Gamers Can Read #2

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Prans, Jan 25, 2016.

Jan 25, 2016

Gamers Can Read #2 by Prans at 11:00 PM (3,199 Views / 1 Likes) 23 replies

  1. Prans
    OP

    Reporter Prans Geek, gamer, human

    pip
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Messages:
    651
    Location:
    There itself.
    Country:
    Mauritius
    gbatemp_gamers_can_read.jpg

    In this issue of Gamers Can Read, we’ll take a look at The State of Play: Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture which consists of a collection of essays from 16 prominent figures in the video game world. It was released in October 2015, edited by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson and published by Seven Stories Press, who I’ll have to thank for making this review possible.

    rsz_stateofplay_coverfront_1.jpg
    The State of Play starts off with an introduction by the editors who point to post-escapism in video games, how video game critics shifted from being graphics/mechanic focused to commenting on the deeper, more thought-provoking aspects that video games nowadays address and also the backlash against the progressive maturation of video game culture that we’ve witnessed. From there, Goldberg and Larsson set the scene of what will be discussed by the contributors.

    Each contributor develops on an aspect pertaining to video game that they deem worthy of discussion. However, there is no specific unifying theme that binds each successive chapter. At best it feels like a logical flow of ideas around related topics with different approaches but at worst it gives the impression of a disorganised collection of writings that bear the word video games as the only common feature. Nevertheless, all chapters share the same goal, the one stated in the very title of the book and each contributor does a good job at that.

    The book embraces the different writing styles of each contributor, from Anna Anthropy’s interesting "Choose Your Own Adventure" style to cheeky letters between Cara Ellison and Brendan Keogh. It makes a captivating read as each contributor shares their own experiences with video games, be it how they grew up with them, how they helped shape their career or allowed them to express themselves.The first two chapters give an insight as to how video games impact contemporary literature. Leigh Alexander’s Advent chapter gives an insight as to how biographies and narrative books will inevitably include gaming material with personal and intimate accounts about the of role video games in someone’s childhood and memories. Then there’s Ian Shanahan’s anecdotal piece, Bow Nigger, that sprouted the New Games Journalism writing style which is the norm today in video game journalism. Zoe Quinn’s input, written in the second person, aims to put the reader in her position as she shares how making Depression Quest allowed her to express herself, pass on her feelings and at the same time educate others about a serious condition like depression. In so doing, she showed that games can be informative and do not necessarily have to be fun. merritt kopas depicts games as a way to bring queer sexual content to the foreground, make it less taboo, more acceptable in our so-called modern age. Such articles allow the reader to see how video games have and will influence popular culture and vice versa.

    However, to most people who are in touch with video game culture, some of the articles might sound all too familiar. In particular the Gamergate controversy expanded by four of the contributors. Most of us are already familiar with Zoe Quinn's and Anita Sarkeesian's ordeal in that matter and the origin of the ensuing controversy as depicted by Dan Golding. These articles nevertheless serve as a reminder that the gaming community as a whole has yet to fully mature if part of the community fails to accept and adapt to change in the field as it broadens every year. As Sarkeesian and Cross put it: “If gaming can change the world, it will do so as a sort of moral playground for relearning how to be human in a virtual universe."

    Some contributors also touch on aspects that many of us fail to notice or do not give a second thought about. Evan Narcisse points out to the lack of proper representation of black people in video games either aesthetically, as he illustrates with the natural hairstyle, or in respect to their character. For long, games with black protagonists or companions “have relied on tropes and stereotypes that are embarrassingly retrograde.” He further adds that “one of those shortcomings (of video games) is the lack of the diversity of the people who are making and are portrayed in video games.” However he concedes that there has been progress as of late, with great examples being Assassin’s Creed and The Walking Dead that tackle the issue of stereotypes and puts the player in charge of a black protagonist. As Evan puts it: “(The characters) are black but not centered by any definition of blackness.” Continuing on stereotypes in video games, Hussein Ibrahim discusses about the depiction of the typical Middle Eastern terrorist from the point of view of someone from that region and what video games portray incorrectly about the culture and why it is wrong for the player. An important conclusion that can be made from these two articles alone is that if video games are to represent creative art, there is still room for growth; there is a need to portray color not only as race, more of an aesthetic feature and allow the players to make their own conclusions. As for David Johnston, the creator of two of the most played online maps (de_dust and de_dust2), he gives first-hand account on level design, its inspirations and importance. His essay really puts in light the minutiae of video game design that many take for granted but which are explicitly introduced by level designers for a purpose. Those inputs by the contributors make the book all the more captivating and strengthens the notion that there is a lot more to video games than meets the eye.

    There’s a lot going on in video games right now. It’s more than just a hobby and far from being a ‘waste of time’. As gamers we know this all too well. This book emphasises this point. A lot of what is found in the book has already been discussed online or is obvious to gamers. However it might not be the case for people not in touch with video game culture. For the latter, The State of Play makes a good introduction to where video games stand today. However, with the plethora of experts within the video game community it boasts, more would be expected and more could be delivered.

    About "Gamers Can Read"
     
    chavosaur likes this.


  2. Osga21

    Member Osga21 King Of All Cosmos

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    The Cosmos
    Country:
    Portugal
    Zoe Quinn & Anita Sarkeesian... I'm going to judge this book by it's cover and say it's feminist bullcrap. I'm sorry, but everything that comes out of those women's mouths is pure unadulterated idiocy, usually attacking the male audience just for the sake of it. When someone says they're not a gamer and then goes on to contribute to a book about gaming, it probably says a lot about that book. Zoe Quinn is also a bloody idiot who was surprised when people were not ok with her sleeping with editors in exchange for good reviews on her mediocre game.
     
    vayanui8, anhminh, ody81 and 3 others like this.
  3. Margen67

    Banned Margen67 Dirty entited pirate

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2014
    Messages:
    1,100
    Country:
    United States
     
    Sirius64, tbb043 and Osga21 like this.
  4. ric.

    Member ric. Drivin' to meme country

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Messages:
    792
    Country:
    Peru
    Don't forget the famous Anna Anthropy, whose contributions to gaming include Atari 2600-tier games starring BDSM obsessed lesbians, games in .pdf format, and revolutionary 5-minute Twine "experiences".
     
  5. osaka35

    Member osaka35 Sleepy

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,571
    Location:
    Silent Hill
    Country:
    United States
    Agreed. I have no patience for people who use people's desire for equality to rile up hate in order to make a profit. To fathom that people would take these two people seriously after bothering to listen to them is frightening.
     
    anhminh, Sirius64 and tbb043 like this.
  6. zepdos

    Newcomer zepdos Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Country:
    United States
    If you want to read a great book on game design, Game Design Companion: A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4 by Daniel Johnson is a fantastic read.
     
    Prans likes this.
  7. Prans
    OP

    Reporter Prans Geek, gamer, human

    pip
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Messages:
    651
    Location:
    There itself.
    Country:
    Mauritius
    Well the book is not just about feminism in video games, although as I stated, some of the articles will be familiar to a lot of us who have been in touch with the video game culture lately, whence we can make our own conclusions.

    The book does have some interesting reads like the misinterpretation of some cultures and David Johnston's essay on level design. Ola Wikander also writes an interesting piece on the influence of Western religions on Japanese video games.
     
    osaka35 likes this.
  8. Sirius64

    Newcomer Sirius64 Advanced Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    80
    Country:
    United States
    Time to meaningless postmodernist jargon: Fifteen words. What in the blue blazes is "Post-escapism"? The closest thing to an answer Google can give me is a Facebook post by Seven Stories Press, linking to a BoingBoing article with no answers.

    Funny how that works out.

    You mean like when reviewers started taking points off of game review scores for perceived "misogyny", regardless of the game's quality?
    We're in for a ride.

    "Progressive maturation."
    I typically see this phrase thrown around when a game journo or "Culture critic" utterly shits their bed, after the public points it out, and they start throwing a tantrum over their criticism.
    "You just don't 'Get it'." "You're not a forward-thinker, like me." "It's not nonsense I'm spewing, you just aren't mature enough to understand it."
    On, and on, and on...

    I can't envision an undeserved backlash, at this point.

    So, wait, which is it? Is the unifying theme not "Video games"?
    Maybe it's the authors' shared habit of cronyism, navel-gazing, and self-importance.

    Much to the chagrin of people interested in video games and journalism, but not dramatic retellings of people playing video games.

    And if Depression Quest is anything to go off of, they don't necessarily need to be accurate or informative, either.
    Or "Games".

    Yep.

    "Expanded"? Expounded? Experienced, maybe?

    I am not familiar with the controversy and its origin "as depicted by Dan Golding", but I am familiar with the reality of them.
    Assuming, of course, that the "ordeal" you're referring to was that time a bunch of Twitter users said mean things to a couple of rich white women who'd made careers out of slandering those people (:(), who were unanimously protected by the gaming press from any criticism, who then went on to present to the United Nations that women simply can't handle online criticism, that online criticism was comparable to actual physical assault, and that the internet should only be accessible to people who's opinions the government approves of for the sake of their protection.

    Yes, an ordeal, but not for those two, by those two.

    Baby Jesus, there it is.

    Swallow our horseshit, or you aren't mature. Every time, I swear. Textbook. I'm getting light headed.

    Does this mean bleeding anything? Video games have already changed the world, by their very nature, and they didn't need political manipulators to do it.

    I'll touch on this. I'll even concede the point that there aren't many black protagonists, or even black characters. I'll also point out that people like the authors featured in this book make putting anyone of any sort of ethnic minority background into a game a bomb waiting to go off. Try to make a black character? It's racist. Dodge that bullet by not making a black character? Racist.
    Even the "Good" examples you've given have been accused of racism. There's no win condition, here.
    Case in point: This very quote. Go ahead and try to define "Blackness" for me, without being condescending, insensitive, or racist. I'll wait.

    I'll be waiting 'til the end of fucking time.


    War in fiction will never be correct. It will always be dramatized. The villain will be an evil caricature. It's stupid, but humanity's done it for as long as war and communication have existed. It's not indicative of some great problem with video games or their players.

    Games made now about war now, will be about the current war. The west is fighting the east. The villain will be from the east, and they will not be an actual human.
    Are we surprised? Offended, maybe?

    "if video games are to represent creative art"
    What, you mean exclusively? Why on Earth would they? And if not, why even bring it up? Video games already are creative art.
    Why is the portrayal of race being described as a problem for video games? If it's a problem, it's a problem with people, and as such, art.
    It seems silly to say that games can't be art if they're racist when games are already art, and art is already racist.
    Ah, well.

    Wait, they actually talk about video games in this book?

    Everything you've told me up to this point has brought me to the opposite conclusion.

    Agreed.
     
    Last edited by Sirius64, Jan 28, 2016
  9. Osga21

    Member Osga21 King Of All Cosmos

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    The Cosmos
    Country:
    Portugal
    I just noticed that on that post it says
    Wait... I thought I played games because they were fun, but turns out, no, I play games because I want to be informed...
     
    anhminh and Sirius64 like this.
  10. Prans
    OP

    Reporter Prans Geek, gamer, human

    pip
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Messages:
    651
    Location:
    There itself.
    Country:
    Mauritius
    Post-escapism here refers to the way that video games are no longer considered as a mere distraction or hobby.


    If you read the book, you cannot help but notice the lack of flow from one aspect to another.

    The issue of Gamergate is discussed in detail by 4 of the contributors which might feel to some readers excessive due to the fact that they are already familiar with the issue.


    Well it's all about the Gamergate issue and since you're familiar with them, Dan Golding writes about its origin and the subsequent events.


    As Evan wrote, "one of those shortcomings (of video games) is the lack of the diversity of the people who are making and are portrayed in video games.” I doubt if a black game developer portrays a black protagonist in his own way we'd call him racist.

    I can only assume "blackness" here refers to the way black people identify themselves.

    Of course not exclusively. But if after all those years of gaming some gamers can't truly identify or relate themselves to video games, then there is room for progress.


    As I wrote, "A lot of what is found in the book has already been discussed online or is obvious to gamers." Not everything. The Gamergate portion has been discussed at length before all over the gaming community, Anna Anthropy's story is also known by many and Evan Narcisse has wrote before on a related issue before on Kotaku.

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    The full quote should be:

    Games do not have to be informative but can be a good medium to transfer a message while being fun or not. Of course most games are meant to be fun. It's up to you to choose what to make of games and which genre to play, even though games being fun and informative can be juxtaposed.
     
  11. Sirius64

    Newcomer Sirius64 Advanced Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    80
    Country:
    United States
    I'd disagree with this assessment.

    My mistake. This usage is uncommon in the way you've worded it, so I assumed it was a typo.

    I only brought it up because I doubt the accuracy of Golding's account, given what I know of his book.
    I.E., I suspect that he's full of shit.

    Funny, I can't seem to remember a black character which hasn't been called racist, regardless of who wrote them. I'd bet that if a white author portrayed that same character in that same way, they'd be called racist.

    The idea that only authors of one race, culture, or skin tone can write characters of that race, culture, or skin tone is in itself idiotic to begin with. And, *cough*, yeah, racist.

    So, Narcisse's argument is that black characters are racist because of how they identify themselves?
    Please, expound on this.

    I thought not, I was pointing out how silly the statement is either way.

    Out of context, this sounds ridiculous, but I'll assume that we're still talking about realistic protagonists. In which case, this still sounds ridiculous to me.
    I don't think them necessary.
    Most of my favorite games have completely unrealistic cartoon characters as protagonists, and when they're not unrealistic cartoons, they tend to be Japanese. I am neither a cartoon nor Japanese, but I love these games to death.

    The idea that a character needs to be a realistic extension of myself or my race for the game to be something I love completely is one of those "New Journalism" ideas that I've never been able to wrap my head around.

    This doesn't strike me as being particularly relevant to what you're replying to.
    You said that this book "makes a good introduction to where video games stand today" "for people not in touch with video game culture."
    I completely disagree.

    His point is that games which are only informative, but not fun, tend not to be successful outside of journo or political circles. In other words, that games which aren't meant to be "Played" are not popular with people who "Play" "Games". Mine is that Depression Quest is neither fun nor informative.

    People are free to make whatever they like, but whether what they make is successful or liked is not something the author is entitled to, just by making it.
     
    Last edited by Sirius64, Jan 29, 2016
  12. anhminh

    Member anhminh Pirate since 2010

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Messages:
    551
    Country:
    Vietnam
    Video game used to be about fun and relaxing.

    Now video game is about woman abusive, violence, sexual harassment and racist.

    What had went wrong?
     
    Sirius64 and osaka35 like this.
  13. zepdos

    Newcomer zepdos Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Country:
    United States

    Videogames got popular. Search your heart, you know it to be true.
     
    Prans and Sirius64 like this.
  14. osaka35

    Member osaka35 Sleepy

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,571
    Location:
    Silent Hill
    Country:
    United States
    Indeed. And with that popularity came those who saw an opportunity to create their fame and fortune through slander and exploitation. Always more likely to bring out the charlatans.
     
    Sirius64 likes this.
  15. Sirius64

    Newcomer Sirius64 Advanced Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    80
    Country:
    United States
    I miss the days when gamers were occult worshippers and school shooters. Ah, nostalgia...
     
    osaka35 likes this.
  16. anhminh

    Member anhminh Pirate since 2010

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Messages:
    551
    Country:
    Vietnam
    In my day, gamer are two kid sit in front of TV playing Contra and use Konami code.

    No one care if it was violent or offensive, we just shoot thought those nigga and have fun.
     
    Last edited by anhminh, Jan 31, 2016
    Prans and Sirius64 like this.
  17. Lucifer666

    Member Lucifer666 all the world needs is me

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,419
    Location:
    The Fourth Dimension
    Country:
    Antarctica
    I agree about Anita but WTF did you just say about Zoe lmao
     
  18. grossaffe

    Member grossaffe GBAtemp Addict

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    2,535
    Country:
    United States
    I guess Sirius covered most of what I had to say.
     
  19. Osga21

    Member Osga21 King Of All Cosmos

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    The Cosmos
    Country:
    Portugal
    Did you not hear about the whole gamergate debacle?
     
  20. Lucifer666

    Member Lucifer666 all the world needs is me

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,419
    Location:
    The Fourth Dimension
    Country:
    Antarctica
    That's the point, I did, but I don't think you did.

    Can people stop accusing Zoe Quinn of crud she didn't do, Grayson never reviewed her game. Also stop generalising, she didn't "sleep with editors", she slept with one guy

    GG is less about "stopping corruption in the gaming industry" and is more about shaming women out of the field. It's appalling. Also, "feminist bullcrap" isn't a thing, and I'm beyond disappointed that there are still people who think men are inherently better than women

    also to pre-but your likely response of "actually I'm an egalitarian/believe in equality/anything to that effect", that's literally what feminism is, and you've rejected it. probably because the movement is dominated by women (go figure) (also thats messed up on several levels)
     

Share This Page