All posts tagged art

That is what I think has fascinated the West so much with Pac-man. It is the purest metaphor for conflict, duality, and preseverance-'til-victory that one can interact with. It is Homer's Odyssey told in the lifespan of a quarter. To that end, I think on an artistic level, this remake of Pac-man into a manifestation of Mondrian's jazz obsession fails to "get" Pac-man on the level that this hilarious clip of idiots running through libraries does.

Now just imagine if you could play Pac-man using the new Tom Tom feature where you can follow your buddies around!

Rarely do games and art collide in interesting ways. Yet somehow, South African artist Handré has given us a vertiable car crash of early video game cover art and the fine-tuned fangs of modernist insensitivity, and the result is a morbid disaster so appealing to the post-modernist gaming socialite we can't help but enjoy the sensibility shock.

Beauty in ugliness, I think, requires a delicate balance of asymmetry, both physical and moral. At a certain point, it becomes ambiguity. With cultivation, ambiguity becomes the mysterious, and the mysterious is one of the tenets of beauty because its quality of rarity, its measure of unquantifiability, is, frankly, addicting.

Aren't games a natural medium for that? Look at Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Everquest 2. "Abhorrent" comes to mind. Just as how Final Fantasy: Advent Children is simply CGI masturbation, these games seem to take all the extremes of the "cool" construct and prostitute it under the guise of technology.

By now, you may have seen this video demonstrating the new Will Wright One-week Wonder, Spore.

There is no doubt that this game is absolutely incredible. Procedurally generated life? Culture? What astounds me about this game is that he really broken down things into a hierarchy of agent and society. First we create organism by giving them weapons and parts. Then we create cities, who are really organisms whose weapons and parts are formed by the creatures we created. Then these cities become the world organism, who extend not an arm but a UFO into the rest of space. The analogy continues. It redefines how we understand "organism." This reaches back into the Latin and Greek root "organos" meaning a tool or instrument. We get to play with a system that uses sub-systems as instruments to an end.

So why do I hate Will Wright? Well, let me stir some vanity and quote a post I made in another forum:

"My theory is that Will Wright, fancying himself a creator of sandboxes that empower people to 'create their own narrative' has forgotten one important thing. Most people suck at creating their own narrative. This is why we hire writers, directors, game designers, and musicians. Extreme ludology can never wholly displace the nuances of expert narration."

That about sums it up. I don't hate him. But I made myself ask why I don't like his games, and that's the answer I got. I'm not interested in what narratives I can come up with within his system, I'm interested in narratives that don't yet have a system to be told with. I love limitations, just not self-serving ones. I prefer sonnets over prose. But looking at Spore, I can already see all the "gameplay" that can possibly happen, and there is no suspense that comes from being at the whim of, say, a great writer.

But that's my fault for watching the video I guess. If you plan to play Spore, rewind time and don't watch the video. If you rather glean some inspiration and move on with a realer life, stay on the coattails of the future with me.

This is very cool, this animation concocted in 1999 capturing synesthesiacally the emotion behind a very mathematical jazz piece by John Coltrane, and created by Michal Levy. Check it out.

The complete opposite of this ditty is this wonderful subversive comic from the Perry Bible Fellowship, one of my favorite web comics. This makes me laugh and laugh, and then I breathe, and then I laugh again.

And of course, in order to avoid tying up these loose threads, I stumbled upon this strange little game… DDR MMORPG? This tops Shot Online as the quirkiest quirk to estrange embarrassed Western gamers.

Speaking of that, I've got a rant building up, but today is the rainy dreary kinda day I love, so I'll put it off until that damnable sun-a-sparklin' shows its mug.

Done with class! Yah be blessed, albeit agnostically, as winter break has come. I'm very proud of the students' work, and I think there's alot of promise for the next year. Many of these folks started in August having never touched Maya, never pushed a pixel, never met a Polly. One student even got an internship at Pixar just today. With their feedback, I'll be able to improve the class considerably next time around.

So anyways, time for me to unwind and smack up a little Metroid Prime Pinball as I wait for Xstine to finish overtime. She's assembling a tide of scantily clad (but emminently approachable and servile) digital females that will forever emasculate the throbbing landscape of adolescent cellphone giggolos in China. I'd pray for their young souls, but I think her company would prefer royalties. So would Xstine. And so would my pinball. Ding!