Jimquisition: The Definition of Art Games

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4
 

Azuaron:

Itsthefuzz:

Azuaron:

Right. Anecdotes trump actual data. Keep believing that.

Show me sales data (oh wait, I already did in the above post--and it says I'm right) or, at the very least, some reliable survey data (random selection of participants, 1,000 participants or more, proper demographic data, breakdown of games bought vs. opinions on "art games", etc.) or you haven't got a leg to stand on.

You're still wrong. Just because a game doesn't sell millions doesn't meed it sold less because it was an art game. LIMBO wouldn't have been a COD seller if no matter what it called itself.

You apparently didn't read my giant post very carefully. The best selling indie games (Angry Birds, Minecraft, Castle Crashers, etc.) aren't art games, and the art games that do well do well because they're good games on top of being art games, and even then they don't do better than (or, often, as well as) other, similar indie titles that aren't art games.

Talk to me again when you have some actual data to back up your claims.

You're still wrong, sorry. They could have called themselves an art game and still sold as much.

Did someone just back up a condescending dismissal with a one sentence "coulda"?

...this video is the first place I ever heard the term "art game", and I immediately knew what the term meant.
Hard to believe this is actually a discussion.

I simply must ask.
What's going on between Jim ans shrimps?
I have seen pictures of shrimps multiple times and I'm still not sure why.

Is it just me or is Jim slowly becoming more and more... 'broken' as episodes go on? Before he was as arrogant as God (and seemed to believe himself to be God), now he's slowly and surely despairing at humanity and himself... XD

But yeah, good arguments as usual; a crystal clear definition of 'art game' isn't really required because, well, art is never crystal clear in the first place.

I feel so sorry for Jim in this episode it just looked painful to make. Still, good points as usual.

All elephants are gray, but not all gray things are elephants.

Video games can be "art", but not all games are art. "Art game" is a perfectly functional label to apply to something, as it very aptly brings to mind several games. But, the reason it turns out to be a bad thing more often than not is because, on the whole, in trying to get their point across, they end up sacrificing the actual fun and enjoyment that is more or less the foundation on which gaming is built. Journey found a great compromise between its message and its gameplay, but most of the "art games" are less game in their effort to be more art. Gears of War, conversely, has gone to the other end--it's barely art and mostly game. We all know damn well what an "art game" is, much as we all know damn well what to expect in a first person shooter, or a real time strategy. Anyone saying the label is broken is being needlessly pretentious and pedantic over minutia that is fully understood.

DVS BSTrD:
All games are art, but art is not all they are.

Could not have said it better.

mfeff:

mfeff:

malestrithe:

snip

Just to make sure I'm not messing up your words, your argument is:
1: Art is something of the highest caliber of quality and being declared art is an honor.
2: People are setting out to create games and firmly believe they are art because of the message they send.
3: Many of these games fail as games.
4: Because art can be anything (because it is defined by its exceptional quality), calling something an "art game" is a completely worthless descriptor.
5: Furthermore, calling a game that fails as a game an "art game" is an insult to art (because the game sucks).

That all makes perfect sense.
Language making perfect sense is an extreme rarity. People use meaningless phrases all the time and the meaning becomes ingrained into people's head through sheer repetition. What do the words "the," "big," and "cheese" have to do with the phrase "the big cheese?" The term "art games" works as a term because people seem to generally know what you are talking about when you say it. The fact that many of the same criticisms that come from art films traveled to art games makes me think that it works great (the most common definition I hear for art films is that "they are films that nobody liked." That's basically what you describe in your response).

Edit: To go on a slight tangent, I've never really believed the idea that art had anything to do with quality. To me, art is always a descriptor of intent. Anything made with the express purpose of being enjoyed by people is art. I've always identified the idea of art with an auteur, a craftsman whose trade is in making people experience (in fact, I often joke that the only difference between an artist and a craftsman is an artist doesn't know what he's doing.)

In the end, I feel like our positions are nearly identical, but I think of "artists" the way you think of "art games people" and I think of craftsman the way you think of artists. Language can be like that. XD

You can have a very similar argument with the term "RPG"
You get ( an alarming amount of) people saying "Well EVERY game is an RPG, because Roleplaying game means you're playing a role"
Well, sure you're playing the 'role' of Chell in Portal, but I've never seen anyone call Portal an RPG series (not seriously at any rate).

The term may often be vague or confusing, but almost everyone accepts that games like Final Fantasy, Disgaea, Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Chrono Trigger and Diablo are RPGs. While games like Call of Duty, Mario, Kirby, Tekken, Silent Hill, Need for Speed and Tetris are obviously not.

I realised that the thumbnail for this video is of Sue Johnson.
aka Sex with Sue and the video is called the Definition of art games
what I am saying is that I had a bit of a whaat moment

anyway I usually define art games are games that are a lot more focused on the visual style. not to say that the story or game mechanics are not there but there is a lot more emphasis on the visuals.

I had to watch this episode twice just to understand all of what you were saying. No, its not that you were being vague, its just that you were arguing so 'tightly' that instead of the standard structure "I think X is Y and here is my reasoning...", you were using an "X is Y here's how, and X is Z as well, but X is not M because it is Y". And that got really confusing for my easily distracted brain. I actually had to pay full attention to get what you were saying, lol.

Do I agree with it? I'll just say yes because I hate the whole 'art games' discussion almost as much as you do. I'm probably not saturated in it as much as you have to be (I'm not in gaming journalism as much as I'd like to be, lol) but I still wander into the occasional 'art games' oriented thread.

My favorite point of this episode, which I shall use in the future, is when you said,

Jim:
You know what Art Games are when you say Gears of War is an Art Game to be subversive. The fact that you know that Gears of War is not an Art Game but are saying it to be subversive, means that you know what an Art Game is, because you wouldn't say "Gears of War is an Art Game" to be subversive, unless you knew it was in fact, not an Art Game

[paraphrased]

Kind of like when people get into arguments about music, they'll bring up the example that they know pisses off people: Justin Bieber, One Direction, Rebecca Black, because they understand what quantifies as good music and what quantifies as bad music. Or if I bring up Mass Effect 3 as an example of a game with a bad ending, because I have played games with good endings, and know what a good ending is, and what a bad ending is.

But yeah...
Good episode, well said. I shall refer future naysayers to this episode.

SoulSalmon:
You can have a very similar argument with the term "RPG"
You get ( an alarming amount of) people saying "Well EVERY game is an RPG, because Roleplaying game means you're playing a role"
Well, sure you're playing the 'role' of Chell in Portal, but I've never seen anyone call Portal an RPG series (not seriously at any rate).

The term may often be vague or confusing, but almost everyone accepts that games like Final Fantasy, Disgaea, Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Chrono Trigger and Diablo are RPGs. While games like Call of Duty, Mario, Kirby, Tekken, Silent Hill, Need for Speed and Tetris are obviously not.

Could you please take Mario out of this? It is a really bad example. The others can stay, but Mario needs to go.
Just saving you the endless "well what about Mario RPG?" spam that you are likely to get.

upgray3dd:

mfeff:

mfeff:

snip

Just to make sure I'm not messing up your words, your argument is:
1: Art is something of the highest caliber of quality and being declared art is an honor.
2: People are setting out to create games and firmly believe they are art because of the message they send.
3: Many of these games fail as games.
4: Because art can be anything (because it is defined by its exceptional quality), calling something an "art game" is a completely worthless descriptor.
5: Furthermore, calling a game that fails as a game an "art game" is an insult to art (because the game sucks).

1)

Pretty close, I normally start with an anthropological stance when it comes to artifice or cultural artifacts that are elevated to an art status. Let's say a model T ford. In it's day and time it was a novelty. Today a collector's piece, but why?

The artifice is now an artifact and tells us something about the people that made it, the state of the technological proficiency of the day, the changes that where happening in the period. Further there are simply not that many specimens left so there is often a lack of supply conflicted with a steady state of demand. This results in an increase in price and desirability with respect to collectors, historians, or sciences that may have an interest in the item. There is drama created by the piece even today. Just go to an auto auction, in fact there have been documentaries made discussing the auctions of single rare car.

Further the restoration of one speaks a lot to the craft of the collector that restored it... could go on and on, but at the end of the day it was just a thing, that is now "out of time", which makes it significant to the story of "us".

If we are to look at Van Gogh for example, during his time he was not considered much of anything, his art used as fire wood in some cases. Later his technique and life are considered as a composition to his work and has been culturally elevated to the status of "high art". Again it is artifice, "out of time". It tell's a story.

2)

A message, "to me", is not art in and of itself. A new delivery system such as a video game is novel or has a novelty about it but is in and of itself not art. It's curious, it may be interesting, it may in fact many years from now be considered "art" much like the model - T, but it is not "art" today, it's artifice, a by-product, oft times mass produced by the culture as it exist today.

Unfortunately one of my criticisms of this type of delivery system is that the "artist" are relying heavily on technology and off the shelf programs in which to work within the medium.

It's a lack of understanding of the medium that comes off as an exercise in frustration more than a delivery of a message. We could say it is a "meta" message of adversity and striving in a medium, but I kind of don't buy it. Here's why...

There is an old saying that goes "art through adversity", and there is a lot of truth to this statement. As an audience though we don't get much of that "carried through" with the artist the work and the human story behind the struggle to create the work. There is often times a lack of... for want of a better word... "grit" to the finished product.

In this sense many of these games simply come off as poorly designed, and amateurish attempts at writing software. We many times get the feeling that it is the lack of understanding of the technology behind the tool that has forced the design to be the "way it is presented" rather than the intent of the artist.

In short: if a person draws a picture in adobe photoshop using the built in tools... "I" can tell you in about 5 seconds... "I" can't see the artist, because all I see is the tools that got this "message" to me.

The documentary "indie game" really carries this over, it's two very different stories one quite authentic, the other very mass produced and contrived.

Now some of these games are pretty clever using the passage of time and linking it to the movement of the avatar through the space. Or something like DefCon which takes something like a theme of War Games and allows the player the run a scenario in which everyone effectively dies, victory is still a loss. There is a pervading sadness about the entire experience which is reminiscent of Missile Command, but with a modern sensibility.

On the other hand something like Braid, to me, is a deconstruction... but I have a hard time as seeing it as anything other than a deconstruction. Something like Journey is also interesting but I find that it borrows so heavily (see trope) of other works and Asiatic cultural themes that at the end of the day, that is all it is... a trope of better stuff. In this sense it seems to me that it is "interesting" for the sake of being "interesting" not really because it has anything to say.

It's not bad, it's not particularly good. It sort of is what it is. My litmus test for these products is simply, "would I play it again". Are there enough layers to the simple themes, or more than meets the eye to encourage a second, third, or fourth romp through the experience? If yes, then maybe it's art... if no... then it's a one off, an oddity. In that case I tend to let the culture decide what it's merits are, but if the developer's are insisting that it is art... It probably isn't.

3)

Yes.

Day Z, as far as I am concerned, is an excellent game... I think around 300,000 people think so as well... yet it is just a simple mod, and basically a sandbox that rides on a pretty good mil-sim.

Dear Ester is a rather poor game, it tells a story that is relevant to it's creator... but I just don't care. As a "meta" commentary it's a lot like a lot of crap out in the digital space... people waving their arms around like a "Wacky Wavy Inflatable Tube Man" trying to get attention. As a work I suppose it could be deconstructed and one could tell a lot about the creator through the work... but that is more of an exercise in psychological profiling of the artist than it is the work, as the work. It's kind of pointless as I am not really that interested in expended resources to learn about some random guy exposing about him or herself.

I can go to Facebook for that.

Something like Bastion I am on the fence about. Art is subjective though. At the end of the day it's still a pretty decent game.

4)

I use the term as a derogatory statement.

Again Day Z and DefCon use a ticking clock element to build tension, Bastion is a passable game, but some of this other stuff... I have a hard time finding the drama, or even manufacturing it for myself.

Exercises in philosophical masturbation are poor places to start personally, but they are great places to deliver the audience in reflection.

This is why Persona 3 will make a grown man cry, Journey just makes me laugh (at Journey because it's silly), and Dear Ester just makes me bored.

Cat n the Coup is interesting, but ham-fisted in it's delivery. Again, it's just bad bloat ware that could just as easily be a blog... the fact that it is delivered as a game is a novelty to get it an audience, which just delivers a personal opinion half fact and half anger.

I think good art let's us come to these conclusions naturally, bad art uses art as a soap box. Again, that's just me.

As far as quality, and as you say, I may sit down and write some sheet music... it's an artistic expression but I personally don't feel obliged to say it's some magic thing other than what it is... an amateur expressing himself, for himself.

If I work on an engineering project, I may change the design dozens of times... in this sense it is an exercise in technique, there is an art to it, similar to the technical design process that goes into a high end AAA production... it's art but it's not. It's an expression of the culture that one is able to replicate at a high degree of precision. If there is a lot of work that goes into it, then I think it's safe to say that it is a "work... of art" or "state... of the art".

Avatar is a good example of this. It's an incredibly "efficient" movie, and James Cameron is a master of his craft, he is an artist... but the work as a whole isn't really art, but in a certain light it is. Art is a really flexible term and I think you address that quite nicely.

5)

I think that if that is all one can say about something then it fails as a lot of things.

We can sit down and watch "Total Recall" over and over again and discuss and pontificate about all the things that the movie is doing. Lot's of layers, really talented people did really talented things to make a very clever and enjoyable entertainment that all sorts of people may enjoy for many different reasons.

Dear Ester... I mean, what is there to say? It's attempting to be deep without much depth? That's not really a compliment... just don't have anywhere to go with it.

It's an Art Game... shrug.

That all makes perfect sense.
Language making perfect sense is an extreme rarity. People use meaningless phrases all the time and the meaning becomes ingrained into people's head through sheer repetition. What do the words "the," "big," and "cheese" have to do with the phrase "the big cheese?" The term "art games" works as a term because people seem to generally know what you are talking about when you say it. The fact that many of the same criticisms that come from art films traveled to art games makes me think that it works great (the most common definition I hear for art films is that "they are films that nobody liked." That's basically what you describe in your response).

Edit: To go on a slight tangent, I've never really believed the idea that art had anything to do with quality. To me, art is always a descriptor of intent. Anything made with the express purpose of being enjoyed by people is art. I've always identified the idea of art with an auteur, a craftsman whose trade is in making people experience (in fact, I often joke that the only difference between an artist and a craftsman is an artist doesn't know what he's doing.)

In the end, I feel like our positions are nearly identical, but I think of "artists" the way you think of "art games people" and I think of craftsman the way you think of artists. Language can be like that. XD

Nothing really to add to this at the moment, I think you and I are more or less on the same page with it.

Simply put, for me, an art game is one that strays from the ubiquitous confines of the "typical game" format and allows more of the gamer's own imagination into the experience. It permits far more room for interpretation and stands on its own merits as a unique game experience.

Although I havn't played to many art games I find they tend to focus on one or two features of mainstream gaming (vey often leaving out the rest) with a hell of alot more symbolism thrown in, but thats just me.

I wanna see you do a sort of 'care free' ep Jim, I love hearing you talk about cereal buisness but its nice to cut loose every now and then, yar know?

Torrasque:

SoulSalmon:
You can have a very similar argument with the term "RPG"
You get ( an alarming amount of) people saying "Well EVERY game is an RPG, because Roleplaying game means you're playing a role"
Well, sure you're playing the 'role' of Chell in Portal, but I've never seen anyone call Portal an RPG series (not seriously at any rate).

The term may often be vague or confusing, but almost everyone accepts that games like Final Fantasy, Disgaea, Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Chrono Trigger and Diablo are RPGs. While games like Call of Duty, Mario, Kirby, Tekken, Silent Hill, Need for Speed and Tetris are obviously not.

Could you please take Mario out of this? It is a really bad example. The others can stay, but Mario needs to go.
Just saving you the endless "well what about Mario RPG?" spam that you are likely to get.

The fact that it's even called "Super Mario RPG" just proves my point further though...

SoulSalmon:

Torrasque:

SoulSalmon:
You can have a very similar argument with the term "RPG"
You get ( an alarming amount of) people saying "Well EVERY game is an RPG, because Roleplaying game means you're playing a role"
Well, sure you're playing the 'role' of Chell in Portal, but I've never seen anyone call Portal an RPG series (not seriously at any rate).

The term may often be vague or confusing, but almost everyone accepts that games like Final Fantasy, Disgaea, Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Chrono Trigger and Diablo are RPGs. While games like Call of Duty, Mario, Kirby, Tekken, Silent Hill, Need for Speed and Tetris are obviously not.

Could you please take Mario out of this? It is a really bad example. The others can stay, but Mario needs to go.
Just saving you the endless "well what about Mario RPG?" spam that you are likely to get.

The fact that it's even called "Super Mario RPG" just proves my point further though...

But it is a very good RPG, so is Paper Mario =|

Torrasque:

SoulSalmon:

Torrasque:
Could you please take Mario out of this? It is a really bad example. The others can stay, but Mario needs to go.
Just saving you the endless "well what about Mario RPG?" spam that you are likely to get.

The fact that it's even called "Super Mario RPG" just proves my point further though...

But it is a very good RPG, so is Paper Mario =|

The Paper Mario series IS awesome, I'm not denying that :P
Heck I recently tracked down a copy of Thousand Year Door, the only one I haven't played yet.

SoulSalmon:

Torrasque:

SoulSalmon:

The fact that it's even called "Super Mario RPG" just proves my point further though...

But it is a very good RPG, so is Paper Mario =|

The Paper Mario series IS awesome, I'm not denying that :P
Heck I recently tracked down a copy of Thousand Year Door, the only one I haven't played yet.

Then why is it in your list of non-RPG's =|

Torrasque:

SoulSalmon:

Torrasque:
But it is a very good RPG, so is Paper Mario =|

The Paper Mario series IS awesome, I'm not denying that :P
Heck I recently tracked down a copy of Thousand Year Door, the only one I haven't played yet.

Then why is it in your list of non-RPG's =|

Because those are spin-off games.
Saying Mario is an RPG series based off of the "Mario RPG" games is like saying Pokemon is a realtime action series based on the Rumble games...

SoulSalmon:

Torrasque:

SoulSalmon:

The Paper Mario series IS awesome, I'm not denying that :P
Heck I recently tracked down a copy of Thousand Year Door, the only one I haven't played yet.

Then why is it in your list of non-RPG's =|

Because those are spin-off games.
Saying Mario is an RPG series based off of the "Mario RPG" games is like saying Pokemon is a realtime action series based on the Rumble games...

Ohhhhhh, you were talking about the series as a whole. My bad.
I detract my earliest statement :D

fantastic episode Jim

Just because everyone knows what a term means, doesn't mean they can't disagree with use of the term. Otherwise, you could use that argument to defend using any offensive slur or prejudice categorization.

Ultimately these arguments about genre terminology have more to do with emotion than logical. Groups associate certain terms as being used by other groups that are misrepresenting something cherished that those others could never understand. You can rationalize logic behind these arguments, but its easy to poke holes at it.

That doesn't mean the people arguing against terms are wrong, or that you should ignore their complaints. A little bit of empathy and understanding goes a long way toward civility. But at the same time there is nothing wrong with using a myriad of common terms when defining a game to someone that not played it before. Getting on a soap box whenever someone uses a term you don't like is an exhaustive waste of time.

It would be great if these debates would give us a unified terminology for games that would provide maximum clarity and minimum backlash. But until some amazing entity succeeds at that, we should all just give other people the benefit of the doubt and accept the imperfections in evolution of jargon.

Dear Sir Jim:
I can't thank God for you. You are a God (in my pantheon from now on). So I thank you for Jim. Or U 4 U. Or Jim for Joo. You bring order to an otherwise chaotic universe (you and the Higgs boson particle).

Thanks Jim for reminding people that words are separate and distinct from their contextual meaning. For example, if I 'strike a chord' I've neither hit anything nor played any instruments, and I'm not diluting people's ability to discuss the actual playing of musical chords by using that statement.

That being said, an alternative name for these types of games is 'avant-garde'

Check this page out as well. It describes the logical fallacy being used by Jonathan Holmes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_four_terms

I love Jim and Holmes (and Podtoid), but during that episode where Jim and Holmes debated this very topic, I felt that Holmes was just being stubborn about the term to be stubborn. I liken it to a scenario where an American is wanting other Americans to refer to soccer as football since it is "proper." Yeah, it may be proper. But it's not going to happen. The term (soccer, or art game) works, and it's going to keep being used. Telling people they're wrong isn't going to work (when does it ever?).

Step 1. Make vague and unpredictable game
Step 2. Call it art game
Step 3. ???
Step 4. profit

The first argument Jim "tries" to dismental:
First premiss :all games are art
Second premiss: all art games are games
Third premiss: not all games are art games
Conclusion: all art games are art

Now that might not be impressiv because, well, it isn't and that is the whole point. We besicly are saying games are games. Which is the point of the argument by pointing out the tautology.
Jim argues the reasoning of the logic is flawed. Here is a suprise: it isn't. It is a not only valid but perfectly sound argument to make. All what is set out to accomplish got accomplished. Pointing out the tautology the term art game implies aka the redundancy of the term, the reason why it is a mute term. By the way Jim only points out one premiss which shows how little of a understanding of formal logic he has. It will bite him in the ass right about now:

Jim's twisting of the argument
First premiss: all games are art
Assumption: only art games are art
Conclusion: not only art games are art

Here we see how Jim does not know the basic 101 of formal logic. He takes our first premiss as the only premiss there is shows how it contradicts the assumtion and concludes rightfully that the assumption is wrong but does not bother not having devalidated our argument above. But he assumes he has and goes on with talking not recognizing his failure.
As for his own argument it is also sound. If all games are art then art games can't be the only games that are art. He still did not show how that concerns us saying that the term art game is mute/redundant. The next bit is also a valid argument arguing meaning of words within context.

Now the bit about the definition: The definition you use is not valid. It is from wikipedia they credit Scott Sneidberg for it who is a nobody. He is not the authorative figure you can quote on the definition of art games. The next foot note is non existent as far as proper quoting is concerned. It is pulled out of the air with no authority to back it up. So don't act like this is the definition of the term art game.
The next bit is just stupid. Jim says that you are saying somehting valid by pointing out that the definition (which is not a valid definition) of the term art games is too broad to be of any use by showing how you can apply the term to all games. So in our argument we are again at the point of the term art game being redundant. But that does not stop Jim to make not sense.

He argues as follows:
First premise: all games are art
Second premise: art games are games that are designed to emphasize art or whose structure is intended to produce some kind of reaction in its audience
Assumption: Gears of War is a art game
Conlcusion: Gears of War is a art game
Jim's Conclusion: Yeah that is right but not thus it is not.

Having shown how Jim now has left the field of logic he himself wanted to argue with I can close my case. Everything he says at that point is beyond the realm of formal logic and can only be understood by people who already agree with his stance but cannot win over the people who are open minded but not unreasonable stupid.
So again he continiues talking without realizing how much of a failure he commits by disregarding his own goal. Well maybe his goal is not to win the argument with logic but to win the argument no matter what dirty tactic he has to use. So mission accompished in the mind of Jim Sterling.
So his final arguments are like "and if you do not agree with my usage of the term you are lying to yourself because I know you know I am right" *whine,whine* "I won! Thank god for me!"
and "Well the term does work, doesn't it?" Only one is valid but still does not adress the argument he set out to devalue.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here