It's Okay To Be Dumb

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Bealzibob:

Scow2:

Bealzibob:

But to get more to the point there is a terrible problem with being dumb but it's dumb in design not in concept. The DOA game's tit physics for example is a fucking travesty but fighting games themselves and even sexualised characters are not wrong in any way.

How is gratuitous animation in a gratuitous fighting game a travesty? It's not like you don't know what you're getting into when you buy it. Unless there's an actual problem in the tit-physics.

The problem with retardedly overdesigned tit physics is that it brings no worth what so ever to the game because the sexualisation isn't part of the game and your characters arn't particularly better for it, it brings no improvment to the gameplay unless they make a character who fights entirely by whipping her tits back and forth. All the remains is an actually dumb design decision that wastes players time, designers time and the industries time for no betterment for anyone. It's the difference in a sense between Mad World and Gears of War (though GoW still fails a little from this problem).

You say the sexualization isn't part of the game, yet the marketing and graphics say otherwise. And your analogy also blows up in your face: The core experience of Mad World is the gratuitously over-the-top brutality and violence. Gears of War is similar, but not quite. Decreasing the gore and visceral animation of either game would greatly hinder the experience.

Furthermore: watching tits bounce is fun. All games, even (and ESPECIALLY) those rated "M", are for play, as the article mentioned. If you don't want to engage in silly, immature fun, you don't have to. But please sit on your stick far, far away from those who do, out of earshot of your "STOP HAVING FUN, GUYS!" ranting.

Captcha: see-saw
Captcha because it screwed up: tesla coil

Krantos:
Here's Forbes Take on the matter: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/05/01/if-you-think-most-games-are-dumb-youre-playing-them-wrong/

Honestly, I agree with both articles (It's OK to be Dumb, and the Forbes one)

From "It's OK": I feel that a lot of the Games are Art crowd forget that the medium is also entertainment. Sure games like Skyrim and Total War don't have the artistic value of things like Journey, but they don't have to (and are you really going to call Total War dumb?).

Considering I turned not less than 1 commercial artist and 2 art students on-to Shogun:Total War... with the echo's of "This game is amazing... the art values are astounding... the attention to detail shows class...", I would have to disagree if even based on experience.

That said, Shogun:Total War is an incredible achievement in design, aesthetic choices, gameplay... all on the same mechanic that the franchise has used for many years. It captures the role of a struggling Daimyo vying for control of the Shogunate in ways that other games fall over themselves trying to convince you of... and it does it effortlessly. (Which means they bust there asses for years, then took a shower, put on a suit, bowing, handed you the game box, and said "with our compliments") it's fucking class. Which is precisely why it continues to sell and receive high marks all around. So popular in fact that in the following sales events the previous games sold many times over again.

Word of mouth continued to sell S:TW and they enjoyed sales success weeks and months after the release.

It's emblematic of a title were every member of the team was in on the discussions throughout the course of development. All the TW games do this to some extent though. It's writing off games like this that cripple the medium, for whatever reason, it has to "look artsie" to be "art" is fucking weak.

Mind you, it's not art... but it's close. From what you said it "lacks artistic value... of thus and such..." I need you to explain to me, why? Specifically why... not just a statement of fact based on no evidence, but why.

I need to have it explained to me why a game that employed 2 Ph. D. Japanese history and language professors (and published authors), that visited the battle grounds and modeled the scenario modes to the known historical events and troop compositions, that took wood block carving and built them into their interface, that has voice acting that supports the action on the screen, that all these things, when combined are not art? SHAMEFURRRL DISPRAYYY!!

The burden of proof is on you.

There are countless activities that lack cerebral engagement. That doesn't devalue them, it just means they have different functions. Dismissing these games because they go for a different sort of engagement is asinine.

From Forbes: Couldn't really agree more with this one. The biggest problem I have with a lot of the Games are Art crowd is they want games to adhere to the same rules as other mediums. This is completely forgetting that the other mediums are completely different from each other.

You don't judge a book on the same grounds you judge a sculpture. You don't judge a picture the same way you do a movie. So why would you judge a game on the same grounds you do the rest.

I mean, really, is the Mona fucking Lisa devalued because it has no coherent narrative?

On the other hand, I like the rest of this post and agree, although during this thread I mentioned it at least twice that an empirical investigation, that good metrics should be used to judge on thing on its merits in the context of what it is (trying to be), to what it is.

I guess your talking about journey when you mention asinine things, or meaningless stuff that your doing... I would posit that if one does things that are meaningless to the context of the thing on the screen, the "engagement" faculty of what is plausible the thing that can make games High Art, is broken, by the ART GAMES design. Cause, that sounds like a shit design.

Now I haven't played Journey, but it looks pretentious as hell. I should probably play it if I plan to argue it... but I don't bring it up... so there we go. There is other less obscure shit that better make the case, and are profitable.

The Mona Lisa implies quite a lot in a study of it. It's a commoner, in the context of the day most high art paintings were commissioned by the wealthy, this imparts contrast and conflict. She has a smirk, as if she know's something we don't. It is also plausible that it is Leonardo Di Vinci painting himself in drag. Considering strong evidence to support the claim he was a homosexual or bisexual, this is astounding in the context of the day in which he painted this. Very Avant-garde.

That is a narrative. The work is important. It tells us something about the man, the idea (focus, the time, the place, and the conditions under which it was crafted. Who, What, When, Where, Why. It's not the hero's journey, but it is a statement. A statement is made of logical associations, these associations are a form, form is a formula, formula is approximating truth, truth is beautiful as it leads us out of opinion and subjectivity... it's god damn Socratic dialog on canvas. Basic phil. 101.

Not even going to go into his paints (that he made), the canvass, the sketch technique, the brush technique... or the countless other nuances of the mans style and grace.

The sheer time investment the man had to make (it took a lifetime to get to where he could create this), the effort upon effort upon effort, to get to such a skill to paint this one frame, to say this "thing". Only a master can tease so much from the brush, a master musician teases a note in impossible ways, the master film maker uses tension and design, the same way, the master of game engineering DOES THE SAME THING.

That's art.

Narrative is self explanatory.

Movies are like narrative, but leaves less to the imagination, now one must "show".

Games are like movies, but leaves less to the imagination, now one must "do".

If we do not "do" in a game, it is a movie, if it does not "show", then it is a book, if it does not complete a sentence, then it is nonsense.

Lack of coherence is nonsense.

It leaves us in the shadow of opinion and subjectivity, this is contrary to basic philosophical dialog. If the audience cannot engage the material, and go up the ladder from the pit of bullshit to the light of enlightenment (on some level) it "ain't art". It ain't shit. It's cotton candy. Entertainment.

Maybe our children's children will ponder and analyse it and elevate or debase it as art or nonsense, but today, now, that's the road, the road called "who, what, when where, why"; ultimately what does it do?

I remember a few years ago when the Escapist used to have numerous well-written articles and opinion pieces that intelligently explored the idea of gaming as an artistic medium. Nowadays, the number of opinion pieces has been slashed to make room for more videos, and the one article on the front page is celebrating a form of anti-intellectualism.

There are numerous problems I have with this article and its implications, but I'll try and address the most glaring points:

It is a fetish I don't understand. Being incessantly smart is lonely and isolating. It makes one difficult to relate to. It almost always leads to some kind of existential angst, all of which seems born out by Clark's assessment of Braid developer Jonathan Blow. And the unavoidably arrogant implication of fetishising the smart is that if you aren't enamored with or seeking it and enjoy the dumb, there's something wrong with you.

The only reason why being incessantly smart is seen as lonely and isolating is because of the number of people who don't just enjoy being dumb and ignorant, they actively refuse to try and better their intellects in any meaningful way. With this very article, you are encouraging people to avoid the brainier offerings that the VG industry has to offer, and to stick with their latest iteration of Battlefield and Call Of Duty. I wouldn't presume to call myself an intellectual, but I do think of myself as being a well-read, knowledgeable, relatively clever individual. And I can understand why perhaps intellectuals in the gaming world are lonely and isolated. If there were more of us smart people kicking around in the industry, then we'd have more people to relate to, to share ideas with, to debate with. And that would probably make everyone feel a bit less lonely.

I mean, for God's sakes, the Escapist Forums themselves were set up as a place where gamers could come and have intelligent debates with each other on various topics. The site advertised itself as a place for intelligent gamers to form a community. While the standard of content has perhaps slipped, I do think that the community is one of the smartest videogame communities on the internet. And that makes me smile, because it lets me hope that perhaps one day, the trend will continue to the point that intelligence in gaming isn't just a rare occurrence, but the average and the norm. The only reason intellect is seen as so isolated in gaming is because of the reluctance of the pro-Dumb crowd to actually step up and make the effort to join the community themselves.

In case you can't tell: I am very much anti-Dumb. That doesn't mean I've never said dumb things myself, but on the whole, I cannot understand why being dumb is seen as a good thing. Why would you possible make a virtue out of the fact that you know less than your peers? Because that's all it really is. Celebrating stupidity. Stupidity is not something to aim for, it is the bottom-line of intelligence which is supposed to be moved away from through learning and education.

It's telling that when Clark pleads with the gaming audience to just admit videogames are dumb, he states we have to look at videogames "objectively" to grasp what he's clutching at, and that his point of view depends on a dispassionate viewing of our games. Who wants to divorce themselves from their passion for videogames? If that's what an erudite assessment of the intellectual potential of the videogame medium necessitates, I fail to see why the pursuit is held up as a virtue.

Again, this stands in complete contrast to the actual message and idea of what the Escapist stands for.

A medium that can only be enjoyed through mindless interaction is not a medium worth celebrating. There is nothing wrong with a game simply being 'fun'. But if the medium cannot offer anything more, if there is nothing to analyse, to dissect, to critique, to discuss, to interpret, then it is a fundamentally shallow medium with nothing for players to take away from after they've turned their consoles off. By divorcing ourselves of the 'passion' of playing a game, and instead trying to focus more objectively on understanding a game's ideas, we can find ideas, subtext and themes that would not have been obvious to us in the heat of gameplay.

Would anyone have noticed Final Fantasy 7's references to Norse mythology, environmental themes and references to psychology if they simply focused on Omnislashing their way through the game? Would anyone have commented Xenogears' references to Jungian theory and Gnosticism if gamers simply poured all their attention on the Mecha combat? Would anyone still be talking about the Max Payne series' use of noir techniques and mythological references to create a truly unique atmosphere if all anyone ever focused on was the Bullet Time?

I will readily grant by Clark's definition and argument that most videogames probably are dumb. So what? Why should we value the intellectual and the contemplative over the moments in Battlefield 3 when your squad crests a hill and someone shouts, "Holy shit there's a tank coming kill it kill it!"

Because the latter is simply a basic instinctual reaction to an immediate threat, with no long term meaning beyond a rush of adrenaline, whereas the former can present gamers with ideas, thoughts and experiences that they may mull in their minds for years.

It also assumes that intelligent games are unable to offer instant gratification, offering only cold, dispassionate food for thought, when anyone who's played Mass Effect, Max Payne, New Vegas, Half-Life or one of any number of other mainstream smart games can tell you this is patently not true.

Braid is supposed to be a brilliant game. No one, in all the analyses and criticism and essays I've read about the game, has ever adequately explained to me why Braid is brilliant.

Because it is a deconstruction of 2D platformers, the same way Watchmen was a deconstruction of superhero comics. It initially presents an experience similar to what we've already seen, then proceeds to subvert pretty much every expectation we've come to have of the genre, creating a unique experience for the player. It also provides enough ambiguous plot threads that players are able to interpret their own idea of just what the game means and signifies, rather than having it loudly proclaimed to them by the game itself.

See, that wasn't so hard.

An indictment of the dumb also feels like an indictment of what it is to be human. The joy of enjoying dumb games is the joy of play. Sometimes it's okay to be dumb, because sometimes that's what we need, and it's no surprise that our entertainment waxes towards the simple and the silly and the absurd. Calling this "juvenile" is to suggest adults have less of a need for these escapes than children do. I might argue precisely the opposite.

"An indictment of the dumb also feels like an indictment of what it is to be human."

No. Just no. Humanity is defined by its intellect, not by its lack of intellect. The very thing that separates us from the animal kingdom is our ability to look around us, to contemplate our own origins, to generate abstract new ideas, to project thought and feelings, and most importantly to learn more about the world we see around us. To define humanity by its moments of and enjoyment of stupidity is to wilfully ignore the thousands of years of intellectual growth and expansion, the constant process of learning and education that has brought us to where we are today.

Being dumb is juvenile. Sorry, but it is. Children are defined by their lack of knowledge of the world and how it works. That is why we have an education system in the first place. Whereas adults have been through education, have lived in the real world, and therefore are expected to have greater knowledge of it. Therefore, if a piece of entertainment doesn't have anything to say or comment about the world we live in, then it is by definition a juvenile piece of work, not an adult one.

The fact that our entertainment tends towards the simple and the stupid is an indictment of how cautious and averse to risk-taking major entertainment companies are, not how stupid or dumb we are as a species, or how we crave simple entertainment. Look at some of the most successful films in recent years: The Lord Of The Rings, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Matrix (first one only), District 9... these are all films that were hugely successful (in LOTR and TDK's case, up there with the most succesful movies of all time). And they are all intelligent, idea-fuelled movies that managed to be entertaining without being patronising or insulting to the intellect.

The hilarious irony of complaining about videogames being dumb is that if the goal of the critic or journalist making the statement is sincerely to try and make things better, their statement is dumb in and of itself by Clark's definition. That's not a very intelligent way to go about addressing the issue, especially if it's a journalist or critic who can command page space in widely-read outlets. The best course of action is to continue throwing a spotlight on the game developers and their games that fit whatever criteria for smart is being described, and to throw that spotlight sans the mud-slinging toward everyone else.

Nope. While critics and journalists should certainly celebrate and endorse intelligent gaming where they find it, and ensure that it is exposed to as wide an audience as possible, it is also the requirement of literate, intelligent gamers to point out the bad and to decry the stupid where we see it. Only when we criticise stupid games can we point out why they are stupid, and offer points and ideas on how future games can avoid being so stupid.

When I criticise the film Transformers 2, I'm not doing it because I'm a bitter cynic who wants to piss on everyone's party. I criticise it because it's a badly written, poorly directed piece of racist rubbish, full of offensive and downright disturbing implications about the people who made it. Those flaws are there and need to be addressed, and so it is with gaming. If a game portrays another nation in a stupid, offensive manner, then I'm going to criticise the developers for it, not harp on about how great the art direction in Okami is.

Seriously, I fundamentally disagree with just about every point in this article, and find it strange that it is posted on the Escapist of all places.

If there were a serious abundance of intelligent games, then I could perhaps understand the author bemoaning the issue. But as it stands, intelligent games are outnumbered by badly written, socially ignorant, derivative, ignorant, dumb games by a factor of about 9 out of 10. When intelligent games are as few and far between as they are, I feel that perhaps the writers of the Escapist should perhaps go back to trying to promote more intelligence in gaming, not posting articles which criticise it as a fundamental concept.

@Woodsey:

I would have to go through transcripts to pull a quote, but I've interviewed Ken Levine a few times and I believe he's told me, point blank, that he didn't intend to make a game about Objectivism when he made Bioshock. I believe that conversation went something like he needed the right kind of environment for the game, which led to the idea of an underwater city, and then when he needed an explanation for how such a city came to be, *that* is when the idea of Rapture and the philosophical underpinnings behind the society came up for the first time.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
With this very article, you are encouraging people to avoid the brainier offerings that the VG industry has to offer, and to stick with their latest iteration of Battlefield and Call Of Duty.

I disagree entirely. Nowhere did I suggest people should not seek out "smart" games, however one defines that term, if they are interested in doing so. In fact, I make it clear that if someone wants more intellectual experiences in their video games, they can find them. Read Michael Abbott's post on the subject over at Brainy Gamer.

If I am suggesting anything it's that no one should feel shame for enjoying video games which might be "dumb" by a liberal measure, or for having no interest in seeking out "smart" games.

If there were more of us smart people kicking around in the industry, then we'd have more people to relate to, to share ideas with, to debate with.

I'm not sure where you get the idea there -aren't- a ton of really smart people in the video game industry. I can't say I've ever spoken with a game developer who didn't seem like a smart person to me...

That doesn't mean I've never said dumb things myself, but on the whole, I cannot understand why being dumb is seen as a good thing. Why would you possible make a virtue out of the fact that you know less than your peers? Because that's all it really is. Celebrating stupidity. Stupidity is not something to aim for, it is the bottom-line of intelligence which is supposed to be moved away from through learning and education.

I think you've mixed up "ignorance" and "stupidity" throughout your response here.

By divorcing ourselves of the 'passion' of playing a game, and instead trying to focus more objectively on understanding a game's ideas...

Objective analysis of art or the ideas within is a myth. There is no such thing. The exercise is entirely subjective. Even when an artist does disclose their intent, there are always critics who will argue that said intention is irrelevant, and there are other meanings to be read into a work.

Would anyone have noticed Final Fantasy 7's references to Norse mythology, environmental themes and references to psychology if they simply focused on Omnislashing their way through the game? Would anyone have commented Xenogears' references to Jungian theory and Gnosticism if gamers simply poured all their attention on the Mecha combat? Would anyone still be talking about the Max Payne series' use of noir techniques and mythological references to create a truly unique atmosphere if all anyone ever focused on was the Bullet Time?

Those things may be interesting to you. They may not be interesting to someone else. I do not place more or less value on either you or the other person based on how they relate to Final Fantasy 7 or Xenogears or Max Payne.

Stating that it's okay not to notice those things, or to not even care about those things, is not equivalent to endorsing any of the negative ideas you've raised. It's seeking to establish respect for someone whether or not they enjoy discussion of the intellectual for its own sake. It is a statement in response to the arrogance of placing the intellectual as a person of higher value compared to someone who is not an intellectual.

Because it is a deconstruction of 2D platformers, the same way Watchmen was a deconstruction of superhero comics. It initially presents an experience similar to what we've already seen, then proceeds to subvert pretty much every expectation we've come to have of the genre, creating a unique experience for the player. It also provides enough ambiguous plot threads that players are able to interpret their own idea of just what the game means and signifies, rather than having it loudly proclaimed to them by the game itself.

None of that makes the game "smart" by default, IMHO. It may make the game interesting to someone who is invested in the exploration of those sorts of ideas, and/or to someone who enjoys ambiguity of ideas and the sort of discussion which follows, but what about the person who could care less about 2D platformers, and who prefers more direct propositions to be debated and discussed?

By proclaiming a thing "smart" we privilege it, and that's precisely what I neither understand nor approve of. It's actually not very smart to take an idea whose appeal is purely subjective and proclaim it as having absolute value.

Dennis Scimeca:
If I am suggesting anything it's that no one should feel shame for enjoying video games which might be "dumb" by a liberal measure, or for having no interest in seeking out "smart" games.

The obvious analogy here is to that of Porn and PBS. What someone does with their leisure time is their own personal business. However, what someone feels or does not feel is a matter of personal psychology and by that token their own choice and or responsibility.

If there were more of us smart people kicking around in the industry, then we'd have more people to relate to, to share ideas with, to debate with.

I'm not sure where you get the idea there -aren't- a ton of really smart people in the video game industry. I can't say I've ever spoken with a game developer who didn't seem like a smart person to me...

As Mr. Scimeca has stated their are literally thousands of highly skilled, highly intelligent people in this industry. From management, to design, to material designers, to lighting engineers and colorist, to level designers, to programmers, to QA testers. Some of the material that has been generated by the progress of game development (especially engines) are required course materials in some curriculum. (shhhh -whisper- some of them even have advanced degrees!) Shocking I know... I mean... who would have a masters in mathematics when designing a product to work on a multi-core calculator... the nerve.

Obviously a publisher that puts millions, or even hundreds of millions of dollars into a product have absolutely not the first clue as to what the fuck they are doing. Hell, pay me 600,000 a year to not know what I am doing... where do I sign up? Fuck out'a here.

The simple fact that they don't visit video game websites is not here or there. Many do frequent websites that are specifically catered to the work that they do and pursue. Many of them are involved in side projects, and simply cannot be bothered to join the forum discussions.

The problem here is that the goal seems to be one of "seeking debate". In that one must assume that one is a peer of one who works in the field. I discussed peer to peer conversations some post up, leveling all other discussions outside of ones expertise and range in a vertical relationship as being pretentious. By definition, unless one presents one's qualifications to play educator.

Really if you want to debate things "in" games... go to the local arcade of video game store... start a club, throw a lan party. That's what I do... it's not hard.

Videos, forums, articles... they exist to drive add revenue and unique hits. If they raise awareness on a subject great, if not, great, if you liked it great, if you didn't great. That's what it is.

That doesn't mean I've never said dumb things myself, but on the whole, I cannot understand why being dumb is seen as a good thing. Why would you possible make a virtue out of the fact that you know less than your peers? Because that's all it really is. Celebrating stupidity. Stupidity is not something to aim for, it is the bottom-line of intelligence which is supposed to be moved away from through learning and education.

I think you've mixed up "ignorance" and "stupidity" throughout your response here.

I don't (think) Mr. Scimeca is implying that one should dare to be stupid. Rather that indulging in a "shrug" juvenile past time for entertainment and leisure is not really good or bad. Maybe it is a shame that the culture views it as such, maybe the culture can fuck right the hell off... heck I remember when video gaming was truly what the smart kids did... but I had pong when it was new. Adults buy sex toys all the time... what does it matter?

Much of this seems to be contextualized by a certain quasi membership to some nonexistent metric of what "culture, or people, or group, or monkey tribe" people want to appeal membership to.

As far as intelligence? Ones ability as it relates to time to acquire new data and apply that data in a pragmatic way. Ignorance, not knowing relevant information on a subject. Willful ignorance, choosing to ignore certain quantifiable facts about the nature of reality - Lots of reasons for this.

Smart - learned, irrespective of the time required to have acquired said information. Dumb - not learned, irrespective of the age of the person the quality of lacking information.

By divorcing ourselves of the 'passion' of playing a game, and instead trying to focus more objectively on understanding a game's ideas...

Objective analysis of art or the ideas within is a myth. There is no such thing. The exercise is entirely subjective. Even when an artist does disclose their intent, there are always critics who will argue that said intention is irrelevant, and there are other meanings to be read into a work.

The problem here is manifold. First off, the debate on "video games as art" is still open on the floor and not conclusive by any stretch of the imagination. Often times as someone learns more about the design, infrastructure, product chain, so on and so forth of the products inception the less as I have experienced they come to view the end result as "Art". It is not designed to be art, it is designed to turn a buck.

Of course I am talking about commercially readily available content, not some basement project in someones free time.

I often see the "art" debate predominantly with writers, then illustrators... the concept artist know better, and the engineers... (chuckles) no... Ergo the line to draw here is that as the subject matter becomes more "empirically technical" it's stops being subjective. I nor you, nor baby Jesus may build a highly technical and sophisticated product on one's beliefs, or subjectivity.

Art as drawn follows a methodology, else it could not be taught academically. Clearly mathematics are not open to ones interpretation or opinion, unless one has a substantial background in the field and are offering to broaden the scope of axioms with a proof. Writing BY FAR BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS is the most flexible, the most malleable aspect of the production chain. Maybe this is why it often times happens at the END of the development, not the beginning? Maybe some development studios think so little of the task, they don't hire writers? No "writer" wrote Mirror's Edge... nonsense.

These are not movies.

However, highly skilled individuals once obtained to the knowledge of the craft of the work may focus on composition, and composition is the artistic aspect.

That it's interpretation as a final product and on what terms it is engaged is clearly subjective, as the product is subjective to the worker and the workers OWN associative mental makeup. How it got there is not subjective. It's rational, it's not magic.

Maybe, just maybe... that is it... writing is the most flexible of all the aspects, easily the one that may be the most artistic, the aspect with the greatest license to move about freely.

I don't have a crystal ball and certainly cannot "interpret" what a writer was trying to say based on their own subjective experience, and how they relate that subjective experience in their own associative neural network. That would be quite impossible to "know". Descartes fucked with it all the time... but a god damn technical design, is open to accurate and EXACTING detail as to it's explicit visual communication.

Would anyone have noticed Final Fantasy 7's references to Norse mythology, environmental themes and references to psychology if they simply focused on Omnislashing their way through the game? Would anyone have commented Xenogears' references to Jungian theory and Gnosticism if gamers simply poured all their attention on the Mecha combat? Would anyone still be talking about the Max Payne series' use of noir techniques and mythological references to create a truly unique atmosphere if all anyone ever focused on was the Bullet Time?

Those things may be interesting to you. They may not be interesting to someone else. I do not place more or less value on either you or the other person based on how they relate to Final Fantasy 7 or Xenogears or Max Payne.

Stating that it's okay not to notice those things, or to not even care about those things, is not equivalent to endorsing any of the negative ideas you've raised. It's seeking to establish respect for someone whether or not they enjoy discussion of the intellectual for its own sake. It is a statement in response to the arrogance of placing the intellectual as a person of higher value compared to someone who is not an intellectual.

Often times mythology is chosen as an aesthetic or because it was cool.

Ever watch avengers? Look... it's Thor... that's edgy buddy.

Xenogears disc 2 was a wank fest. These are interesting aesthetics that were chosen because they where "interesting aesthetics". The products mentioned DO NOT go into any detail, and are the very epitome of "pamphlet expertise". It was chosen "because it looked cool". Nothing more.

Want Deep? Get a library card. Go practice Buddhism... "depth" is NOT what is coming off video games... it's pseudo intellectual nonsense and cool factor. It's this way because it is popular in the culture...

OHHH SNAP!

POP CULTURE! who'da' thunk?

I'll save you the effort with this brain teaser... whenever people "tried" deep (in video games) it failed. It fails because the general audience is a monkey. Asian monkey, Western monkey... still monkeys. This shit isn't deep. Catherine isn't deep. Persona isn't deep. FF isn't deep. Heavy Rain isn't deep. None of this tripe is deep.

Maybe... just maybe a little maybe I could say that ME used some good writing techniques and character development. That has been a "poster child", and it's pretty "meh" in the context of all other media. L.A Noire? Fuck that. Go watch 48 Hours with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. Video game as a medium is by FARRRRRR the most candy ass mass medium one could develop narrative on.

Because it is a deconstruction of 2D platformers, the same way Watchmen was a deconstruction of superhero comics. It initially presents an experience similar to what we've already seen, then proceeds to subvert pretty much every expectation we've come to have of the genre, creating a unique experience for the player. It also provides enough ambiguous plot threads that players are able to interpret their own idea of just what the game means and signifies, rather than having it loudly proclaimed to them by the game itself.

None of that makes the game "smart" by default, IMHO. It may make the game interesting to someone who is invested in the exploration of those sorts of ideas, and/or to someone who enjoys ambiguity of ideas and the sort of discussion which follows, but what about the person who could care less about 2D platformers, and who prefers more direct propositions to be debated and discussed?

By proclaiming a thing "smart" we privilege it, and that's precisely what I neither understand nor approve of. It's actually not very smart to take an idea whose appeal is purely subjective and proclaim it as having absolute value.

A deconstruction is clever, it is very post modern, and Derrida. Yippee. It's not "smart" by default, in the same way that some folk posit that "video games are art by default".

Please, if you prefer, how about a direct proposition that may be debated and discussed?

No more than proclaiming something as smart is it privileged any more than claiming that something is not very smart; which is IN AND OF ITSELF, the VERY subjective perspective and claim of an absolute value that Mr. Scimeca is trying to deface!!!!

The game is not smart.

It's clever, as it connotates novelty.

A game cannot be "smart", as that would imply that it has some gained some knowledge. It may be clever, in the context of it's medium.

Its pop culture junk media to sell to folk that wanna be in the smart kids club. (little secret, the smart kids are at the yacht club counting all the money they made selling pretentious little twats a video game).

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I fully support doing dumb things simply for the fun of doing dumb things.

I'm in the middle of reading this article, just stopped by to say holy fuckballs this is a good article.

Just like Kurt Cobain said. "I think I 'm dumb, maybe just happy."

Some people on the escapist really need to read this. I'm so sick of seeing all these snide remarks about multiplayer shooters being dumb and fans of them like me being idiots.

Woodsey:
The problem with 'dumb' games is that most of them are atrociously designed. Thor is not a film that's going to challenge any particularly intellectual ideas, but it's well acted, directed, and written, and it looks good. It has production values - care has been taken over it. Uncharted 2 is probably a good game comparison, actually. The problem with something like Call of Duty as a 'dumb' game is that it's fairly shoddily designed - it doesn't do scripting well (and yet does an awful fucking lot of it), my arse hole is prettier, and it's writing is incoherent.

Likewise, a lot of games make a fairly insultingly-small use of the medium's inherent strengths, because their project leads are wannabe film-makers who didn't make the cut; that's certainly a portion of what people are talking about when they're derisive towards 'dumb' games (I think Blow said as much in that interview, too). *Rambles on about the death of Immersive Sims until his eyes explode*

Thank you, this is all that really needed to be said, I myself feel that games are art, and I enjoyed Modern Warfare 2 (yes, as in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2). My problem with it was the cracks were already starting to show (particularly in competitive multiplayer), it didn't feel as fun, felt much more clusterfucky, and wasn't as well scripted. As for Black Ops...

The story never had to be complex, and it wasn't, but it was hard to follow anyway because it was so fucking badly done. And appropriate metaphor is telling someone "the milk has spilled" in the most over-complicated matter possible, when all that needed to be said was "the milk has spilled". The way the flashbacks were used didn't help either, I would never leaved the flashback until the flashback has actually ended, I would, at times, use narration, but I would never leave the flashback to give try to give a sense of urgency to a situation that ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN UNTIL WE'RE DONE WITH THE FLASHBACK ANYWAY. I wouldn't have had a single fucking level in Vietnam, the game is called "Black Ops", not "Vietnam war".

And the competitive multiplayer, fuck that shit, "CoD points" are an improvement over MW2, but they should have been in Modern Warfare 2, along with melee that doesn't teleport you 20ft and through a wall to the other player.

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