Week 12 — Audiences and Experiences

Game Aesthetics How videogames are transforming contemporary art, by Domenico Quaranta

I found this text really nice to read, it was written in an interesting and comprehensive format and the author's ideas were clear. I liked how he approached the topic and I found the examples provided (e.g. Super Mario or Lara Croft) helped me understand how videogames are, more than transforming, “replacing” some artistic elements’ and figures’ positions in the world of art. I find it important to think about the most recent examples of successful videogames, like Minecraft or Fortnite, that have taken the gaming world by storm but, from my point of view, did (and I say did because they are not unknown or unexplored) not shape the contemporary art as the previous example did. However, I believe there are two possible explanations for it: one, they are “too young” to be considered as artistic statements, or two, art has been present in the form of merchandising and similar products, which I personally do not see as art.

Critical Play : Radical Game Design, chapters 6 and 7, by Mary Flanagan

After skimming through this long reading, I have decided to highlight the parts of it I found the most interesting. The first one was in chapter 6 and it is called “Offline Locational Gaming”. It was surprising to read this part and discover the interesting games that were created and how they were governed by the literal real-world space. I enjoyed the Transition Algorithm by Suyin Looui, 2006, which consisted of taking a photo of a physical change from a neighbourhood and taking home a souvenir that would represent that change taking place in the neighbourhood. I perceived this as something essential for my game which is to have a clear idea of the surroundings and the behaviours of the surrounding people which have to be realistic and accurate, as well as the ideas of focal points in the scene which are subject to changes. The second part I felt was very interesting was in chapter 7 and which is called “Games that Played Themselves”, where the author analyses some of Stern’s games. I feel like Stern really managed to cross one of the boundaries between games and reality and managed to immerse the player into the game in different ways from the conventional approaches, and a great example of that is “Cockfight Arena” and the feathers suits. I see this as a mildly revolutionary on the topic, which means that it isn’t in itself an approach that revolutionised the way things are done, but the boldness and difference it has helped understand that are new ways to incorporate the player into the game, enhancing immersion (think of it as the father of the haptic suits for chicken games…).

The Video Game Theory Reader 2, chapter 5, by Bernard Perron , and Mark J. P. Wolf

I found this reading super interesting as it was about something I find very important in video games and super difficult to accurately design/produce: emotions. I felt it was very informative in letting the reader know about the different methods to achieve certain emotions and the “variables that affect intensities of emotions”, a part of the chapter I enjoyed very much as it shows a very “tangible” way of dealing with and explaining the different variables that we as designers and developers can use in the game to create help emulate emotions. The sections where the author used specific games as examples for different emotions like virtuosity, nurturing, sociality, and suffering through loss were very fun to read and written comprehensively.

SOMETHING SOMETHING SOUP SOMETHING

I found this short game quite enjoyable and fun. My outcome was something like “soup can be eaten with any utensils, on any type of recipient, and must only contain edible ingredients”. The game really puts into perspective our opinion about what is and what isn’t soup and that can be reflected in other moral choices in our life regarding what is correct or not. The duality in several aspects of what makes a soup soup (e.g. recipient, ingredients, etc.) is a metaphor for the different opinions people can have on several subjects, and here is simply shown in a common dish everybody knows: soup.

SNAKEISM

I loved this game. It was so well designed and the brilliant mind of the developer really captured every single -ism in the right way. My favourite ones were (in order of appearance):

Capitalism, a great critique on the capitalistic society

Determinism, very easy to play and it surely was determined

Existentialism, which was fun for perpetuating the snake’s existence

Idealism, perfect, my absolute favourite and how I would want my life to be, just imagining you are doing things, and that is it, no worries, no failure, all in your imagination.

Narcissism, second place for me, and I sent him the email.

Pessimism, a snaky representation of life :’)

Positivism, a very well-constructed message about not seeing the full picture in cases where sometimes we are required some insight into our own thoughts and concerns

Romanticism, a very dramatic and funny depiction of the snake game

The Graveyard, by Tale of Tales

This short artistic game really “messes” with your emotions. It puts the player in the uncomfortable position of having to experience the old lady’s emotions to the sound of a depressing song. I watched both endings and it was sad to see the old lady passing away, though the meaning behind the game, which I think has to do with the lack of will to live some old people have and their willingness to let “fate” and boredom take them to the grave (hence the graveyard), was passed successfully.