, all those things make me giggle inside.

Then I have checked the description and immediately try the song:
And checked the lyrics.

Artwork inspired by imaginary image created by sound and sung (nearly melodeclamated). From interactive-whatever designer point of view a question appears, how should the design follow it? Because there is nothing left here to be done. There is artwork, there is music, there is even a message which defines the value of the creation. Design is all that is left to make it a unique piece of man-made artwork.

I find it inspiring on its own but also because I've already tried it in my little imperfect thingy Clouds of Melancholy. First I written the music, music inspired me to create the story and to write the script, art and design followed. Pesky coding was the last thing to do. And it felt good, I got to admit. It was different Smiley

Perhaps some of you shall find it inspiring.
53  General / Check this out! / iamamiwhoami (??) on: February 12, 2010, 08:10:46 AM
This is something I've accidentally found on youtube.

I have no idea what it is but it looks like people are curious and I'm curious as well. I am a sucker for mysterious things, I got to admit and I would love one day to see something like that in the interactive medium.

So far it looks like a artistic "The Prisoner" enchanted into short music videos Smiley
54  General / Check this out! / Funky Forest Moomah Edition on: February 12, 2010, 07:51:33 AM

I have found it through notgames blog. The thing is impressive in terms of technology and the message (that I personally agree with). Let's show people and learn children that there is a natural world out there that we should take care of as we are devastating it on a daily basis while enjoying our daily ecstasy. And this part is interesting and speaks to me. Nature through technology. Focusing on something forgotten thanks to junk pop culture and media manipulation through the medium that strongly participates in junk pop culture and is exploited as a brainwashing machine.

However, what always strikes me when I see this sort of things is that the experience is so artificial. If I would have kids (or participate in an ecosystem) I would prefer them to enjoy the real experience and teach them about the beauty of natural world. Or perhaps let them spend two hours on watching "Nausicaa" (and at this point I'm kinda... doubting). Nausicaa is j-animation that is a medium just like interactive. What makes the difference for me? I just asked myself. And the only thing that comes to my mind is that Nausicaa has been made with hand-painted celluloids, while interactive ecosystem is a man-and-machine made thing.

Anyway (sorry for digression), I would prefer my child to play in real woods than watch a movie or play interactively in a room.
55  General / Check this out! / Re: Last Egg Alive on: February 12, 2010, 07:42:56 AM
I got to admit that I've played it for a minute or two as it wasn't really anything special. Like a platformer with moving platforms. But the idea of changing environment while _Something_ or _Someone_ can move around or even stand still in one location is very interesting. This _One_ could either move around and explore changing environment or perhaps experience the changes while he stays still and any interaction is purely abstract (with sounds, appearing words, images, etc.).
I'm not sure would I ever like to explore it myself but I definitely see potential in it ^_^
56  General / Introductions / Re: hi on: February 11, 2010, 10:44:32 PM
Welcome, brother Paul. It is most pleasant that you have decided to join our Cult.



Excuse me for a totally content-lacking post but... I could not resist Wink
57  General / Check this out! / First Person Tetris on: February 11, 2010, 10:36:09 PM
For some reason newgrounds is full of interesting stuff today.
This is definitely a game. But a game that does something a bit differently. I like the idea of playing a videogame in a fictional room (a photo). It's odd. And then, I hit Space key and room rotates by 90 degrees. What the hell! This little crazy thinking out of the box is inspiring. Plus, check the night mode. I think it's even more crazy and turns this game totally upside down. Which again, I really like.
58  General / Check this out! / Last Egg Alive on: February 11, 2010, 10:14:42 PM

I'm sort of a... astounded by the potential of this thing here. Take away gameplay, takeaway lose condition, take away anything game nonsensical and there is plenty of space for interesting experience. A character (or a spectator, a group of spectators/characters, or perhaps narrator) stays in the same "room" and the room changes. The environment is unnaturally alive which can be very magical. I don't know, it tickles my imagination Smiley
59  General / Check this out! / The Only Thing I Know on: February 11, 2010, 10:09:31 PM

Very interesting meditation about videogames fan lifestyle. Animation.
60  General / Check this out! / Re: Hardkor 44 on: February 11, 2010, 05:34:25 PM
Unfortunately, I haven't found anything on their website about this project. Unless I've missed something.
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