It’s hard to imagine how complicated games are. There are some 3 dimensions of games which sound like a pretty big deal. Honestly, the only dimension I appreciate is aesthetics. I know that mechanics is basically a base of the game and without dynamics a game would be unplayable but coding and algorithms are just boring. All you see is just pages of letters and numbers but aesthetics! It’s like a personal touch added from a game artist or whoever is responsible for the game to be aesthetically pleasant. That’s where real creativity comes. How to attract a person to play a game? It’s simply magical. Some of the games I found brilliant just because of their aesthetics ( played by myself or watched walkthroughs):
Need for Speed: The Run – one of many parts from Need for Speed racing game series. Dynamics weren’t too good but the scenery! Great rendering and textures!
The last of us: Post-apocalyptic world with mind-blowing narrative and opportunity to discover an unimaginable humanity scenario.
I have to admit, I used to spend a lot of time playing Counter Strike 1.6 which aesthetics well… Better be left unspoken.
In general, I don’t think that video games are bad. Can it become an addiction? Of course. But even the most innocent things can become addictions. For example, I’m addicted to sweets. Can I control that? Sometimes. It’s all about balancing your activities. Have more than one hobby, be able to change your environment from time to time (or consume something else than sweets).
Violence in video games? Let it be! There are tons of movies portraying violence, there’s horror genre and books are no exception. For example 1984 by George Orwell. A big chunk of the book was only description of human torture. But after all, we are taught to learn from books, take something meaningful from them. Why can’t we do same with video games? I think violent games don’t affect human behavior. If a person is violent, it’s because of environment surrounding him or the person is naturally a bit violent. The only way I understand why games could make a person emotional (but still not violent) is only because they tend to cause adrenaline and addiction. But what doesn’t?
Ahh, I can finally give a legitimate proof about seriousness of video games to my family when I’m told to grow up and stop playing games! Here are my thoughts which randomly popped up in my mind.
It’s not hard to understand video games success when today’s society is living a digital life. One of the main activities to do when you’re bored is surf the Internet, scroll around social media and play games. Games are slowly becoming not for children only. Even though history claims that there were attempts to use video games as military practice tool, but until this day the thought of video game stays same, that it’s childish to play games. I can’t believe how this huge industry, numbers of specialists working on not slightest details and creating meaningful messages can be still considered children games. Society needs to admit that playing became almost a lifestyle and a real activity.
The evolution of video games is fascinating. From couple of moving shapes imitating tennis to stunning graphics and deep storytelling. I can’t wait to see how upcoming 5-10 years will affect video games and their quality which is already beating all the records.
Anyways, it’s unfortunate to see how games industry has no difference comparing with other businesses and becomes uncontrollably greedy. Such as AAA companies. They are powerful and have all the resources to creative amazing games but something is stopping them. They find a gold mine in specific area and keep producing as much as it’s possible, gradually losing value, quality and originality until it is drained completely. On the other hand, There’s still hope for indie game developers but they often don’t have resources to produce all 3 game dimensions (mechanics, dynamics, aesthetics) perfectly.
…A game is a system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. -Salen & Zimmerman, Rules of Play (Can a word ‘rules’ not be used in definition of games? Games are fun, rules are not!)
Digital era is rapidly expanding. People use Internet for anything one can imagine. We communicate, sell and buy, broaden our knowledge, entertain ourselves and much more with the help of virtual world. As this virtual world consists of different individuals how do they represent themselves? The internet is a mysterious place full of various characters. People can become anyone they want without showing their true identity to others. Some stick to their names, others create new nicknames and take innocent pictures. It might seem as a fun and playful thing but it’s certainly not. In my opinion, Internet is a perfect tool for strange people who tend to impersonate, act or insult without any control. They feel untouchable online. The digital environment becomes dangerous and requires caution for sure. What really bugs me is that the Internet is still pretty new invention and many wrong actions happening aren’t taken seriously. Everyone do whatever or be whoever they want without thinking about other people, their feelings, cultural differences and consequences of actions. On the other hand, harmless self-representation is perfectly alright and people have a right not to reveal who they truly are for several reasons, such as bullies or real life threats.
I mainly wrote about negative things but I can also appreciate digital life for it’s creativity freedom. If self-representation is done right, doesn’t cause harm or intrude anyone, I believe, it can become a very specific art form. People all around the world create something fresh daily and most importantly have an option to share online with others. It takes a lot of effort to represent yourself the way you want people to see you. Make up, specific poses, glam, photo retouch can generate a whole new image of oneself. That is already in a way art. Be the best version of yourself. But it has it’s downsides. I feel that perfect representation builds audience’s high expectations which means that high standards must be kept constantly, both online and real world. Because if expectations aren’t fulfilled, there will be unsatisfied audience causing more Internet drama, exhaustion and time consumption. Of course, then appears questions like, how fake is online world? What is truth? Who should people believe?
The role of self-representation is important because nowadays we live in two worlds. Reality and online world. In reality we already have our identities. People see us the way we are, we can’t hide imperfections. Online world is digital, it’s not real but it’s new. It’s like a blank notebook page ready to be filled with all kind of stuff. Like a second chance to create whole new you. And as both worlds we live in are unfortunately, equally important today, self-representation also becomes important in digital life.
Before this week the idea of digital art was extremely simplified for me. When someone mentioned DA the first thing which popped up in my mind used to be a drawing, a sketch or a manipulation made with the help of specific software like Photoshop, Illustrator, maybe 3ds Max. That’s it. I had zero understanding how broad this area is. Now it makes perfect sense for me that animations, installations, gifs, memes etc. are considered digital art.
The most memorable aspect of this week was Nancy Burson’s morphing technology. What I find the most fascinating is not the way it is practically used in law-enforcement agencies to identify specific people but the message created in her works Beauty Composites. Perfectly defined ideals from pictures of celebrities lets you see society’s beauty standards, the way tastes shape with a cost of losing individuality and becoming one of many just to fit the frame. What’s also interesting is that beauty cult is existing for a long time already. It seems that it should be more relevant nowadays with perfect selfie culture but such creative composites carrying powerful meanings all the way from XX century is completely insane. But the question I’m really intrigued about is, what’s next? Will we gradually turn into similar dolls by following new beauty standards and wearing new masks on the old ones? Will individuality become extinct?
The meme making part was really enjoyable. I’ve never made one on my own before but popular meme pages are opened in my browser daily.
One possibly rainy spring day I was looking for courses I could choose and study in a foreign country. Digital Genres you say? The name sounds quite interesting. Electronic literature included? Hmm… Not my thing. Video games? I used to enjoy games. Digital Art? Okay, this is something what I might do in the future. As much as the title intrigued me I was convinced that this class would consist of “dry” theory and several essays for homework. I didn’t have much choice and thought I would need to survive through this. Fortunately, the class turned out to be completely opposite. Memes, gifs, social media? I consume those daily!
Now seriously, I have a habit to scroll through Facebook, Instagram or Youtube. But, I need to develop a new habit – Twitter. Which means I haven’t contributed yet but I strongly believe it will soon enough become as important as a piece of chocolate.
Several random thoughts about class:
The amount of information. I loved that after class my head wasn’t stuffed with unnecessary information. Perfect balance between information and time.
The class is personalized. This fact makes me happy and kind of special. It’s great to have such a dedicated lecturer who does more than just gather information and put it into blank slides.
Ahoy, I’m Ieva and I’m odd. It happens… But I’m alright! It helps me to survive a cloudy day!