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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. 02 Nov '13 02:57 / 4 edits
    I scoffed at this idea for a long time, having stopped playing games around age 16-18 after spending a good chunk of my childhood playing them. What pretentious, puffed-up twaddle, I thought. Gaming culture as I saw it then was irresponsible, dominated by spoilt, increasingly yobbish boys and a groupd of older, somewhat dodgy chancers, with a thin-lipped technical elite as unfeeling as arthropods pulling all the strings of the industry and reaping huge financial gain and power. Recently I've been living alone and have taken to gaming as a way of keeping life interesting and balancing out the long stretches of reading and watching news with some light relief.

    I chanced on a game called Bioshock a while ago, which is a first-person perspective adventure with strong elements of unrelenting, genuinely scary horror and bloody violence. The attention to detail in the graphics, storytelling, general atmosphere and sound design is absolutely breathtaking. The game really does create an all-enveloping world that is enriching despite its terrifying aspect. Playing it has helped me to start to conquer my own generalised fears, possibly because, in the game, I find myself exposed to dreadful situations and extreme violence, yet am simultaneously entertained by the sheer brilliance of imagination put into the game and, importantly, I feel the safety of the familiar surroundings of my living room around me, so my conscious mind knows I am voluntarily choosing to succumb to the illusion of the game world. I can withdraw at any time, yet when I do, sometimes after an hour or more, I feel as if I have experienced something significant—come through a trial—and have become stronger as a result.

    There are three games in the series now. I have the first one and it will barely play smoothly on my relatively high-powered Mac, so it will probably be some time before I get to play the others, but I'm hugely impressed with this experience. This is storytelling in an incredibly innovative way, and while I will always value quiet reading of well-written prose and poetry, I can't think of anything else to describe this game other than as art.

    I have a few other games I consider art, or at least artistic, Portal being one, and in a different way, World of Goo being a third.

    What games do you consider art, and what merely good games, or do you feel that the term art should only be applied to 'traditional' artistic endeavours (whatever they may be)?
  2. Standard member Grampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    02 Nov '13 05:34 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason

    I scoffed at this idea for a long time, having stopped playing games around age 16-18 after spending a good chunk of my childhood playing them. What pretentious, puffed-up twaddle, I thought. Gaming culture as I saw it then was irresponsible, dominated by spoilt, increasingly yobbish boys and a groupd of older, somewhat dodgy chancers, with a thin- ...[text shortened]... the term art should only be applied to 'traditional' artistic endeavours (whatever they may be)?
    The vicarious enjoyment watching/listening to my children and grandchildren playing them established their entertainment (and maybe educational/competitive) value in my mind years ago. Hasn't the gratuitous violence increased in recent years?
  3. 02 Nov '13 11:32
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Hasn't the gratuitous violence increased in recent years?m
    I have no idea. I think certain people who specialise in whipping up moral outrage would like us to believe that, but there are plenty of non-violent games, probably a far greater proportion than in the 80s and 90s when I was growing up. Not to say gratuitous violence in games (or films and even books) isn't concerning to me, but I'm not sure if scientific studies have proven links to real world violence, either reductions or increases, or brain changes. They may have, but I'm only a school-level scientist and probably wouldn't fully understand any findings with my current understanding.

    I'd be more concerned if people who are already violent are using computer games to get better at being violent, but that's a separate question.
  4. 02 Nov '13 18:52 / 1 edit
    Assassin's creed II is a brilliant game where action, an engaging story and history (particulary art and religion, all with a pinch of salt) come together beautifully. Unfortunately, with every new game that has come out in the AC series so far, the quality - particulary storywise - has dropped significantly. Although the newest one I've started playing recently (Asssassin's Creed IV: Black Flag) seems to be a bit better than part III.

    These are the games that have come out so far:

    Assassin's Creed
    Assassin's Creed II
    Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
    Assassin's Creed: Revelations
    Assassin's Creed III
    Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

    All are somewhat connected to each other. Parts II, Brotherhood and Revelations form a kind of trilogy.

    If you're interested I'd recommend that you read on Wikipedia how the story unfolds in the first game and then play part II. The first game isn't that good (although some people disagree) but it's good the know the general storyline before starting with part II.

    EDIT: Yes, part II I definitly consider art.
  5. 02 Nov '13 19:25
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    Assassin's creed II is a brilliant game where action, an engaging story and history (particulary art and religion, all with a pinch of salt) come together beautifully. Unfortunately, with every new game that has come out in the AC series so far, the quality - particulary storywise - has dropped significantly. Although the newest one I've started playi ...[text shortened]... general storyline before starting with part II.

    EDIT: Yes, part II I definitly consider art.
    I just looked at how many different ways to buy Assassin's Creed there are in the Steam store. It's quite a franchise, with bewildering options. Sadly my Mac doesn't meet the minimum requirements for Assassin's Creed 2 (and the first game was never released on the Mac).

    I spent a Christmas morning watching someone play (I think) the first game on a games console, and while it looked stunning graphically, the gameplay looked a bit dull to me. The player was just wandering around Florence (or wherever) getting into fights and the occasional set piece, and there seemed to be some kind of point to it but I couldn't work out what it was, and was trying to talk politely with the other people in the room anyway.

    Thanks for the tip as to the best version, I'll certainly have a quick try-out of Assassin's Creed II if I get the chance. Maybe I'll be instantly hooked. I'll skip the Wikipedia article until that time.
  6. 02 Nov '13 20:00
    It's been a while since I played it, but I think it takes a while for the game to really get started. There's quite a lot of introduction and how-to-do-this-and-that. So try to get well past that point to really get into the game.

    Also, Red Dead Redemption is great - but completely different from AC. Unfortunately, it's only available on PS3 and Xbox.

    Lastly, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City are also well worth checking out. I wouldn't call them art, though. Just great entertainment.
  7. 02 Nov '13 20:48
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    It's been a while since I played it, but I think it takes a while for the game to really get started. There's quite a lot of introduction and how-to-do-this-and-that. So try to get well past that point to really get into the game.

    Also, Red Dead Redemption is great - but completely different from AC. Unfortunately, it's only available on PS3 and Xb ...[text shortened]... ty are also well worth checking out. I wouldn't call them art, though. Just great entertainment.
    I've just noticed AC 1 will run on Windows on my Mac if I use Boot Camp. I'll keep an eye out for sale pricing. At least playing that will give me a flavour of the AC experience.
  8. 02 Nov '13 21:06
    You should try Fallout: New Vegas. It has a brilliant storyline.
  9. 02 Nov '13 22:13
    Hmm... probably shouldn't follow this thread too closely. Too many hours I've already waisted on videogames as it is...

    Spend almost 120 hrs. on GTA 5 for crying out loud :-)
  10. Subscriber Suzianne
    Misfit Queen
    02 Nov '13 23:14
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    I scoffed at this idea for a long time, having stopped playing games around age 16-18 after spending a good chunk of my childhood playing them. What pretentious, puffed-up twaddle, I thought. Gaming culture as I saw it then was irresponsible, dominated by spoilt, increasingly yobbish boys and a groupd of older, somewhat dodgy chancers, with a thin-li ...[text shortened]... the term art should only be applied to 'traditional' artistic endeavours (whatever they may be)?
    I chanced on a game called Bioshock a while ago, which is a first-person perspective adventure with strong elements of unrelenting, genuinely scary horror and bloody violence. The attention to detail in the graphics, storytelling, general atmosphere and sound design is absolutely breathtaking. The game really does create an all-enveloping world that is enriching despite its terrifying aspect. Playing it has helped me to start to conquer my own generalised fears, possibly because, in the game, I find myself exposed to dreadful situations and extreme violence, yet am simultaneously entertained by the sheer brilliance of imagination put into the game and, importantly, I feel the safety of the familiar surroundings of my living room around me, so my conscious mind knows I am voluntarily choosing to succumb to the illusion of the game world. I can withdraw at any time, yet when I do, sometimes after an hour or more, I feel as if I have experienced something significant—come through a trial—and have become stronger as a result.
    I felt similarly about the Half Life series. Parts of that game scared the bejesus out of me, but at the end, I felt like I had conquered some remaining teen fears I had.
  11. Subscriber Suzianne
    Misfit Queen
    02 Nov '13 23:17
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    I just looked at how many different ways to buy Assassin's Creed there are in the Steam store. It's quite a franchise, with bewildering options. Sadly my Mac doesn't meet the minimum requirements for Assassin's Creed 2 (and the first game was never released on the Mac).

    I spent a Christmas morning watching someone play (I think) the first game on ...[text shortened]... get the chance. Maybe I'll be instantly hooked. I'll skip the Wikipedia article until that time.
    Assassin's Creed is on Steam? I will have to check it out then. It's been a while since I've been on Steam, though.
  12. 03 Nov '13 01:13 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    [quote]I chanced on a game called Bioshock a while ago, which is a first-person perspective adventure with strong elements of unrelenting, genuinely scary horror and bloody violence. The attention to detail in the graphics, storytelling, general atmosphere and sound design is absolutely breathtaking. The game really does create an all-enveloping world that ...[text shortened]... bejesus out of me, but at the end, I felt like I had conquered some remaining teen fears I had.
    I've only just begun with Half Life, but it's regarded as possibly the best game ever so I'm sure I'll get a lot out of it. I bought the whole box set for some very low price. What about non-first person/third person 3D-world games? I think that general category maybe dominates too much, stifling wider innovation.
  13. Standard member karoly aczel
    the Devil himself
    20 Nov '13 20:56
    Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends has great looking big baddies in them, and the whole game is extremely well crafted. Very artistic.
  14. 08 Dec '13 16:56
    Playing "The Last Of Us" right now. Storywise not terribly original (apocalyptic earth/zombies (sort of)) but in terms of character development one of the best games ever. It's the first time I've ever felt an emotional connection to a game character and the first time that some of the things that happen to the characters have effected me emotionally. Very intense.

    Also, by far the most difficult game I've ever played. You have the option of playing easy, normal, hard or survivor. I chose normal and already I've died an extraordinary amount of times. I dread to think what hard or let alone survivor is like.
  15. 08 Dec '13 19:46
    I've been playing Braid a little. It doesn't feel like art in an intensely involving or frightening way, but in a gentler way it's pretty artistic. Lots of imagination and originality in the presentation, and the whole thing feels like an attractive painting.