(4) The fourth is art. This includes attempts to explore oneself and one's place in humanity. Since the second half of the 20th century many of these forms do not focus on "story" - abstract art, films like the Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney, etc. When people begin making video games that aren't intended for mass audiences but are personal explorations and experiments with the medium then we will see more video games intended to be "art."

Each of these domains has exemplars and iconic masters - excellence and high quality can be found in all 4 domains - it is not a hierarchy. Like photography and film, video games will eventually have exemplars in all 4 domains even though they started as forms of (3) visual culture created by designers (2).

Read more at http://andDESIGNmagazine.blogspot.com

- MartinRayala

***

In response to "To Die at the Hands of Your Own Creation" from The Escapist forums:
Brilliant! Having followed Remedy's work much of my life, I'm pleased to see their style is still very much intact. Ever since Death Rally in 1996, their creations have all had a metalayer or three stacked on on top of otherwise simply enjoyable narratives and gaming experiences.

- YanRuo

Excellent work. Alan Wake, for all its shortcomings, is a game that deserves this sort of scrutiny. I'm not sure if that is what the work is intended to be, every interpretation is valid, and yours is great and wonderfully woven together.

The bit about the Dark Presence being a force of uncreativity was specially striking to me. I noticed that the game sets the Dark Presence as being a sinister, evil intelligence, but in practice it is really dumb and all it does to try to stop wake is to send people to hit him with shovels and throw barrels at him. That is, the Dark Presence is pretty dumb. I honestly wondered if the game designers had designed it to be that way or if they just had failed to realize how dumb their big villain was; your analysis gives me hope for the former.

I could write an entire article on theories on Alan Wake, but one thing that I thought was interesting was how the manuscripts were supposed to be the entirety of the Deliverance book, but they were of course small, self-contained bits of exposition. I wonder if it would be possible to write an entire, novel-lenght book made entirely of two-paragraph koan-style tidbits. If I do I'll name it Deliverance.

maantren:
I respect what you've written here, but I don't find theorizing about Remedy and especially Sam Lake (neither of whom you seem to have actually talked to) in this way particularly useful. Alan Wake was a complex and obviously troubled project that - I guarantee - had a lot going on behind the scenes. I think there'd be genuine insight to be gained from an article on that, if you could ever get past the NDAs, but a straight up lit crit essay leaves me cold. Only my impression, and thank you regardless for putting your work up on The Escapist.

Respectfully,

Colin

This amuses me a lot. Have you heard of something called Death of the Author? It's a theory of literary analysis that says that once an author has published a work, their ideas on what it means or how the story goes are of no more importance than your average joe's, because after a work is release all of its meaning and stories should be contained within it. I remember reading that Vladmir Nabokov caught some major flak from critics after he said one character in one of his books (Pale Fire if memory serves) commited suicide after the book's end, until another critic came along and said that there were, indeed, things in the narrative that supported the theory of the guy who freaking wrote it. It's pretty much an alien idea in this world of pop culture obsesses with canon and with the creators dripping tidbits of info on us.

My point is that, yes, he could have talked to Remedy and heard what they say on it, but under Death of the Author, it wouldn't be any more valid that what he wrote here.

- The Random One

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