Monday, September 15, 2014

The Gamergate thing and Proof of Videogames as a Viable Art Form

Really, people. This is an issue to you. Okay, let’s do this. And no, I don’t really give a shit whether or not someone fucked someone else for a good review. Maybe I would care if someone was doing that for book reviews, but only in the case that it may benefit me. Let’s stick to the “SJW’s are ruining games” argument.

I like games. I’m not a huge gamer and would probably be called a poseur by those who consider themselves such. I don’t care. I enjoy them. It’s another way to experience a narrative that allows me to see the world in new and exciting ways. And kill stuff. I fully admit to enjoying digitally killing digital stuff as much as I enjoy verbally killing imaginary stuff on paper. But there are times that the killing stuff turns into honest to goodness world-view changing experiences and that is goddamn awesome in every fucking way imaginable. Holy shit is that sweet.

Here’s the problem I have with people having a problem with videogames being used to advance or even discuss any sort of social idea or agenda: That is what art does. It comments on the human condition. You may agree with the commentary. You may disagree with the commentary. That doesn’t matter as long as it gets you to engage in some level with the ideas at work.

The same damn people that have been screaming that their beloved videogames are not simply junkfood entertainment churning the brains of the masses, but honest to goodness art are now yelling that videogames should just be junkfood entertainment and nothing more. Excuse me while I growl for a moment. I had a great time with Katamari Damacy because rolling around a ball to pick stuff up was more fun than I had any reason to believe. I respect the hell out of Manhunt because, by the end, the gamer is forced to acknowledge that the horrific bastard forcing people to brutally kill each other for their entertainment is, in fact, themself (even if I suck too much at stealth games to actually be able to play it). FTL got me invested in beings I couldn’t even see minor representations of*. It is entirely possible for these things to occur in the same universe without physics collapsing all around us while Azathoth pipes Aqualung.

There’s a part of me that thinks referring to them as “manipulatable media” instead of games would possibly end this argument over what constitutes something these people should be reviewing as a “game”. However, if that would honestly make a difference for you, you should probably hide in a cave before you infuriate me more.

All the same, there is a good side to all of this. The fact that people are arguing over it proves beyond doubt that we’ve made it. If you can argue about the validity of intrinsic commentary folded within the confines of an art form, then it is definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, honest-to-goodness Art. Suck that, Roger Ebert.

*yes, with the possible exception of FTL, I cited horridly outdated games. I already admitted to not being a "real gamer" whatever the fuck that means. Feel free to mock me if you wish.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Damn, do I need this.

If you know me, you know the past few weeks have been rather shitty. If you don’t know me, you now know that. Either way, Context is in a couple of weeks and I fully intend to have a damn good time while I am there. 

If you happen to wish to give me a pity hug or a pity beer (I am particularly fond of the pity beers, they taste of salt and desperation which sits very well against the hops and barley) or just yap about dorky bullshit, here is where you can readily find me:

MCing the OPENING CEREMONIES (6pm Friday), because I am either awesome or a total sucker but probably both.

Rambling incoherently on the TEACHING THROUGH WRITING panel (2pm Saturday), because I’m still spending way too much money on that lit degree and the Education Certification to not do something with it.

Reading bad novelic rants in worse slam-poetry style for the NAME THAT TERRIBLE NOVEL contest (8pm Saturday).

Telling you HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK REVIEWED (1pm Sunday), because sometimes people make silly mistakes when dealing with reviewers.

I’ll also be everywhere else there, because I need fun and noise and joy right now. If you are coming, stop by the Stormy Soaps table and say hello to my wife. Buying some nice smelling soap from her would be cool too, but I won’t push you.