Every human endeavor, someone had to study the world, think about it, make a decision, and act on it. It’s a crystallized perspective. Every bridge, hammock, swan boat, film, boot, can of cat food, it reflects the life perspective of one or more people. Deliberately or not.
Videogames are discrete and deliberate functioning models of worlds, defined by the rules of cause and effect set down by the designer. It seems reasonable to imagine that they have as much potential to convey human perspective as any other conscious endeavor. Say, carpentry.
Of course what you get out of any medium depends on how you interface with and respond to it. There is a certain base line of literacy. I am going to suggest that those who refute, even anger at the suggestion of, the artistic potential of games are functionally illiterate.
And that’s fine. I don’t know how to read Chinese opera or David Bowie songs. I just know enough to keep my mouth shut and my mind open. You don’t have to understand a thing to like it a hell of a lot. But ignorance breeds possessiveness and fetishism of the thing as a thing.
This to my mind is the origin of fan cultures, religions, and other inanity: the diminishing of literate entities to glorious things. Any divergence from the rote thing as a thing is not the thing, and is thereby wrong. You do not adhere to The Thing! You are not one of us!
Philosophy is especially ridiculous. What should be an exchange of well-considered perspectives becomes a stratification of idea camps. In practical application it’s all about memorizing who said what, figuring out your ideological alignment, then defending yourself with it.
A whole lot of reading for such scant literacy. Gamers sure play a lot of games to be so limited. What do popes have to do with Jesus?
Sue me; this is a long car ride.
Reposted from Twitter, November 30th-December 1st, 2012